Welcome to Entrepreneurship World Cup Antigua and Barbuda 2022 Virtual Pitch Competition. The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) was selected to be the National Host by COESL and Global Entrepreneurship Network Caribbean.
Antigua and Barbuda will be participating in this Global Competition, which provides an unique opportunity for the island to showcase some of our best innovative entrepreneurs.
The Center is pleased to have received a generous donation from ACB Caribbean for this very worthy venture.
Joyanne Byers, Senior Manager, Finance & Accounting at ACB Caribbean, presented XCD 3,000.00 to Executive Director June M. Jackson and Judy Dease-Richards, Life Skills Tutor / Business Development Assistant of GARD Center at ACB Caribbean’s Headquarters on St. Mary’s and Thames Streets, St. John’s, on Friday, 29 July, 2022.
11 Finalists will each have 3 minutes to show us why they should be the National Winner of Entrepreneurship World Cup Antigua and Barbuda 2022.
Center salutes the Mill Reef Fund on its 75th Anniversary for all of the
incredible work it has committed to and achieved in Antigua and Barbuda.
During these years the Center has been tremendously blessed by the generosity
of the Fund which has allowed it to positively meet the needs of our clientele,
the vulnerable in its community (At-risk Youth and Women) and the mandate
COVID-19 arrived on the shores of Antigua and Barbuda in March 2020, the
country was placed under complete lockdown by the government and health
protocols were enforced. Many people, especially women and youth in the
workforce were severely displaced. The Mill Reef Fund
contributed significantly to the retraining and re-tooling of persons residing
in this twin island state. As the government slowly allowed for the
reopening of the Country internally with its citizens/ residents and its
borders to the wider community, many people, especially in the Hospitality
industry were out of work and experienced hardships in feeding themselves and
GARD Center saw this as an opportunity to offer training and /or retraining to
members of various communities. This mission was fulfilled by grant funds
received from the Mill Reef Fund to conduct Climate Smart Agriculture courses
with focus on Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics; as well as, Sewing Courses
for Beginners. These courses were selected because the unemployed could
quickly learn a skill and earn an income. Different Cohorts of training
had to be undertaken to observe the rapidly changing Health Protocols. 47
Participants graduated from the CSA training courses (26 M, 21 F). One
female has started her own Hydroponics farm and sells her produce. She has also
developed other products from the harvesting of her backyard garden.
(pepper sauce, etc.). Her husband works closely with her and now
constructs hydroponic units for sale.
Participants completed the Beginners Sewing courses with 47 F and 2 M
graduating. A 27-year old male who graduated has continued to develop his
sewing skills and is now enrolled at Antigua and Barbuda Institute of
Continuing Education (ABICE). This gentleman designed and created the
Wedding dress for this year’s annual ABS Valentine Wedding ceremony.
of the graduates continue to flourish with their knowledge honed and are able
to earn an income.
addition, in 2020, the Mill Reef Fund provided Care Packages to 50 graduates of
the Center (single mothers) for 6 months. This benevolent gesture was
extremely well received by all.
Mill Reef Fund continued to serve this nation in 2021 when funding was received
by the GARD Center to conduct Remarkable Hospitality and Customer Service
Training as well as Basic Baking, Decorating and Food Preparation Courses.
A total of 18 people graduated, (14 F and 4 M).
Sincere thanks to the Mill Reef Fund for partnering with our Center in its delivery and upliftment of the Youth of this nation.
Issue Description: In terms of project execution, the month of March was particularly pivotal. It represented both the end of the second year and start of the third and final year of the IICA-CBF EbA project. It also hosted a critical in-country mission of the IICA Soil and Water team to train farmers and technicians on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) and Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) using a soil-centric approach, while simultaneously planning for the much anticipated training for the communities themselves to be able to operate community drone kits to collect data and monitor project sites. .
The IICA-CBF Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Project seeks to assist beneficiary Caribbean countries in their efforts to maintain and increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems and people in the face of the adverse effects of climate change.
