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Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Garden Programme producing fresh, organic food in District 7

Garden Programme producing fresh, organic food in District 7

Fresh, organic food is being produced in District 7, as a direct result of the success of the District 7 Garden Programme.

According to a press release from the 7th District Committee on January 25, 2022, the programme, which was launched last May, is well underway with 13 participants growing various “quick” crops under the tutelage of local agriculture expert and entrepreneur Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes.

Commenting on the progress made with the programme, Deputy Premier, and Representative for the Seventh District, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) said, “I am delighted to see not only the crops growing, but also excited to know it is the direct result of the learning taking place. It is proof that participants are not only learning theory, they are actually putting into practice the agricultural principles being taught.”

Food security


The overarching vision of the programme is to increase and improve food security, entrepreneurship, volunteerism and the physical and mental wellbeing of under-resourced residents of District 7.

One major goal is to diversify economic opportunities for residents, the press release stated.

To that end, Honourable Wheatley further commented, “Programme participants are also learning the business side of agriculture as they prepare their crops for a ‘market day’ later this year, where they will package, price and promote their goods.”

The agriculture minister said this particular aspect of the programme will provide both economic and food security to participants.

Apprenticeship


Programme facilitator Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes said the apprentices officially started in November and “hit the ground running”.

She expressed that she is looking forward to seeing even more great progress on the current crops. These crops include watermelon, corn, tomato, okra, squash, peppers and eggplant.

"The participants are learning much about the process of gardening, in addition to plant fungus and viruses,” Mrs Fahie-Forbes said, adding “They are also learning how to overcome gardening challenges, more specifically the fowls that have been picking out the seedlings and the powdery mildew on some of the plants.”

The facilitator has been working with the apprentices to address these challenges when they meet as a class weekly.

Apprentices give feedback


One of the apprentices, Mr Harvey Anthony said the programme has been challenging, but worth it. He said, “We got to learn the fundamentals of farming - from plowing, clearing the land by raking up and shoveling the rocks, and also weeding. All of this by hand.”

Apprentice Glenn Cherubim said he is learning a lot from what he describes as a ‘back-to-basics’ programme, and that he is happy to be able to provide some food security to his household.

Another apprentice, Icilma Potter, stated, “I see the difference in how plants can thrive when you take care of them. I am impressed to see that even though our crops are small, they are not only budding, but some of the crops are already ready to reap.”

Grading will take place before market day.

How to become an apprentice?


According to the press release, for more information, or to express interest in participating in the District 7 Garden Programme, as an apprentice, or sponsor, contact Programme Coordinator Mrs Roxane Toussaint at 443-6161 or email roxanetoussaint@yahoo.com.

Persons interested in watching the Launch of the District 7 Garden Programme can go to the District 7 United Facebook group or copy and paste this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/District7United/permalink/4114558661916076/.

The D7 Community Garden Programme is in line with the Government of the Virgin Islands’ vision for Agriculture, which contributes to the economic growth, social well-being and protection of the Territory’s natural environment. The project is mainly funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Agriculture and Fisheries.

The District 7 Garden Programme, which was launched last May, is well underway with 13 participants growing various “quick” crops under the tutelage of local agriculture expert and entrepreneur Mrs Arona Fahie-Forbes.

The overarching vision of the programme is to increase and improve food security, entrepreneurship, volunteerism and the physical and mental wellbeing of under-resourced residents of District 7.

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