6th July 2017
The very first class of local schoolchildren from the Ubiratan Diniz Aguiar School has graduated from Primal Group’s Sustainable Future Initiative. Celebrated on International Environment Day, this graduation marked the successful implementation of an educational program intended to share the latest innovations in sustainable agriculture and the significance of carefully nurturing the very ground we walk on. With parents, teachers and local politicians all gathering to see the thriving produce cultivated by students on-site at Primal Group’s agricultural projects in Brazil, the positive impact that this initiative has had on the local community and the environment is clear.
The Sustainable Future Initiative in action. Students from the Ubiratan Diniz Aguiar School in Trairi tending the Mandala Garden near the entrance to Primal Group’s agricultural projects.
Launched in early 2017, the Sustainable Environment Partnership is the joint initiative between Primal Group, Unique and Vita to evolve a sustainable future by ensuring that social responsibility and environmental protection remain at the forefront of our global resource supply chain. This partnership was developed as the flagship social responsibility initiative since becoming participating members of the United Nations Global Compact. After several fact-finding missions to assess the socioeconomic situation in the local municipalities surrounding their projects, Primal Group discovered an elementary school in great need of renovation and assistance. Located in a rented building with very little resources, windows were broken, the roof was damaged and rainfall would often enter the classrooms during lessons. After organizing the necessary repairs and donating uniforms and laptops, inspiration struck. Primal Group realized that one of the best ways to create true and long lasting value for these children was to share their agronomic expertise with the local community. Since inception, they have implemented agricultural projects using safe, innovative and regenerative best practices, relying on precision technologies, natural solutions in crop care and responsible water management to ensure the permanence of natural capital and achieve globally competitive yields. By empowering the local community with this knowledge, Primal Group wanted to demonstrate how business can have a profound impact on society, the environment, and the economy. Creating shared value in this way is fundamental to solving some of the world’s most significant challenges.
The very first class of students participating in the Sustainable Future Initiative.
This mission soon evolved into the Sustainable Future Initiative. Combining traditional practices and empirical knowledge to modern scientific techniques, the project was designed to teach local students cultivation practices that are safe, productive and applicable to everyone. Based on the extensive benefits of sustainability in agriculture, the educational program was divided into several modules over a four-month period. The topics ranged from agroecology, land preparation, crop care, water management, nutrition and the dangers of conventional practices used in agriculture today. After each module, students and teachers traveled to the Mandala Garden on-site at Primal Group’s agricultural projects. Assisted by expert agronomists, the students implemented the agricultural exercise from start to finish. Mandala was specifically chosen as it was originally established to sustainably feed individual families and local communities around the world without any reliance on synthetic agrochemicals. Featuring very dense crop association in varied patterns, this type of agriculture was an ideal foundation for the practical lessons as it strengthens soil fertility and crop protection by design. The raised garden bed with circular structure also promotes safe water use throughout all stages of the plant life-cycle.
During the practical exercises, expert agronomists demonstrated how to care for crops in a safe, environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
Covering all the necessary elements for sustainable crop care, these practical exercises enabled the students to learn by example. Whether they were preparing the soil, setting up irrigation infrastructure, planting seeds, protecting and fertilizing crops as well as cultivating the land, Primal Group made sure that all essential practices could be applied at home. All fruits and vegetables harvested over the next year will be donated to local schools in the region, including Peixinhos, Assucena and Mundaí, providing over 2,000 children with healthy, nutritional and pesticide-free produce for their school lunches. Representatives from the Municipal Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office in Trairi have been actively following the project since inception. Impressed by its success, they are now discussing the practicalities of implementing the Sustainable Future Initiative in additional schools across the region.
With the first generation of the Sustainable Future Initiative coming to an end, graduates visited the Mandala Garden one final time to see the land they had tended to for the past few months.
Every student was presented with a neem sapling during the graduation ceremony as a symbol of sustainable agriculture’s restorative power in the world today. Ana Letícia Praciano and José Tiago da Silva Santos were two students who demonstrated exceptional performance throughout the educational program and as a result, they were awarded a private tour of Primal Group’s neem and coconut plantations. Joined by expert agronomists, the students were given the opportunity to observe the vast expanse of land, irrigation networks, renewable energy infrastructure and conservation areas that exist in agricultural projects of this scale. They were also given the opportunity to plant their very own neem tree in the field and learn about how this incredible resource will help drive a sustainable future.
The Mandala Garden will provide organic produce to local schools for over a year.
This has been an extremely exciting journey, one that will no doubt strengthen knowledge of sustainable agriculture and environmental care in one of the world’s future breadbaskets. By providing the resources necessary to learn about sustainability, Primal Group’s objective is to ensure that safe and innovative practices last in the region for generations.