“Climate Smart Agriculture
for Youth – Hydroponics: The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development
Center (GARD Center) has been awarded the above-mentioned project, and the
contract was signed on 3 December 2021, in the amount of US$15,000.00. The
Center is truly grateful for this timely donation and the opportunity to
partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The major aim of this project is
to ensure the integration of sustainable livelihoods in the face of climate
change. This Course is geared to train 10 persons between the ages
of 17 – 35 years with CSA techniques in mulching; composting; no-dig beds,
etc. In addition these participants will have the opportunity to go on
Field visits to see how established gardeners operate. The participants
will also get to construct mini-hydroponic units which can be used as either a
Deep Water Culture (DWC) or Kratky unit. A Business component will also
be taught, with the anticipation that the soon-to-be Backyard Farmers would be
in a position to provide quality food for not only their families but also to
Once again, the GARD Center would
like to thank the UNDP for investing in the improvement of
Livelihoods of the Vulnerable Youth in Antigua and Barbuda.”
GARD Center continues to thank the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)
for its support in the training of Women in Climate Smart Agricultural
technologies with a focus on hydroponics and the blanching and freezing of
vegetables in preparation for the dry season and the shortage of food.
project has become increasingly more vital and timely as the year 2021
continued to unfold, with the delay in the supply chain universally.
Things worsened for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the turn of the
year 2022 with the rumours of war, between Russia and Ukraine. It seemed
as though the world’s focus almost forgot about the COVID-19 pandemic which had
thrown most of the world in a tailspin from early 2020, (and continues) with
lockdowns and supply interruptions.
by the first quarter of 2022, government restrictions have slowly been lifted
in Antigua and Barbuda, with the business sector starting to re-open, some
women have still not been able to return to full time employment in the
service industry due to the reduction of occupancy in many hotels and the
cruise ship sector mainly operating at 50%. The CFLI has been
instrumental as the backbone of developing backyard garden plots and a
demonstration hydroponic unit for trainees to get hands-on practice during this
aspect of the training. A few crops have been pre-planted for the
Blanching and Freezing component of the course, etc.
COVID-19 pandemic continues with various strains circulating; and health
protocols put in place continue to change constantly, the actual start of the
training component had to be deferred on several occasions. The training
course has started. Over the 25 women who showed interest in training in 2021,
when the protocols ‘settled’ and training was ready to begin in January
2022, the Center had to delay the start date due to some women
having restarted work during the day and would then have prefered evening
sessions. The recruitment drive continued.
The Canada Fund Local Initiatives (CFLI) approved and made a generous donation to the GARD Center on 27 August 2021, in the amount of EC$62,946.00 to train 20 women between the ages of 17 – 50 years in Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) technologies. This will train them to use their backyards and small spaces to grow food both in soil and hydroponically, to feed their families and to sell to markets, as agricultural entrepreneurs.
This grant funding will cover topics to include Composting; Integrated Pest Management; Water Conservation; Mulching, etc. Each participant will build a mini hydroponic unit for their homes. They will also be trained to process vegetables for freezing, that is standard, quality control, etc. Sessions will also include life-skills, enterprise development and management. Some vegetables will be harvested from the GARD Center Demonstration unit, as well as from the participants’ home plots. A quantity of fresh produce will be used for blanching and freezing to develop an added value product.
The long term expected results of this Initiative will produce 20 women with backyard gardens and hydroponic units which will generate income for their families through the production of frozen vegetables.
Once again, the GARD Center wishes to sincerely thank the CFLI for this grant to empower the women of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) donates surgical gowns and masks to Public Health Nurse Supervisor, in the East Area of Antigua, and Hana Thomas Hospital in Barbuda. Mr. John Mussington, GARD Center’s Board Member who resides in Barbuda made the presentation. To date, the Center has donated 40 masks and 16 gowns. These gifts were made possible due to the generous donation of a Mill Reef Fund sponsored project in 2020, to train Beginners to sew. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center was able to offer a skill by training and/or retraining some persons who were laid off.
In addition, another partner donated a large amount of Sterilization Wrap material to the Center for the construction of Facial Masks and Surgical Gowns.
Many thanks to all of our generous donors who have made it possible for the Center to give back to the Frontline Workers in the Community.
Recently our Executive Director Mrs. June Jackson received a paid scholarship for non-profit organizations. The scholarship gave recipients free access to a webinar that focused on fundraising activities such as grants, special events, in-kind donations and online fundraising . Mrs. Jackson attended the webinar and is very grateful for the opportunity that was given to her. Below is an image of the scholarship announcement and a screenshot from the webinar.
They are those that even in tough times they are there. The Mill Reef Fund has shown their commitment in a time when the entire world is being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. During this time their support of initiatives at the GARD Center has continued and has helped many families in Antigua & Barbuda in their time of need. For this the GARD Center wishes to express its appreciation to the Mill Reef Fund for their continual care and support.