By Michron Robinson
With Barbadians seeking food security solutions, some independent agricultural enthusiasts have sought to partially answer that by hosting a Food Security and Sustainability Meet and Mingle.
The event held on November 13th at the Bel Air Community Park was a collaboration between the Grown At Home Magazine and the Caribbean School of Arts and Business. Dozens of Barbadians came out to the Bel Air community, ensuring they did not miss the chance to take home free seeds and plants in the seed distribution drive.
Camille Alleyne, Director of Grown At Home Magazine which organised the event, reported that it was a success.
“We thought now was the time to bless Barbadians with free seeds as there were so many households interested in planting food… The free seed giveaway targeted those who had kitchen gardens or those who wanted to start as a means of securing an independent food source for their families and communities,” she said.
Alleyne said the ongoing war in Ukraine and ongoing pandemic further fuelled the drive.
“For decades, a lot of us were concerned about food security and this gained momentum during the COVID-19 lockdown. That is actually when many started kitchen gardens. When the Russia/Ukraine unrest began, we realised that food shortages were anticipated and, as a result, we felt that it was time to provide solutions. Grown at Home targets householders so we came up with the idea of giving them free seeds,’’ Alleyne explained.
The Grown at Home Magazine brand produced two issues in 2020 and 2021 and another is due to be published shortly. Alleyne recalled that a number of free online workshops were also held to facilitate kitchen gardeners. She highlighted why foods grown at home are critical.
“In those workshops, we dealt with the importance of indigenous foods because if we depend on imported foods, and the imported food crops are no longer available, we will have shortages and then have to fall back on our indigenous produce. Planting indigenous crops in our backyard and the practice of harvesting, replanting and saving seeds can go a long way in ensuring a constant food supply,” the director explained.
In another workshop, there were sessions on living sustainably and planting to provide food all-year-round. Two other sessions were on farming, including chicken and rabbit farming.
The audience for the workshops was far and varied, with people from more than ten countries logging on as far as Sweden and Israel. The event also served as a marketplace with small businesses coming out to ply their trade. There were also seedlings and cuttings swapping sessions.
President of the Bel Air Neighbourhood Watch Programme Pamela Cumberbatch oversaw that her committee welcomed the event, and it was encouraged by Film Director and Social Activist Marcia Weekes of the Caribbean School of Arts and Business.
Alleyne has confirmed that the public can look out for more workshops and sessions in the future. (MR)