An environmentalist has pleaded with Barbadians to stop cutting down fruit trees and get serious about growing what they eat.
Decrying the island’s “crazy”, one-billion-dollar food import bill, the owner of Chi Organics, Christy L’ Angel-Preece, told Barbados TODAY it was time to plant more fruits, vegetables and herbs.
This, she said, would not only help the country to save money but help tackle climate change and health.
L’Angel-Preece said: “I do want to tell Bajans do not chop down fruit trees and plant as many as they can.
“When you plant trees you are not only feeding the birds and monkeys, but you are also feeding the nation. So please don’t chop down the trees, we need all the coconut palms and other trees we can get.”
She welcomed Government’s Million Trees for 2020 project, saying the more trees, herbs and other edible plants were sown “the lower the climate change will be, the more rain we will get and the more food the island would have”.
“People don’t use the food enough. I have gone pass many places and I have seen the mangoes just lying on the floor for example, but we can use them to make mango jam, mango chutney and much more,” she said, pointing out that local products could replace the imported ones that were selling at high costs.
Adding that Barbados was once considered self-sufficient when it came to food, she said even before the 1939-1945 Second World War, a lot more recycling was also done.
“Before World War II Barbados was mostly sustainable and self-sufficient. We have enough land here to grow everything we need,” she insisted.
Adding that most of the food being imported could be grown locally, the healthy lifestyle coach said things such as broccoli, zucchini and other vegetables should not be made to travel miles, contributing to the worrying issue of climate change.
L’Angel-Preece declared: “There is so much we can grow here. We should not import anything really. You are supposed to eat the fruits and vegetables when they are in season. You are not to ship them from miles away and freeze them. You are meant to have them when they are freshly picked. That is what Bajans are used to doing and that is the right way of living.
“We need to get away from copying America and Europe and go back to the old-time Bajan way of farming and eating the foods that we grow. The biggest impact on climate change apart from the aeroplanes, the boats and the trucks that have to ship the food is animal farming. We should minimize animal farming.”
L’Angel-Preece also encouraged Barbadians to take more interest in recycling, reusing and thus reducing waste.
“Put as little in the landfill as you can,” she said. “What you don’t eat can go into your compost. There are so many things you can do with recycling. People make plant pots from drink bottles for example. You can save your money, you can save your landfill, which creates toxic methane gas, and you can save our wastage bills and import bills too. Half the things we import we really don’t need to import them. We can reuse or recycle what we already have.”
The certified organic farm inspector also wants Barbadians to stop using pesticides and herbicides. The use of these highly toxic chemicals was known to contribute to the dwindling local honeybee population and give farmers prostate cancer, she said.
“Stop using all toxic chemicals. It is not necessary,” said L’Angel-Preece, pointing out that there were several natural, non-toxic alternatives. [email protected]