CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – A backyard gardening project for heads of households on Nevis has been launched by The Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Social Development.
The project was launched with a July 15 seminar with 12 participants, mostly women, receiving start-up kits containing packets of butternut squash, eggplant and string bean seeds, along with cassava sticks, sweet pepper and other seedlings. They were also presented with a variety of small gardening tools.
At the opening ceremony of the project launch, Ms. Lorraine Archibald, Coordinator at the Gender Affairs Division, explained that the main objective of the initiative is for participants to increase their knowledge and skills in backyard gardening with a view to not only supplying their households with nutritional food, but also creating a path to entrepreneurship.
“Each participant will be given time to get their garden started and you will be monitored,” said Ms. Archibald. “You will be with us for about six months and if during that time you feel like you want to become an entrepreneur because you have expanded your garden, we will be with you so you can make extra money.”
“We will be thinking big, how to become an entrepreneur,” she said.
Participants were encouraged to see backyard gardening as a step towards the overall national goal of food security, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic by Keith Glasgow, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development.
“We need to go back to the glory days when we were able to feed ourselves…at least at the basic level. I think we are capable.” said Glasgow. “We should not be depending on other countries to feed us. Agriculture is always relevant and backyard gardening provides the opportunity for us to do subsistence farming and even beyond to domestic production.”
The soon-to-be backyard farmers exposed to a number of presentations on a range of topics including: “A Beginners Guide to Backyard Farming;” “How to grow not only food but a business;” and “Creating a healthy and sustainable diet through backyard gardening.”
Ms. Archibald noted that after the first batch of participants complete the six-month project, another set of individuals will begin the process.
Keith Glasgow, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development in the Nevis Island Administration, addressing participants at the launch of a backyard July 15 gardening project.