EbA Project: Training Drone Pilots for Monitoring Ecosystems

View Full Article – IICA -Training Drone Pilots Sept 2022

One of our many partners IICA Antigua and Barbuda, has started a training program of 9 drone pilots here in Antigua and Barbuda. These pilots are to help with the collection of information regarding the EbA project here in Antigua and Barbuda.

Additional Photos:

Drone Training Facebook Post – Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs

GARD Center CSA Course Highlights – EAG Sponsor

Our Sponsor for this Project

The Center has successfully completed 14 weeks of training in Community Climate Smart Agriculture with special focus on Business, Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics. This training sponsored by the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) focused on the communities of the North, East Marine Management Area (NEMMA). The course commenced on 31st May 2022 with sessions held every Tuesday – Thursday from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. at GARD Center. 

The latter part of the training encouraged participants to engage in practical, hands-on training and field visits were made to Hydroponics Farms and Backyard Gardens. The practical components also saw persons constructing raised beds, a compost bin, and a Mini Hydroponics unit as part of a Start-Up Kit. Additionally, participants engaged in planting seeds as well as transplanting seedlings into raised beds as part of their practical sessions. 


The Completion Ceremony for the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) was held on Wednesday 31st August 2022 at GARD Center and 8 out of 11 trainees receive certificates, a Mini Hydroponics and Backyard Garden Start-Up Kit with other complimentary tools to assist with their Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics journey.    

Practical Sessions and Field Visits for Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics Class Sessions

Bowen’s Hydroponics Field Visit

SHAADE Hydroponics Field Visit

Backyard Gardening Field Visit to Mr. Osborne’s Property

Crabbs Plant Nursery Field Visit

Cleaning GARDC Hydroponics System

Exploring Types of Hydroponic Systems

Finding Donkey Manure for Raised Garden Beds

Building Raised Beds

Constructing Compost Bin Using Pallets

Planting Cuttings of Flower Plants Using Powder in Perlite

Volunteering and Planting Seedlings

CSA Course Highlights – Sandals Foundation Sponsor


Our Sponsor for this Project

The Sandals Foundation sponsored 20 persons in Climate Smart Agriculture for Youth with Hydroponics and saw 14 successful participants who received training. The course started on 30th May 2022 and sessions were held every Monday – Wednesday from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. at GARD Center. 

The latter part of the training encouraged participants to engage in practical, hands-on training. In addition, field visits were made to Hydroponics Farms and Backyard Gardens. The practical components of the course encouraged persons to construct raised beds and a Mini Hydroponics Unit as part of a Start-Up Kit. Another part of the practical sessions encouraged participants to engaged in planting seeds as well as transplanting seedlings into raised beds. 


The course ended with a Completion Ceremony on Wednesday 31st August 2022 at GARD Center and the participants received a Mini Hydroponics and Backyard Garden Start-Up Kit with other complimentary tools to assist with their Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics journey. 

Completion Ceremony

Group photo with sponsor (Sandals Foundation), Ministry of Agriculture Representative, Trainees and GARD Center Staff



Hydroponics top student award, Fellisa Simon

Building Raised Garden Beds

Introduction to the Hydroponics System

Backyard Gardening Field Visit to Mr. Osborne

  

ACB Caribbean Donates to Entrepreneurship World Cup Antigua and Barbuda 2022

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.

Update of Training Sessions at the GARD Center

Evening training is currently ongoing at the GARD Center in Beginners Beekeeping sponsored by the Mill Reef Fund and Climate Smart Agriculture with Business Enterprise, Hydroponics and Backyard Gardening funded by the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) and the Sandals Foundation. These training sessions are held at the GARD Center in Mercers Creek from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

During these 14 weeks of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) training, participants have been involved in Business Enterprise sessions to include Costing and Pricing, Communication & Marketing, Intellectual Property, Business Plan, Parasitology, Budding and Grafting and Vermiculture. These training courses and are now in their sixth week of training and the participants have been engaged in climate smart discussions and vibrant class sessions. As these courses progress, each participant is eagerly looking forward to more practical hands-on training and field work. In the weeks ahead, participants would also engage in Packaging and Labelling, Backyard Gardening and Hydroponics practicals along with field visits. 

Group A – Sponsored by the Sandals Foundation.

Group B- Sponsored by the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG)

Marketing and Communication

Parasitology

Over 30 persons have shown interest in 12 weeks of training in Beginners Beekeeping of whom 25 participants are currently receiving the tools and hands-on training to prepare them to begin their apiaries. Each participant will receive the added component of Business Enterprise to include Packaging and Labelling to develop their brand and business idea. During the training participants have shown great enthusiasm in class sessions and a WhatsApp group was created to share information and ask questions to expand on their knowledge in Beekeeping. Each participant constructed their own bee frames and were outfitted with bee suits to carry out a field visit at the Urlings Primary School to remove a beehive. The bees were safely relocated to bee boxes and the honey extracted from the beehive was refined. The beeswax was used to make lip balm and other products and each participant received a sample.   

12 Weeks of Training in Beginners Beekeeping sponsored by the Mill Reef Fund

Orientation Day

Making Lip Balm with Bee’s Wax

Extracting Honey

Assembling Bee Frames

Using A Bee Smoker

Students watching as how to use the bee smoker is demonstrated.

Field Visit to Urlings Secondary School to Remove Bee Hive

Participants assisted with the removal of a bee hive from the school.

GARD Center Hydroponic Programme for Strengthened Food Production – sponsored by Sandals Foundation

News Release

Youth Hydroponic Programme to Strengthen Community Food Production and Livelihood Opportunities

The 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- Hydroponic” Project.

For 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.

With 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 COVID-19 period.
  • Train a total of 20 youth in hydroponics systems.
  • Build the capacity of participants to construct a hydroponic unit and provide a starter kit to include seeds, rockwool and a water pump.

The 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.

This 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 systems.

GARD Center Congratulates Mill Reef Fund on 75 Years of Service to Antigua and Barbuda

GARD 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 to train.

When 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 their families.  

The 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. 

49 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.

Ralstan Hughes, Designer & Creator of the 2022 Valentine’s Wedding Gown working in GARD Center’s Sewing Class

Many of the graduates continue to flourish with their knowledge honed and are able to earn an income.

In 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.

Single Mothers Care Packages Distribution

The 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.

For More information on the Mill Reef Fund visit:
Mill Reef Fund | Improving the lives of the people of Antigua and Barbuda since 1948

IICA-CBF EbA Project Newsletter 5

Source of Newsletter & collaborates with the GARD Center

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.   .

Link to the Newsletter: IICA CBF EbA Newsletter Issue #5 -March 2022

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.