JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Biscayne Elementary School is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., for their new community garden, BELA (Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy) Farms.
This is the first school on the Northside in the Duval County Public School System to have a farm on campus. The spacious 1 acre garden will include a 5 raised beds, fruit trees, a tire garden and custom benches designed for storage and recreation.
The 1-acre garden will give students the opportunity to learn about agriculture, teamwork, and volunteerism.
BELA Farms is being completely funded by the CEM Foundation (cem-foundation.com), a Jacksonville based 501c3 founded by , ArdentX Logistics CEO Charles Miller. Miller is passionate about philanthropy and giving back to communities in need of a champion. “Growing up on a farm, we always had access to fresh fruits and veggies, and I think every kid should have the opportunity to grow something from seed to harvest. It creates a sense of pride and ownership among other things, and it’s a great honor to help fund this initiative,” says Miller.
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CEM Executive Director Joshua Woods shares his passion for reaching out to the most vulnerable in society. In his role, he builds relationships in the community, and identifies causes, projects and initiatives which support the vision and mission of CEM Foundation. The CEM foundation will continue to partner with schools to bring STEM learning through gardening.
Amy Miles with Duval County Public Schools helped coordinate efforts for BELA FARMS. The vison for the project is being designed by retired fireman turned entrepreneur William Griffin of Eastcoast School Systems.
An ongoing relationship with Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) led to Biscayne Elementary Principal, Sanaa McBride - JPEF Principal fellow, Tanya Reyes - JPEF Teacher Leader and Shakeya Lee - JPEF Teacher Leader sharing the project proposal and securing funding from the CEM Foundation.
BELA FARMS will provide students with the opportunity to learn about agriculture, planning, teamwork and giving back to community. BELA Farms will be student led, with all students will be able to participate during school and after school. BELA FARMS harvest will go back to the Biscayne community.
Local businesses and parent-volunteers are all onboard to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Other partnerships for the event include Sprouts grocery store who will provide just over $1,000 worth of free seeds for students and their families. There will be free food, giveaways and raffle prizes to include, microscopes, laptops and more.