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ODSEC, Bayer partner to promote environmental sustainability

The organizations marked National Public Gardens Week with a commitment to the communities of northern, southern and central Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico Office for Socioeconomic and Community Development (known as ODSEC in Spanish) and Bayer Crop Science recently signed a collaborative agreement within the framework of the celebration of National Public Gardens to offer agricultural, environmental protection, and food sustainability workshops for children and adults.

“We’re very pleased to conclude this alliance and that it coincides with the celebration of Earth Day because it demonstrates our real commitment to the protection of the environment and the sustainable development of school and community gardens,” said ODSEC Director Thais Reyes-Serrano.

This is the “formalization, renewal and expansion” of a collaboration that has been ongoing since June 2021 and marks a milestone in Bayer and ODSEC’s “search for a greener and more sustainable future.”

Through this agreement, both entities will continue to bring Bayer’s Sow and Grow and Learn community outreach programs to the northern, central and southern areas of Puerto Rico through the coordination of ODSEC’s regional community services officers.

Grow and Learn (“Crece y Aprende”) is Bayer’s educational program in agricultural sciences for children. Its objective is to provide activities about agriculture and sustainability that students participate in as part of their academic curriculum.

The program also seeks to introduce concepts of self-management and sustainability within the family nucleus and generate permanent collaboration initiatives with schools and organizations interested in expanding or complementing their educational offerings.

Meanwhile, Sow (“Siembra”) is Bayer’s agricultural educational program for youth and adults. It seeks to provide basic agricultural knowledge with an entrepreneurial twist so that participants can produce part of the food they bring to their tables, create businesses or implement community agricultural programs.

“The collaborative agreement contemplates the inclusion of the older adult population participating in the ODSEC ‘Vida Plus’ program to carry out Siembra program workshops,” said Reyes-Serrano, who announced that “Bayer showed interest in exploring the possibility of involving the Department of Agriculture and the Administration of Families and Children (ADFAN) of the Department of the Family.”

Meanwhile, Frederick Ortiz-Emmanuel, leader of the Bayer Crop Science station in Juana Díaz, said as part of this agreement, ODSEC personnel received a tour of the Bayer facilities in Juana Díaz.

“What we seek with this type of project is to promote a culture of environmental protection and sustainability through education and tools that strengthen community passion and leadership,” said Ortiz-Emmanuel.

“During the years that we have been bringing these programs to communities, schools and organizations, we have seen the interest shown by thousands of people — particularly our youth and our seniors — in learning more about agriculture and how it can help harvest part of the food they consume,” he added.

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