We would like to acknowledge some of the hard-working women who have contributed significantly to the development of the GARD Center over the past years and currently using a poem.
Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
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.