Category Archives: Agriculture

Kid Unlimited School Visits GARD Center Hydroponics

Two teachers of Grades 4 and 5 along with over 30 students from the Kids Unlimited School visited the GARD Center and its Hydroponics Unit on Wednesday, 4 March, 2020.

Mr. Ika Fergus, Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture delivered a presentation on Hydroponics, which was very well received by the children.  During this tour they were able to see firsthand how lettuce is grown using this medium.  They were also able to receive a head of lettuce.

Thanks to Kids Unlimited School for being a part of our campaign to spearhead the ‘Hydroponics movement’ under the Sandals Foundation ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture Project Combating Effects of Climate Change’ on the local Agricultural Sector.

Save the Date for Farm-to-Table 2018!!!

The much anticipated GARD Center Farm-to-Table is scheduled for Saturday, 14 April 2018.
The 4th annual fundraiser Luncheon will be worth the wait.
Once again, it will be held under the auspices of the Governor General of Antigua and IMG_1637Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams, at the GARD Center’s Agro-Nature Park, Mercer’s Creek.
On offer this year are more Chefs, Producers and a much wider mouth-watering 4 Course meal.  Each patron will be greeted with a ‘Signature Welcome Drink.’  Seafood Tastings will also be available.  From Soups to Mouth watering Desserts, your palate will be pleased with your selection.

Giving Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) welcomes donations at anytime during the year.
On November 28, 2017, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance missionaries and projects on UMC #GivingTuesday.
However, ‘GIVING TUESDAY‘  is not only about collecting money. It is about awareness of the opportunity and need for organisations which work with individuals, families, and communities to unite in mission in this season.
This year in particular, the GARD Center is obligated to reach out to the youth of our sister territories, Barbuda and Dominica, to assist those who have been displaced after their countries were ravaged by two (2) category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria in September 2017.
The Center is therefore making a special appeal for donations to potential GIVING TUESDAY partners and supporters.
Thank you for your passion and support, as we live out God’s mission together.


The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) held its 2017 Graduation Ceremony on Tuesday, 3 October 2017, at the Ebenezer Methodist Church Hall, St. Mary’s Street.
This Ceremony was to celebrate the European Union sponsored training programme, under the name, “Improving Opportunities for At-Risk, Probationary and Incarcerated Youth in Antigua and Barbuda” (YAR).
The ages of the youth trained range from 16 – 35 years.  Fifty six (56) students graduated from this programme.  Eight from Agricultural Enterprise; fifteen from Information Communication Technology and thirty-three from Office Administration.
Fifty-three (53)% of these young people have been awarded Internships and fifteen (15) have gained Joyce and Sherma at Graduation-3October2017employment.  The GARD Center wishes to sincerely thank all of our Business Partners who assisted us with Internships and Job Placement during Cohort 1, and we look forward to your continued support.
Special thanks to everyone who participated in our Graduation Ceremony and contributed to its success.

Giving Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) welcomes donations at anytime during the year.  Let us all Prepare to give a Special contribution to the Center this November, 2017.
However, ‘GIVING TUESDAY‘  is not only about collecting money. It is about awareness of the opportunity and need for organisations which work with individuals, families, and communities to unite in mission in this season.
Giving Tuesday is a response, started in 2012, to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a time to rally families and communities to assist worthy causes that meet human needs around the world. For United Methodists, it has become a time of designated mission giving through The Advance for Christ and His Church, which assures that every dollar goes to the ministries indicated by the donor.
Over the past three years, the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) have matched designated Giving Tuesday gifts up to set levels.
The motivation for mission giving is mission itself.
We at the GARD Center wish to sincerely thank all of you who have contributed to the work carried out by the Center for the last 27 years.  We feel truly blessed to be able to serve our clientele throughout these years and as we celebrate under the theme:  27 Years: Positively Changing the Face of Youth At Risk, we ask that everyone continues to support the Center and encourage you to invite others to share in our success by reaching these Youth, who for whatever reason, may have fallen through the cracks.
GARD Center, empowering and giving our vulnerable youth a 2nd chance to strive for excellence for the betterment of Antigua and Barbuda.

