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D7 garden initiative shows BVI’s vision for food security

A ceremonial photo to mark the launch of the Dr Natalio Wheatley’s D7 Garden initiative. (Photo provided)

Agriculture Minister and Seventh District Representative, Dr Natalio Wheatley has said the new garden initiative in his constituency underscores the government’s vision for food-security in the territory.

“We have a vision for food security in the Virgin Islands because recognise that fishing and farming is what helped us survive … We had to help ourselves by going to grounds, by fishing, by having our animals. This is what sustained our ancestors, our previous generations,” Dr Wheatley said of the launch of his programme.

According to Dr Wheatley, the programme — which solidifies a renewed focus on entrepreneurship and community in the constituency and wider Virgin Islands — is also meant to foster skills development.

“We [are teaching the apprentices] from seed to table — the whole process of growing food. With this training ground, we would be able to identify those persons who have discovered a love for planting,” he noted.

Land lots to be assigned to apprentice farmers

 Minister Wheatley also shared that some apprentices who are interested in establishing a farming career will be assigned land lots in Paraquita Bay to further their entrepreneurial endeavours.

The Agriculture Minister said while the garden programme is specifically targeting residents of his district, he has already given the mandate to his ministry to engage the community to expand the initiative to other districts throughout the BVI.

Meanwhile, Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Theodore James said the garden programme’s launch marks the start of healthy eating and community service.

James also called the programme a “second opportunity” for the territory’s elders to pass on farming skills, “which will benefit our children, and our children’s children”.

Programme Coordinator Roxane Toussaint — who stood as a representative for the family of the late Vanceto George — said the family is pleased to partner with the government by offering the use of the property. She described it as an in-kind donation to train the programme’s apprentices.

Community service opportunities

Toussaint said the site, which was once a pigeon pea patch that fed the entire Long Look community, will also host weekend agricultural community demonstrations such as grafting and air layering. Community service opportunities will also be extended to students. The programme also involves the curation of a seed bank.

“We intend to work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of this programme and its sustainability. We encourage all the persons in the district, and the wider community once the programme is extended, to take this opportunity to grow, develop and retool with the necessary skills to position yourselves for the other future opportunities in the agriculture industry,” Toussaint stated.

Garden Programme facilitator Arona Fahie-Forbes said she is “seeking the cooperation of everyone for a fruitful and successful initiative”.


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  1. What a Photo says:

    Mr Minister a gold plated shovel is not going to produce a single yam or sweet potato.
    Can I recommend eight hard hours with a hoe-pick if you are serious about being self sufficient in food crops

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  2. heckler says:

    Is he trying to break Myron’s record for photo ops?

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  3. Interesting says:

    Lol, with all the names I saw on the farmers stimulus list. Bvi should be already able to sustain itself and neighboring islands with locally grown food.

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  4. Lmao says:

    So you take a picture with locals and then the locals hand the shovels to expats to do the work for them. That is the way of the BVIslander. Stop the nonsense.

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    • Jokers says:

      What’s wrong with that if the expatriate takes the shovel and the money for the tasks. Good managers get work done, they do not necessarily do it themselves.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    A sharade, that’s all it is. When you know what came out people mouth, they are judged by it. Therefore, nothing they appear to do seems genuine.

    Not lost on us, a country and people who cannot feed it and themselves cannot and will not be able to sit at the dinner table.

    Hence, legislative efforts should already be in place to increase food production 1000% by a given time frame.a

    As, he who depends on someone to feed him will strave when that someone cannot no longer or refuses to feed him.

  6. BIG YOUTH says:

    is going to save the bvi , with the new technology called the invisible farms ~ praise the lord

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