The Department of Agriculture has put together a Home Gardening Course for interested stakeholders from (May – June & Sept – Oct). This course was put together as a result of the stimulation of the sector under the COVID 19 Farmers Assistance Programme, that encouraged homeowners to start producing small amounts of food at home. Home gardening in this case refers to the production of food on small portion of land usually surrounding the family home or on adjacent properties. The aim is usually to supplement the home food supply as well as possibly selling surplus to supplement income.
At the start of the pandemic in 2019, the Department of Agriculture was forced to ramp up production to meet the surge in demand for various vegetables and herb seedlings, as persons within the island expressed concerns over food security, especially in the face of shipping and supply chain shortages, as well as input supply issues and food shortages. This COVID situation has further created more problems with food shortages, evidenced by empty shelves in the grocery store, surging food prices and unemployment at an all-time high. This pointed out the fact that the Cayman Islands and other countries were in serious situation as it relates to food insecurity and the risk of being dependent of other country to feed us.
Backyard gardening was the turning point for some persons. It provided a mental reprieve, socialization and food for families as they struggled to cope with lock downs as well as loss of income. We as a Department recognized the technical knowledge was lacking for a lot of persons and as such the course was put together to provide training intervention to this group. The course is tailored for beginners or experienced gardeners. The aim is to teach the basic skills needed to start your garden while you develop the confidence to grow a successful garden. The course will be taught over four weeks, during which time you will learn to sow seeds, transplant, identify pests on plants and fertilizers for crop nutrition and much more.
We come to an end with the Home Gardening Course for the year. However, we encourage everyone who participated in the Home Gardening Course to show case their skills and knowledge obtained from the four-week course, in the upcoming Agriculture show next year February 2023. The Department of Agriculture will provide free crops to those participants who have agreed to take part in the competition.
We thank all the participants for being proactive in growing their own food and asking valuable questions to ensure your garden is healthy and produce numbers that will sustain your household, along with family and friends.
Stay Tuned for the announcement of the Home Gardening Course in Cayman Brac.