Dr. Lackram Bedoe, Member of Parliament for Fyzabad, Mr. Kahlil Comissiong, Communications Advisor, Heritage Petroleum Company Limited, Mr. Alpha Sennon – Founder, WHY Farm Limited and Mr. Jason Ali, Councillor Siparia West/Fyzabad. (Image courtesy Heritage Petroleum Company Limited)

Many families and communities in south-west Trinidad, which form the fence-line communities for Heritage Petroleum Company Limited, have been benefitting from the company’s ‘HERE WE GROW’ Initiative, which is aimed at food sustainability, and encourages home gardening.

According to Heritage, the initiative has sought to ease some of the sting of the COVID-19 Pandemic in these communities over the past two years.

“The ‘HERE WE GROW’ Initiative focuses on partnering with community stakeholders to provide seedlings to households with the aim of encouraging them to grow what they eat and eat what they grow. This concept can be seen as a sustainable practical mechanism to alleviate the challenges of food availability and promote environmental awareness and sustainability,” the company explains.

Heritage reports that through this initiative, it has worked successfully with elected representatives as well as Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) to distribute over 20,000 (twenty thousand) seedlings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The company has partnered with elected representatives in Point Fortin, La Brea, Santa Flora, Palo Seco, Fyzabad, Penal and Barrackpore, as well as the SURE Foundation, a local NPO with a focus on the promotion of food security, decarbonisation and carbon footprint reduction through seedling distributions nationwide.

Heritage’s CEO Arlene Chow noted that the company remains steadfast in its objective to create a sustainable future in its home communities and will continue to drive social and environmental sustainability through its community initiatives.

“Social and Environmental sustainability is at the core of Heritage’s CSR philosophy. Through the ‘HERE WE GROW’ Initiative the company can address two major issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has tested our CSR commitments and we are really pleased that our CSR focus does indeed redound to the benefit of the people in our fence line communities. I want to thank the stakeholders who partner with Heritage to continuously make our initiatives successful, and we look forward to seeing and hearing about those flourishing kitchen gardens,” she said.

Councillor for Palo Seco, Dana O’Neil-Gervais, said the ‘HERE WE GROW’ initiative has been well received by beneficiary communities.

“Heritage continues to show its commitment to the fence-line communities, from hampers to seedlings, from food to helping persons grow their own food. Heritage has distributed seedlings throughout the pandemic, and this has been well received by the communities some of whom showed us heigardens. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to garden, the whole neighbourhood eats tomatoes,” she said.