Ministry Of Agriculture Supports Launch Of Backyard Gardeners Network

PR – Increasing food security through  backyard gardening, promoting sustainable agriculture, and encouraging healthier eating  habits, are the aims of the Backyard Gardeners’ Network Initiative. 

The newly launched initiative is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Agriculture,  Lands and Forestry and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).  “The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased to collaborate with IICA for this initiative, as we  recognise this as one way to encourage food and nutrition security for all,” said Senior  Agricultural Officer, Lauren St. Louis.  

The agronomist also explained that this initiative “will give foods a shorter carbon  footprint, while at the same time encourage healthier eating habits.” 

The official launch of this new network of 30 persons included a practical training session  on the important elements in the backyard garden, during which participants were able to  share information and techniques. “This Backyard Gardeners’ Initiative was developed as  part of a regional project by IICA. We hope this would increase food production in the  backyard, by supporting members through training and demonstrations,” said Derek  Charles, IICA’s National Specialist. 

Presentations during the first hands-on training were done by Dr. Guido Marcelle, and  4-H Officer, Melissa Tyson. Participant, Gentia Alexander, a market vendor, expressed  elation to be a part of the network. “This will help me to grow my seasonings that I can  sell,” she remarked. “For us single parents, it would help us to save a dollar. We can also  start selling our products to earn a dollar to take care of our families,” said Annette Isaac,  another member. 

The launch of the network was done with a demonstration in St. Andrew, on the plot of  Pamela Courtney, a successful backyard gardener. She implored members of the  network to use the platform as a means of knowledge sharing and also shared her  experience with backyard gardening. “Knowing where my food was coming from, and the  career that I had, propelled me into backyard gardening,” she explained. “This has  reduced the number of times I have had to go to the market because everything we eat  comes from the backyard.”

As part of the network launch, members received a backyard gardeners’ starter pack,  with small tools that can be used in the garden, and will receive a certificate of  participation. All members are part of a WhatsApp group that will facilitate queries and  information sharing.