Hydroponic Programme to Strengthen Community Food Production and Livelihood
GARD Center (Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center) is a grassroot
non-profit, non-government organization which operates under the auspices of
the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA). The Center
is very pleased to announce its continuous partnership with the Sandals
Foundation through its funding of the “Climate Smart Agriculture For Youth-
the past thirty-two (32) years, the Center has been working arduously with
at-risk youth, men and women in the community to engage them in various forms
of sustainable agriculture for the 21st century.
a primary focus of raising climate smart agriculture practices amongst young
people towards long term food security, the Climate Smart Agriculture for Youth
– Hydroponic programme seeks to:
Create awareness of the present and future
threats related to climate change and agriculture.
Make youth 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, during this
Train a total of 20 youth in hydroponics
Build the capacity of participants to
construct a hydroponic unit and provide a starter kit to include seeds,
rockwool and a water pump.
programme support forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s 40 sustainable
community projects being executed across the Caribbean to commemorate its
parent company’s 40th anniversary. Through its broad scale
investment in a number of farming and agriculture educational programmes, the
philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts seeks to strengthen the Caribbean’s food
security and livelihood opportunities.
About the Sandals Foundation
The Sandals Foundation is the philanthropic arm of
Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the Caribbean’s leading family-owned
resort company. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was created to
continue and expand upon the charitable work that Sandals Resorts International
has undertaken since its founding in 1981 to play a meaningful role in the
lives of the communities where SRI operates throughout the Caribbean. The
Sandals Foundation funds projects in three core areas: education, community and
the environment. One hundred percent of the monies contributed by the
general public to the Sandals Foundation go directly to programs
benefiting the Caribbean community. To learn more
about the Sandals Foundation, visit online at www.sandalsfoundation.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
partnership is in collaboration with the Agricultural Extension Division of the
Ministry of Agriculture, Inter-American Institute
for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The GARD Center will
expand its Climate Smart Agriculture programme that focuses on Hydroponics
“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 tells the journey of the Beginners Sewing course that came into existence during COVID-19 season. The Center is very excited to have seventeen (17) of twenty (20) participants completing the training experience.
Once again, we genuinely express our gratitude to the Mill Reef Fund for its invaluable donation for the success of this course. This afforded the participants an opportunity to be able to venture into a sewing for sustainable provision for their families.
Our sincerest thanks to our other partners NSA for its contribution of materials for sewing masks and surgical gowns that is of great necessity in this Corona Virus season where there is mandatory mask wearing. Additionally, Amiya Designs and Andra’s Designs for imparting the sewing skills necessary to produce the items that were on display on Friday, September 18th, 2020 (pictures attached). We were truly blessed by an anonymous donor of six (6) sewing machines which was greatly a need and appreciated. This made an indelible mark on the course.
To our supporters including the National Garment Manufacturing Initiative and the Ministry of Trade for their continued assistance in our new venture.
GARD Center through its partnership and generous donation of the Mill Reef Fund continues distribution of its Single Mother’s Care Package initiative. On August 6th, 2020 fifty (50) mothers received their monthly packages as volunteers of the Center worked the day before to ensure the packages are ready for collection. These packages included the basic food items and necessities to provide for themselves and their children after becoming unemployed by the COVID -19 pandemic.
The expression of sentiments and the appreciative look on the faces of these mothers was heartwarming. Through the words of one of the mothers who wishes Mill Reef Fund to know how grateful they are said, “You made a huge impact on my life and that of my family in this very difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Once again GARD Center Staff and Board of Directors express thanks to the Mill Reef Fund for their continued support, donation, and empowerment as we assist our Youth, men and Women in Antigua and Barbuda.
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.
Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) receives grant
funding from its partner the Government of Japan, through its Embassy in
Trinidad and Tobago, at a Signing Ceremony on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at the
Gilbert Agro-Heritage Nature Center, Mercers Creek.
are pleased to announce that the amount of this funding is USD$89,629 through
Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) under the
2019 financial year.
Once again “Thank You” to the Embassy of Japan, for its mandate to help in building the hospitality industry through training for the vulnerable youth in Antigua and Barbuda.