School garden helps Mexican children grow


An innovative urban garden which encourages healthy eating and a better understanding of the environment has been inaugurated at an ORT school in Mexico.

The Adama Lab at the Colegio Israelita de México ORT (CIM-ORT) will help pupils understand biology and ecology and is seen as vital in transforming and enriching school projects.

The urban garden, which introduces children to hydroponics, cultivation beds, drip irrigation and other technologies, was formally inaugurated last week.

Hands on: students can get up close to the gardening projects

Students will be encouraged to interact with plants, observe organisms in the ecological cycle and understand the productive cycle of food.

The new facility is part of an ‘IDEA lab’ which aims to spark young minds through innovation, discovery, experimentation and action, with the hope of having a wider impact on Mexican society.

In the garden, children will sow seeds, care for plants, harvest food and ultimately run micro-enterprise business projects to sell the garden’s products.

Students have already described their amazement at using the area to watch butterflies being born. For some, it is a rare chance to be close to nature.

“I can water and care for plants, see how they grow and eat them. It’s very good because I live in an apartment and I do not have this opportunity anywhere else,” said one pupil.

It is an example of the progressive education models employed across the ORT network and shows how by rethinking pedagogical methods, students can benefit from creative learning environments.

The garden will offer students chances many have never had before

Among those to visit the school last week to see the Adama Lab were Avi Ganon, World ORT Director General and CEO; Avital Govrin, ORT’s Chief Relationship Officer; and Vladimir Dribinskiy, ORT’s Chief Program Officer.

They also saw training sessions for teachers, provided by ORT Argentina and supported by ORT, which focused on technology and modern teaching methods.

Avi Ganon said: “It was another great opportunity for me to see how ORT is making a difference in the Jewish community. The wonderful partnership between ORT Mexico, CIM-ORT and World ORT is bringing exceptional added value to this school and has transformed it to become one of the best Jewish schools in Mexico.”

The ORT group toured the school with ORT Mexico’s director general Jimmy Salinas and chief operating officer Edith Fiszman, as well as CIM-ORT President Mario Baker, principal Avi Meir and other staff.

The ORT team at the CIM-ORT i.d.e.a. lab