April 1, 2013
School Kitchen Garden Project benefits the Tibirizinho comunity and wins MEC’s “Teachers of Brazil 2012” prize
With the idea of encouraging natural agriculture and publicizing the importance of the proper use of the soil, Alumar, in a partnership with the directors of the Zebína Eugenia Costa UEB (Compulsory Education Universe) introduced the "School Kitchen Garden" project. The initiative is part of the agenda prepared by the Consortium to promote sustainable development actions in areas surrounding the plant. The school vegetable garden was started in the teaching unit in 2012 and coordinated by the team from the Alumar Environmental Park.
Aimed at 5th year students in compulsory education, the project also forms part of the “Caring” project, which was registered for the MEC award. Professor Helena Paula, who is responsible for the work, won in the "Teachers of Brazil 2012" category.
The "School Kitchen Garden" provides for the participation of educators from the Environmental Park and agents from the Community Environmental Education program (ECOA). They are responsible for technical guidance and managing cultivation. The project also includes the donation of tools, seeds and equipment for preparing the vegetable beds. In working with the students, educational talks were aimed at valuing the environment.
The directors of Zebína Eugenia have decided to expand the project. Some 300 students from 1st to 5th grade will monitor the entire vegetable garden production process, and will learn about soil preparation, planting vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants, and harvesting.
According to the teacher, since setting up the School Kitchen Garden Project they have noticed a greater awareness of the importance of growing things and a significant improvement in student behavior. "When children take part in planting and harvesting they have a better understanding of the importance of the environment. Lots of parents and students became involved with the project, which went to show the interaction that exists between school and community".
Another aspect she highlighted concerns the quality of learning: "The garden has become a major facilitating agent in the process, enabling us to explore the variety of ways there are of learning". Disciplines such as science, math and Portuguese have become great allies of the students. On scheduled days, these classes have been held in the vegetable beds.
Six communities that are neighbors to the plant are already supporting their economy by growing vegetables and fruit that are sold in markets in the city. All this happened with the contribution of sustainable projects from Alumar.
For Alumar’s Environment, Safety and Institutional Relations Manager, Dulcimar Soares, the big difference in the School Kitchen Garden Project is the participation: "Collective work is always motivating, because the gains go further. Integration awakens solidarity, a sense of teamwork and the search for a result that benefits everyone", said the manager.
Alcoa Alumínio S.A. is a subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. which is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. The company employs approximately 61,000 people in 31 countries and for the eleventh consecutive year the company is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Alcoa is present in Latin America and the Caribbean where it has operations in Brazil, Jamaica and Suriname and about 7,000 employees. This year, the company completes 125 years of operations in the world.
In Brazil the company operates in the whole of the aluminum production chain, from bauxite mining to the production of transformed products. Alcoa has six production units and three offices in the states of Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Pará, Pernambuco, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and the Federal District. The company also has shareholdings in four hydroelectric power stations: Machadinho and Barra Grande on the border of the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul; Serra do Facão in Goiás; and Estreito, between Maranhão and Tocantins. In 2012, Alcoa recorded revenues of R$ 2,6 billion in Brazil. In the same year it was considered a benchmark in sustainability, being one of the year’s 21 model companies in the Guia EXAME de Sustentabilidade [EXAME Magazine’s Sustainability Guide], besides being recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for the eleventh consecutive year and Best Company for Women to Work in Brazil, by the Great Place to Work Institute. Further information can be found at www.alcoa.com.br.