Mount Gay providing hands-on experience for SJPIT students
Over the past few weeks Mount Gay Distilleries has hosted eight students and a tutor from the Tree Crop Production class of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPIT) at its Oxford Plantation and Distillery orchards, as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Outreach activities.
Now in its second year, the primary aim of the engagement is ‘learning through hands-on interaction’, and sees the students visiting Mount Gay’s grounds twice weekly for a period of ten weeks as the field post of the course.
Mount Gay’s Agricultural Manager, Jacklyn Broomes, explained that the objectives of the Tree Crop Production Course are similarly aligned to the company’s Reforestation plan,
“Namely to increase the number of fruit trees annually for the production of food, crop diversity and carbon sequestration and to encourage the use of sustainable practices in the care and upkeep of fruit trees including mulching, composting and pruning.
"The students have been charged with the improvement of the current tree crop orchards at both the distillery and the farm, which includes activities such as orchard design, planting, pruning, fertilizing, mulching and the establishment of much needed compost pits.”
Broomes added that the first partnership with the SJPIT saw the company engaging eighteen students, as well as offering internships to two second year students annually at Oxford Plantation during the extended holidays.
This year those interns were trained as beginner beekeepers by David Westervelt, Master Beekeeper from the Apiary Inspection of Florida. They also received hands-on experience in the use of sustainable agricultural practices for both sugar and non-sugar crops.
Raphael Grisoni, Mount Gay’s Managing Director noted, “Mount Gay values this type pf interaction as we seek to improve our sustainable agricultural practices, while assisting our valuable industry partners. This type of partnership affords us the opportunity to engage these positive young people who will be responsible for this very important sector in the near future.”