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
offence
. 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

Mrs. June Jackson, new Executive Director of the GARD Center

Taking on the mantle and the challenges of managing a vibrant and unique organization, is Mrs. June Jackson, the new Executive Director and former Job Placement Officer at the GARD Center. Mrs. Jackson comes with a wealth of expertise, receiving an associate degree in Arts and specialty in Small Business Management, Diploma in Social Sciences and Counselling, Adult Literacy certification, Teacher training and Office Administration.. Most importantly she brings the compassion and love for young people. God bless Mrs. Jackson and the work that she will be involved in over the years ahead for the GARD Center and the vulnerable youth that are served.

Mrs. Roberta Williams, our unsung hero, we salute you from the GARD Center Staff

In June 2018 Mrs. Roberta Williams retired from what she referred to as her mission, the GARD Center after 28 years. She described it all as an amazing journey…….. 

(presented at the Retirement Celebration Church Service on June 21, 2018 Mrs. Williams’ 70th birthday)

Framed in your office is a quote that says, “Success is largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” We think it is safe to say, that you, dear, have a commitment that is unmatched. Where others would have long thrown in the towel, you broke through barriers, where others saw obstacles, you saw opportunities, where others were frustrated and ready to give up, you were gracious and ready to try one more time, and one more time after that.

Even though she really is the gift that keeps on giving, we know that it gets hard sometimes, and that things get heavy. But in those trying and testing times, she does what we all should do when we don’t know what to do, “Be still and know that He is God.”

Over the past 3 decades God has used you to strengthen feeble hands and to encourage those with weak knees to keep moving forward. Your compassion and devotion to the youth of our nation has made a positive impact not only in our society, but in the hearts and minds of each trainee that would have passed under your wing. It has also kept you young. As you stand tall and beautiful, a refreshing embodiment of poise and grace, you make us, your GARDC family, want to be better and do better. You have set a standard, and an example, that we can only hope to one day meet. You have left behind more than fond memories, but a legacy that must be continued. You’d have it no other way, or you’d probably try to do it yourself.

Did we mention she’s a stickler for deadlines? More than getting things done right, she strives to get them done on time. Her work ethic is one to be admired. And after the course is complete, after the event has ended, before the dust can settle, the thank you’s MUST be sent out. Our superwoman never fails to give credit where credit is due and she certainly never forgets to say thank you. From the very important person to the behind the scene helpers, her gratitude is always heartily expressed.  

Even though she really is the gift that keeps on giving, we know that it gets hard sometimes, and that things get heavy. But in those trying and testing times, she does what we all should do when we don’t know what to do, “Be still and know that He is God.”

Finally, our love, we’d like you to know that when we count our blessings, we count you twice. We want you to know that we have no intentions of leaving you alone and that there is nowhere that you can go that our love won’t reach you. We want you to know that we will always be praying for you, and to remind you to:

Lift your eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh your help. Your help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Mrs. Roberta Williams, our unsung hero, we salute you. 

 

The Lord is my keeper, the Lord is the shade upon my right hand. Psalm 121:5

GARD Center partners with the Department of the Environment in the Grid-interactive Solar PV Systems for Schools and Clinics

“GARD Center , Guardians of the Environment, Guardians for our Youth” This is the theme of GARD Center’s  Grid-interactive Solar PV Systems for Schools and Clinics project. The overall goal of this project “is to ensure that during a drought or a hurricane, schools in the country will still be fully functional, better known as climate resilient.  Using clean technology will contribute to our national commitment of reducing our CO2 emissions” (Dept. of the Environment). Reducing our electricity usage, while increasing the trainees and trainers awareness of environmental management and renewable energy both at the Center and in the surrounding communities will be a vital outcome.

The Center just launched its project on September 18, 2018 with the Executive Director Ag. Mrs. June Jackson speaking about the project and its benefits, along with Ms. Shema Roberts, Environment Officer, with the Department of the Environment.  Ms. Roberts congratulated the Center on being the first to launch and to have an exciting program lined up for the youth. One of the highlights for the Center’s project is conducting a new course for Solar Panel Installation Assistant Technicians. Eighteen (18) young men and two (2) daring young women who are “thinking outside of the traditional women roles”, have registered for the course which is being conducted by Antigua Computer Technology (ACT), a strategic partner in this project.

Ms. Lucia Mings of  Environmental Tourism Consulting  who will be advising the Center in the development our Environment Management Plan also addressed the gathering of trainees , staff, trainers and other guests. Remarks were presented by Mrs. Karen Massiah , Customer Service Coordinator/Executive Assistant of  ACT stated that the company is pleased to partner with an organization like the GARD Center and to be a part of the Solar project.