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Press Release: 14 Students Complete Climate Smart Agricultural Course

Fourteen (14) young persons have just completed a 10 week Climate Smart Agricultural Course at the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Center a program under the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas; in collaboration with its donor partner Sandals Foundation Jamaica. In addition, the GARD Center received technical assistance from CARDI, IICA and the Agricultural Extension Division with trainers. The Ministry of Education also assisted with allowing some of their School Farm Attendants to participate.

In this Century when it is critical that all sectors strive to take action in protecting this environment and reversing some of the damages that have occurred over the years, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) which promotes sustainable farming practices is the way to go to increase resilience against droughts, torrential rains and changing growing seasons. CSA is a management system that identifies the risks created by climate change and poses solutions through best farming practices.

With a special focus on hydroponics, the trainees were guided through a wealth of subject areas which included water conservation, integrated pest management, composting and mulching, drip irrigation, constructing hydroponic units, use of ICT in agriculture, business management, raising small ruminants in a CSA environment, and many more areas including life skills.

The next set of courses to be launched by the GARD Center/Sandals Foundation Jamaica partnership includes Hydroponics for Women Backyard Gardeners and Solar Panel Installation Assistant Technician. Other courses such as Tour Guiding, Office Administration, Remarkable Hospitality/Customer Service, and ICT are also starting soon.

Call 463-4121/562-0084 for further information.  

Hydroponics Course at the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Center

Fifteen (15) school Farm Attendants from the Ministry of Education’s Agricultural Science Unit just recently completed a one week course in Hydroponics at the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Center.  This course is is a part of a wider Climate Smart Agricultural Project in partnership with the Sandals Foundation Jamaica and collaborative efforts from The Agricultural Extension Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, CARDI and IICA. The main objective is to empower youth to be aware of the contributions they can make in the agriculture sector for a better future, especially through the application of climate-smart practices in agriculture and combat climatic risks while enhancing livelihoods.

According to researchers the hydroponics technology works well for Climate Smart Agriculture because of the water conservation and farm integration advantages as well as being a potentially more sustainable method of food production. It uses 90% less water and soil as compared to traditional agricultural methods of production

These Farm Attendants learnt the fundamentals of hydroponics, the various types of systems, production and management of crops grown hydroponically and the actual construction of a demonstration unit.  Mr. Ika Fergus, Extension Officer  facilitated the sessions and will be assisting the GARD Center along with CARDI  in conducting a number of other activities in the project i.e. a ten week Climate Smart Agricultural course for youth, and an evening hydroponics  course for women doing backyard gardening.

GARD Center 5th Annual Farm to Table 2019

GARD Center 5th Annual Farm to Table Benefit Luncheon and Awards Ceremony recently concluded on Saturday April 6th, 2019 by all feedback was the best so far!!!

Farm to Table 2019 in its fifth year catered to approximately 300 guests who enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon under the stately Willow trees and tasted the many creative local dishes produced by some of the top chefs in the country. Under the patronage of the Governor General, Sir  Rodney Williams and the Premier Sponsors, James and Maginley Charity and Care Foundation; L A Development Company Ltd, Chefs from Goddard Catering Group (Antigua) Ltd, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, Oetker Collection (Jumby Bay Hotel), Galley Bay Antigua, Trade Winds Hotel, Curtain Bluff Resort, and Flavas Restaurant & Bar along with Agricultural producers came together to produce an amazing buffet style luncheon. Patrons were greeted with souvenir/tokens and welcome drinks.

GARD Center wishes to sincerely thank its faithful Patrons and Clientele who continue to support our fundraising efforts as we endeavour to fulfill our mandate; “Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees” Isaiah 35:3

Handing over Ceremony of User Friendly Fact Sheets and Brochures on “Your Child & The Law”

Front (l): Makalsia Shepherd (GARD Center), Ms. Jose Laurent (Diretor of Legal Aid), Mrs. Joycelyn Humphreys (Project Manager, GARD Center), Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-Edwards (Chair of Child Justice Board) and Ms. Janice Michael (Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Legal Affairs)

In 2017 The GARD Center was awarded a grant from the European
Union to train 240 At-Risk youth to include non-incarcerated and
incarcerated in vocational skills. Our project was approved under the
title “Improving Opportunities for At-Risk, Probationary and
Incarcerated youth in Antigua and Barbuda.”

Back (l): Ms. Hildred Simpson (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of legal Affairs), Ms. Yvonne Ambrose (Rep. Community Development), Mr. Roland Moore (Crown Counsel, Legal Aid)

Within this Action, the Center was engaged to increase awareness
within communities and initiate community led advocacy on behalf of
youth impacted by crime and incarceration. One such component of
this project was to produce fact sheets and brochures with pertinent
information from the Child Justice laws of 2015 in a user-friendly
language for everyone to understand.
These brochures have been designed to provide a service to parents
and families whose youth are involved in the justice system and to
steer them in the right direction.

Your Child and the Law Part 1 with Key facts you should know if your
child is in conflict with the law. Your Child and the Law Part 2 with
information on Court proceedings, Offences, Detention and Rights of
the Child, and Part 3 contains information on Agencies that Parents
and Children can turn to before, during and after a child commits an
. Copies of these were presented to Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel-
Edwards, Chair of the Child Justice Board and Ms. Jose Laurent, Director
of Legal Aid for distribution to the public.

Our Latest Graduation

The GARD Center’s project entitled, ”Improving Opportunities for At- Risk, Probationary and Incarcerated Youth in Antigua and Barbuda,” sponsored by the European Commission under the theme “Civil Society Organizations: Enhancing CSO’s contribution to government processes in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, celebrated its final graduation ceremony on February 19, 2019 at the Methodist Church Hall, at 4:00 p.m. with a total of 98 graduates. This project facilitated access to positive youth development and employability through training over a period from March 2017 – February 2019.

Graduates were trained in Office Administration, Customer Service, Professional Hospitality Service, Basic Baking and Decorating, Professional Bar and Beverage Service, Information Communication Technology, Solar Panel Assistant Technician and Carpentry. Each Course had a component of remedial Math and English, Life Skills and Information Technology.
Our partnership with key agencies included Ministry of Social Transformation Community Development Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Second Chance, Legal Affairs, and Her Majesty’s Prison. During the two years of the project, seven inmates successfully completed and graduated under the prison programme.

At the end of the two year project, 243 trainees completed training. Six are awaiting internship placements and 130 have gained employment. In addition, graduating from another project sponsored by our Australia Embassy and Mill Reef Fund partners, fifteen (15) Beginner Beekeepers received certificates.

With these youth ready to explore various avenues of work and entrepreneurship, the prospects of this Nation of Antigua and Barbuda are in good hands. We congratulate the graduates and wish them every success in their future endeavors.

View Printable Version of Press Release: Press Release GARD Center EU Project PDF File Feb 2019