Congratulations to Our Recent Graduates

The GARD Center recently held a Graduation Ceremony, on Thursday, 8 December 2016, at the Methodist Church Hall, St. Mary’s Street.
77 graduates successfully completed their courses of study and received certificates in Information Communication Technology, Customer Service, Business Management and Yacht Maintenance.  4 from the ICT class, 17 from Business Management, 19 in Customer Service and 37 from Yacht Maintenance.
The ICT, Business Management and Customer Service trainees paid their own way to take these courses and deserve an extra nod of approval for making this step towards advancing their skills and knowledge in these difficult economic times but staying focused and seeing it through to the end.
This year our donor partners are the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN) and the UK aid from the British people which all forms part of a larger project within the CARICOM Education for Employment (C-EFE) throughout the Caribbean.  Antigua and Barbuda form a part of a collation of three other Caribbean countries to achieve training in the Marine sector.  These countries are St. Lucia and Grenada of which St. Lucia is the lead country.  This project is managed by a publicly supported Canadian college called the Cegepe, which facilitated the development of a curriculum for the accreditation of YM program to be offered by the GARD Center.
The GARD Center and the National Training Agency (NTA) have always had a good working relationship and it is through the partnership with the NTA the Center was introduced to our donor partners in this Youth Skills Development Programme.  The NTA knowing the track record of the GARD Center recommended that we be the training facility to manage the programme, considering we had conducted several other training courses in Yacht Maintenance.
The Center also used this opportunity to recognise and honour 27 of our Tutors, who have volunteered and worked with us over the twenty-seven years of our existence.
The following is an email received from one of our esteemed Tutors, please read his comments.

I have admired the tremendous work that, over the years, the GARD Centre has produced and the wonderful successes that it has had in providing assistance to Antigua and Barbuda’s young people and especially for young women at risk.
In my view one of the most significant things about the GARD programmes, has been its holistic approach, in which it has addressed in its training, not only to the technical or business needs of its students, but also to the spiritual and human relations needs as well.  Sometimes, this has been at great cost to the staff in terms of playing a variety of supportive roles, not only as teachers, but as mentors, Big sisters, parents, financial advisers, legal counsel –  the list could go on almost indefinitely.  Most teaching organisations do not take such a comprehensive responsibility for their students’ success and development.
I have also to say that your vision, energy and drive have been so important to the successes of the GARD Centre. I was around enough during earlier times to know that trials and tribulations that you had to go through and the tenacity you displayed in getting the present building from Minister St Luce – you were like a bull dog – visiting Public Works every day to keep them from doing someone else’s bidding! 
It has been a privilege working with you and if and when you do decide to “retire”, I know that you can be proud of what you have accomplished and happy for all those young women and men whose lives have been enriched by their studies at The GARD Centre.  I truly hope that the Methodist Church also appreciates the enormous contribution the Centre has made to the nations youth and the Church’s ministry.
When I started this email/letter of acknowledgement, I did not intend to say all this, but we don’t often get the opportunity to talk these days, I think we both seem to be busier than ever and it seemed very good opportunity for me to express the pleasure and satisfaction that I have experienced in working with you and the Centre, watching it grow from strength to strength!

Food Safety Training Courses – Covering the What, Why, and Who!

Food Safety” is a complex issue that has an impact on all segments of society from the general public to government, industry and academia” (Bad Bug Book: Handbook of Foodborne Pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins).
What is Food Safety?  Food safety involves the safe handling of food from production to consumption.  Since contamination of food is possible at any point in the food chain – at the farm/producer level to the consumer, procedures must be put in place to ensure that the food consumed is safe.
Why is Food Safety Important?  Food borne illnesses affect both the general public and at-risk populations (elderly, children, immuno-compromised persons for example).  Many events of food poisoning may go unreported.  These events may be mild while others may lead to death in vulnerable persons.  In theory, food poisoning is 100% preventable.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
HACCP is a management system in which Food Safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
HACCP provides businesses with a cost effective system for control of Food Safety.  The preventive approach to HACCP not only improves Food Safety management but also complements other quality systems.
Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products can use HACCP to minimise or eliminate food safety hazards in their products.  HACCP is a legal requirement in many countries BUT WHEREVER IN THE WORLD, HACCP WILL BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS.
The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) now has the service of certified HACCP trainers and offers training in basic food safety techniques and in the principles of HACCP.  Help is now available to develop and implement your prerequisite programs and HACCP systems.
Saves your business money in the long run
Avoids you poisoning your customers
Food safety standards increase
Ensures that you are compliant (with the law)
Food quality standards increase
Organises your process to produce safe food
Organises your staff, promoting teamwork and efficiency
Due diligence defence in Court (Food Safety Authority of Ireland)

In Need of Your Prayers

A member of the GARD Center’s ‘extended family’ was involved in an accident on 3 June 2016, and has been hospitalised in an induced coma.
Mr. Stephen Samuel, is one of the Center’s main Yacht Maintenance training course Facilitators.  Please pray for the full recovery and overall health of Mr. Samuel.  Pray also for the strength of his family during this very difficult time.
Thank you for your continued support and best wishes.