Nine care homes across the island received care packages of a different kind this morning from the Division of Agriculture’s backyard gardening programme.
The homes got seedling trays, small garden tools and large plastic barrels to use as water cisterns- all meant to help Dominicans feed themselves.
The trays contain a balanced mix of short term and medium-term crops of varying nutritional values.
The packages included leafy vegetables like kale and lettuce, vitamin rich plants like tomatoes and cucumbers, starchy vegetables like corn and carrots as well as protein-rich beans and peas.
Agriculture Director, Ricky Brumant says most of the nine homes already have backyard gardens.
“More homes have than not,” he said to media, “but the idea is to ensure than every home has.”
Residents of these care homes will be able to eat what they have grown in a 4-week to 3-month time frame.
Brumant explained, “Lettuce, cucumbers, string beans and bok choi can be ready by week four while tomatoes and carrots take a longer time.
“That’s how we should do our backyards so that you can have different foods at different times.”
Annie St Luce, Director of the Dominica Infirmary, one of the nine non-profit homes receiving nutritional support responded upon receipt of the package, “I’m very happy that we are here for this occasion. I must thank the Ministry and the extension office here in the Gardens.”
St Luce shared that the Division of Agriculture and the Dominica Infirmary have a close relationship.
“We’ve had our kitchen garden or about four years and we have been supplying our kitchen with herbal seasonings as well as smaller produce like carrots and cabbages. Some of our seedlings come from you, even some of our compost comes from you.”
The Infirmary also receives annual Christmas care packages from the Agriculture Ministry.
“We are really happy that you can partner with us in that way. Thank you and I continue to wish you well in this endeavour,” she said.
This initiative is part of the ministry’s Coronavirus Food Security Programme.
This initiative, guided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness concentrates on food production as an apparatus to prepare, mitigate and respond to and recover from the Covid19 pandemic with special emphasis on national food security.
The Government of Dominica spent EC $162,000 to procure seeds and produce seedlings and planting materials for farmers island wide.