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.
GEW Antigua and Barbuda 2021 (8th – 14th Nov, 2021)
Lead up to Entrepreneurship Week Antigua and Barbuda
Leading up to the entrepreneurship week the GARD Center took time to recognize the accomplishments of four entrepreneurs operating right here in Antigua and Barbuda. These four individuals have already using their skills and ideas to make a variety of products from interior decorations to delicious smoothies.
The Global entrepreneurship week started on Monday November 8th and went to the November 14th.
Day 1 Promotions
Promotion launch for the events were ongoing to make entrepreneurs aware of the weeks activities.
Day 2 Startup Huddle
This was organized by Elijah James who along with guest host Ashante Lindsay owner of Guilty Consumptions discussed some of the opportunities available to persons looking to start a business. Opportunities explored in the discussion included networking, business support organizations, accelerators and having mentors. A very informative session that wet the appetite for the rest of the week.
Day 3 Let’s Talk Business Event – Clare Hall Secondary School
Entrepreneur of Mrs. Brazier co-owner of Shaade Hydroponics had a talk with the Principle of Business students from the Clare Hall Secondary School. The students got an insight into what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Mrs. Brazier let the students know that being an entrepreneur means having to make some sacrifices but the experience can be very rewarding in the long run.
Day 4 Let’s Talk Business Event- The GARD Center
Ms. Sasha Jarvis a representative from the ACB Caribbean(Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd.) spoke to the GARD Center students of the “Remarkable Hospitality Course”. This educational session covered the topics of budgeting, investing, credit management and other useful related topics. The students were appreciative of the session and look forward to using the knowledge they would have gained from the session.
Day 5 Fun Walk
The GARD Center organization celebrated 32 Years and celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021 (Antigua & Barbuda) with a Fun Walk. An early energetic morning walk in celebration.
Day 6 Entrepreneur Breakfast and Exhibition
On the Saturday some of the local entrepreneurs were invited to an breakfast webinar that took place at the GARD Center. The entrepreneurs listened and interacted via Zoom to tips and information from entrepreneurial experts Dr. Marcia Brandon of COESL in Barbados and Pastor Victoria Burse of ARC International Atlanta.
During the breakfast the entrepreneurs were awarded certificates for their achievements. The four young entrepreneurs which were during the week leading up to the event were given gifts along with their certificates.
After the breakfast the entrepreneurs were able to showcase their various products and services in the exhibition part of the event.
Day 7 Church Service – Ebenezer Methodist Church
A closing of the Global Entrepreneurship Week 8th-14th November 2021 was held at the Ebenezer Methodist Church, St. Marys’ Street. Executive Director Mrs. June Jackson spoke during the service.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.