Jamaica – The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is encouraging Jamaicans to utilise their backyards for garden projects this Labour Day, which is being observed on Monday, May 24.
In keeping with the theme for Labour Day 2021, ‘Promoting a Clean and Healthy Environment’, emphasis is being placed on persons staying at home and tending to their personal spaces, including their gardens.
Director of Public Relations and Communications at RADA, Camille Beckford, told JIS News that with the reality of COVID-19, backyard gardening can be used as an avenue for being productive and subsistent.
“There is a push for Labour Day, as well, to get Jamaicans involved in developing their own backyard gardens. We started with the Backyard Garden Initiative, so persons could secure enriched nutrition in their diet [and] also, as a cost-saving opportunity, since we are in COVID times.
Backyard gardening can ensure that persons get some physical activity, as well, and that is what we are encouraging right now,” she said.
While ensuring that persons utilise their spaces in efficient ways, Ms. Beckford is reminding persons that RADA is there to support them.
“Even with growing things in the minimal spaces that they do have, RADA is there to provide technical advice. At each step of the way, they can contact us by telephone or via our social media sites and we can help them to improve their production. We are always here,” she said.
Meanwhile, RADA has partnered with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport along with Food For the Poor in the distribution of hundreds of fruit trees.
The initiative is being executed through the RADA established network.
“We had made a proposal and they accepted. What is going to happen is that two hundred persons who are not successful in receiving their backyard gardening kit will be contacted via email and they will collect the seedlings at the proposed RADA parish offices.
These offices are the RADA St. Catherine Twickenham Park Area Office and the RADA St. Andrew Parish Office, 197 Old Hope Road, in Kingston,” Ms. Beckford said.
“One hundred persons from St. Catherine and another 100 persons from Kingston and St. Andrew will benefit. They will receive two fruit trees each and these trees are Naseberry, June Plum and Citrus Types. They are on their way today (May 21).
Beneficiaries are receiving their trees for their Labour Day initiative,” she noted.
The larger Backyard Gardening Initiative started in February this year, with a total of 3,000 residents being successful in receiving backyard gardening kits.
Participants will receive between two and four mixed seeds, including peppers, cabbage, callaloo, tomatoes, pak choy and also small garden forks and shovels, seedling trays, seedling mix and fertiliser.