Biscayne Elementary School is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, for its new community garden, BELA (Biscayne Elementary School Leadership Academy) Farms.
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This is the first school on the north side of the Duval County Public Schools system to have a farm on campus. The spacious 1-acre garden will include 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 farming, teamwork, and volunteering.
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BELA Farms is being fully funded by the CEM Foundation (cem-foundation.com), a Jacksonville-based 501c3 founded by Charles Miller, CEO of ArdentX Logistics. 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 vegetables, and I think every child 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 your passion for reaching the most vulnerable in society. In his role, he builds relationships in the community and identifies causes, projects and initiatives that support the vision and mission of Fundación CEM. The CEM Foundation will continue to partner with schools to bring STEM learning through gardening.
Amy Miles from Duval County Public Schools helped coordinate the efforts for BELA FARMS. The vision for the project is being crafted by retired firefighter turned entrepreneur William Griffin of Eastcoast School Systems.
An ongoing relationship with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF) led Biscayne Elementary Principal Sanaa McBride, JPEF Senior Fellow, Tanya Reyes, JPEF Teacher Leader, and Shakeya Lee, JPEF Teacher Leader, to share the project proposal and secure funding from the CEM Foundation.
BELA FARMS will provide students with the opportunity to learn about farming, planning, teamwork, and giving back to the community. BELA Farms will be student run, and all students will be able to participate during and after school. The BELA FARMS harvest will return to the Biscayne community.
Local businesses and parent volunteers are all on board to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Other partnerships for the event include grocery store Sprouts, which will provide a little 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.
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