Category Archives: Agriculture

Backyard Gardening – Hydroponics, Testimonial, One Year Later, Sept 2021

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Adrian Bowen

My name is Adrian Bowen, a graduate of the University of the West Indies with a BSc. in Agriculture. In July 2020, I attended GARD Centers training course in Backyard Gardening with Hydroponics that was funded by the Mill Reef Fund and held at the Extension Division, Ministry of Agriculture. During the 12 weeks, I learnt various things such as Cost Consciousness, Pest Management, Packaging and labeling and everything pertaining to hydroponics. Specifically, Cost Consciousness and hydroponics stood out mostly because Cost Consciousness provided a broader perspective when it came to purchasing as well as thoroughly assessing expenses when pricing your goods or services.

The hydroponics aspect of the course provided a lot of details and food for thought as it was something I was considering doing at the time. The system that we were able to build and take home has provided an excellent means for me to practice and experiment with what I would have learnt. This aided in me building a slightly bigger system and now I’m considering an even bigger build. It was definitely a course that I’m grateful I participated in. I’m appreciative for all the knowledge the presenters who were able to pass on to us and the collaboration that went on between the Extension Division and GARD Center. Special thanks to the Mill Reef Fund for sponsoring the training.

Andre Franklin

I, Andre Franklin was lucky to receive the opportunity to be a part of the Backyard Gardening & Hydroponics course hosted by the GARD Center. The course was a condensed 12-week program with a variety of topics covered and many different lecturers for each topic.

During the 12 weeks, I had the benefit of building rapport with the different lecturers who helped me further my understanding of how to successfully grow many different florae. One of the many benefits of being a part of the course was, to be equipped with the help from the various lecturers. They would help us identify problems that we had, and help prevent us from running into others by pointing out what is that we were doing wrong and guiding us so we would not run into similar issues in the future. We were also taught many eco friendly (non-chemical) ways of dealing with pest and diseases that many of us suffer from in Antigua and Barbuda.

At the end of the Backyard Gardening & Hydroponics course, we were given our own fully functioning Hydroponic Unit (Deep Water Culture) as well as all the necessary components to keep it running for several harvest (of lettuce).

I highly recommend everyone (even if you have no interest in gardening) to sign up for the Backyard Gardening & Hydroponic course as a way to make us, the people of Antigua and Barbuda better equipped in being more independent by providing more for ourselves, friends and family and less reliant on bought produce.

A very special thank you is in order to the Mill Reef Fund as they funded and made this course possible. Thank you for giving me the opportunity for being a part of this program, it was very enlightening.

Soria Holder

In 2020 I attended the GARD Center’s Backyard Garden training course. I can say I am extremely thankful for the opportunity. This course let me know the importance of farming and how to budget and manage the garden better. So far, I have planted, lettuce, cabbage, carrot, beet, thyme, Chinese cabbage, spinach, parsley. I share my harvest by giving them to my Neighbors. During this course I also learnt the importance of food and food safety. My sincere thanks to Mill Reef Fund for sponsoring the training.

Tiffany Pryce


My name is Tiffany Pryce, a graduate of the Ottos Comprehensive Secondary School. I have a passion for Cooking and Agriculture. Lately, I find myself focusing on my catering business and working full time while being a single mother. However, after COVID hit I was laid off and was just home at that time. I decided to further educate myself and quickly realized that food security and providing for my family’s needs should be at the top of the list. It was then I decided to enroll in the GARD Center Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics course that was Funded by Mill Reef Fund and that became the game changer I needed.

Determined to succeed, armed with the vast amount of knowledge that was acquired from the course I was able to start my backyard gardening. Also, I received guidance and mentoring from course instructors and assistance from my brother and other influential persons I met during the course which helped to make the journey a success. Today, I am now growing at least 50% of my produce used on a daily basis and I hope to expand after the summer. In addition to growing local herbs from my garden I harvest my crops and produce my own brand of tea blends, “Tiffany’s Creations”. I have come to realize that Agriculture is a science, it has its good days and bad days but with practice makes perfect. I believe that Food Security should be one of our major priorities as a nation, paying close attention to the narrative “your health is your wealth.” I would like to say a special thanks to GARD Center and Mill Reef Fund for this opportunity.

Tiffany remains steadfast and wishes to encourage anyone, young or old looking to get into this field to go for it full steam ahead. Currently, Tiffany is pursuing a parcel of agriculture land from the ministry of Agriculture to expand her tea business and food production. 

GARD Center – IICA Press Release: Vetiver Planting Training Session

Open or Download: Press Release Document in PDF format

Screenshot from the online training session showing participants.

Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) through Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) local office on Antigua partnered with the IICA-CBF EbA Project to support the implementation of Vetiver solutions through the development of nurseries in Antigua and Barbuda.

Open or Download: Press Release Document in PDF format

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.

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.