Garden initiative helps Honduran children

Owner of Tea Emporium in Saanich looks to build support for project to develop gardens to help feed malnourished children

Darrell Jolly

Darrell Jolly

Darrell Jolly is turning the parental plea of “eat your vegetables” into a groundbreaking opportunity for undernourished children in Honduras.

Jolly, who owns the Tea Emporium in Saanich, has been actively involved in Brentwood Bay Rotary Club initiatives for the past eight years.

“The Tea Emporium is a hobby business that allows me to accomplish other things,” he explained during an interview at the business’s West Saanich Road location.

Jolly has made trips to Honduras, Uganda and Zambia to work on Rotary-sponsored efforts involving clean water and reforestation initiatives.

“I noticed quite a few children are suffering malnutrition,” he said.

Jolly was impressed by a YouTube video that originated in South Africa, called Food for Thought, that described how planting food gardens at schools could make a significant difference.

“The kids learn how to grow their own vegetables and eat them for lunch and the schools would sell any extra produce,” he said. “I thought it was a really good idea and something we should be doing in Honduras. We [Rotary] quite often put water into a community where there’s a school, so I thought why don’t we put in a garden to deal with nutritional problems.”

Honduras, with a population of 7.5 million, has 1.5 million people facing hunger, Jolly noted. “When you see that the World Health Organization estimates that malnutrition accounts for 54 per cent of child mortality worldwide, that really gets your attention,” he said. “In Honduras, chronic malnutrition can reach 48.5 per cent in rural areas.”

That motivated Jolly to engage in a social enterprise called Profits for a Purpose, which was originally started by an entrepreneur with a social conscience to enhance sustainability and create new opportunities to help make people more self reliant.

“We can do more and we can do better,” said Jolly, who currently raises about $1,000 a year for the school gardens through sales of used books and gourmet coffee at the Tea Emporium.

“I want to take this to a whole other level,” he said. “My goal is to get to $20,000 a year and I’m looking for other like-minded businesses and individuals to jump on board.”

Working with the Brentwood Bay Rotary and Rotary International enables Jolly to apply for grants and take advantage of the benefits that come through involvement with a global organization.

Anyone interested in volunteering, fundraising or donating should contact Jolly at 250-479-0497.