100 Backyard Farming Kits Distributed: “Let’s get growing Bahamas!” says Minister Clay Sweeting

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Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting speaks during a press conference held at the Assemblies of God National Office, Warrick Street, Shirlea, October 13, 2022. The event was held to distribute 100 backyard gardening kits to 25 students and members of the general public. Recipients of the backyard gardening kits pose for a group shot with Minister Sweeting. (BIS Photos/Mark Ford)

The Agricultural Development Organization (ADO) partnered with The Church Commercial Farming Group (TCCFG) to distribute backyard farming kits to 25 high school students and applicants from the general public. These kits are part of an inventory of 5,000 kits scheduled for distribution.

The kits were handed over to the recipients during a press conference held on the grounds of the Assemblies of God National Office, Warrick Street, Shirlea. Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting and Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, Leroy Major were in attendance. Moderator for the event was Bishop Franklyn Ferguson of the Church of God.

Minister Sweeting delivered brief remarks. He said that initiatives such as these were in line with the government’s agenda of ensuring The Bahamas becomes ‘food independent.’ In addition, he said that he was especially pleased to see the interest in farming among children, noting the presence of students from Bahamas Academy, Faith Temple Christian Academy and R.M. Bailey Senior High School, among the recipients.

“In light of challenges that persist with finding fresh and affordable food, we wish to encourage backyard gardening among our citizens to meet this need and to ensure food security,” he said. “We know that The Bahamas is challenged due to supply chain issues, the high costs of shipping and fuel, climate change and now, the war in Ukraine. These issues make us vulnerable, therefore, we must be fearless in our efforts to grow our own food. Initiatives such as this where the church, schools and communities come together are highly encouraged. We must continue to encourage and inspire each other to grow safe and nutritious food.

Encourage everyone you know, especially those who have not yet started, to get growing. Let’s get growing Bahamas!”

Executive Chairman of the Agricultural Development Organization, Philip Smith, said that these distribution exercises were part of a grander plan to distribute some 50,000 kits to the entire country. He said the organization is seeking partnerships in order to meet this goal. Also in attendance were a number of representatives from various churches as well as major feeding organizations. Chairman of the Church Commercial Farming Group, Reverend Patrick Paul delivered remarks. He said that he looks forward to the continued collaboration between various sectors of society to address the issue of food security.  

Three-time Bahamian Olympian, Pauline Davis prepared her signature green smoothie, which she said she used throughout her career while traveling the world for her races. She demonstrated how easy it was to prepare a complete meal in a drink form using locally produced ingredients such as kale, bananas, papaya and coconut.

Another demonstration was held and conducted by agricultural expert, Basil Miller, who showed attendants how to set up the included backyard irrigation kits and plant seed and seedlings in the garden. He also answered various questions about gardening.

By BETTY VEDRINE/Bahamas Information Services

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