Ford sets aside $40K for ‘green’ initiative grants

Written by  //  June 14, 2011  //  Environment  //  No comments

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Orocovis Teacher Dalma Cartagena

Ford Motor Company is marking a decade of fueling environmentally friendly initiatives on the island through grants bestowed to individuals and organizations. This year, the automaker will distribute $40,000 for those initiatives, adding to the $400,000 it has distributed since 2001.

During a news conference Monday at the San Juan Wildlife Museum, Ford executives said candidates have until Aug. 26 to apply for an environmental grant under this year’s edition of its Puerto Rico Conservation and Environmental Grants program, which has already benefited more than 60 local organizations.

“We know there are many people working really impactful projects to benefit the environment and need financial assistance,” said Waldo Galán, general manager for Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Central America, Ford International Business Development. “At Ford, we want to be their environmental partners to continue efforts to improve the quality of life of the planet we inhabit.”

Last year, Ford distributed the same amount it has earmarked for this year among several organizations, namely: Proyecto Educación Agrícola Escuela de la Comunidad SU Botijas I (Agricultural Education Project of the SU Botijas I Community School); Casa Paoli; Proyecto Agro Ecológico, UPR – Departamento de Biología (Agroecological Project, University of Puerto Rico School of Biology);  Sendero Eco Pedagógico; Proyecto Coquí (Coquí Project); and Huerto para mi Escuela (Garden for my School).

At the community school in Orocovis, teacher and agronomist Dalma Cartagena used the grant funding to transform the schoolyard and teach students how to survive in case of a food crisis. Students learned to compost and plant food, using tools and equipment purchased with the Ford grant, Cartagena said Monday.

As a result, it is the only school in the Orocovis school District that offers the Education Department’s Agricultural Education Program, harvesting produce in harmony with the environment, without using chemicals. The fertilizer used is composted and applied to short-term crops including lettuce, carrots, onions, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, squash, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes and green beans.

“In addition to learning agricultural techniques, students develop other skills and values such as teamwork, discipline, organization, respect for nature and their peers,” the educator said.

Information about the grant program can be obtained at www.ford.com.pr.

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