The main authors of this book are the garden farmers, these authors all dared to believe they could become garden farmers. They became garden farmers and then authors published in this new book we all made together.
We see nothing small about small farmers: We see big solutions to big problems.
Here some excerpts from the book and how we are changing the world – one garden at a time:
Much of the food available in St. Vincent is imported and full of sugars and chemicals, evident by the synthetic additives now commonplace in our food. This is neither environmentally nor financially sustainable, nor is it climate smart as much of this food is not healthy. The country was once more self-sufficient. This home garden project is part of a broader vision to help with improving the country’s food security.
Twenty-six home gardeners shared their stories in this book; here we bring part of their stories:
Viola: When the RVA students, Ingrida and Ceren, visited me for the first time, I showed them all my containers filled with herbs to make seasoning; for example, aloe vera that I use as body lotion to keep a beautiful and soft skin. I even had a couple of tires in which I grew chives and ginger. About a year later, as you walk through the little alley, you will be surprised by the amount of greens in the tiny space between the shop and the house. The space is tiny but used to its maximum.
he beds leave just enough space to walk through and take care of the plants; not a square inch is wasted. Vertical structures are climbing on the walls covered in beans and cucumbers. Under them the lettuce, kale and other bok choy make a great cover for the ground.
Bajan: Worms are our gardening friends. And have you heard of fungi? It means mushrooms.
They are so important too! They live underground and form networks with the roots of the plants. The plants cannot take the nitrogen out of the air, but the fungi can. On the other hand, the fungi cannot make sugar out of the nutrients in the ground, but thanks to photosynthesis, the plants can. By establishing connections, they exchange nutrients, and all thrive.
It takes time to establish a good network, but once it is there, life in the garden is just flourishing.
I give thanks every day for this blessing. Not only do I get plenty of food for myself and many of
my neighbors, but also I can provide for the local wildlife. I stopped worrying too much about pest control, because if the system is well balanced, the birds will eat the stink bugs, the ladybugs will take care of the aphids, and there will be no need for spraying any harmful chemicals. And well, I can spare some of my harvest; I don’t need to be too greedy. I think that’s what we would call fair share.
Susan: Since I have a vegetable garden, instead of spending time in front of the TV, I go out and take care of the plants, do some weeding or mulching. Sometimes I walk to the neighbor’s to collect some donkey manure. It is so powerful. It makes all my plants grow better! Even the flowers are more colorful now that I stopped using chemical fertilizer. I like to see the garden shining. When people visit me, they always ask: “what have you got behind there? I want to see.” And some friends just come and help me weed or plant. They love how it looks, so they want to help me keep it flourishing. It makes me very proud. So now, both my front yard and my backyard are thriving, lush, full of life and colors. I am so glad I changed my mind about gardening, I really love it now.
Jasmin: When the RVA students, Ingrida, Ceren and Paulus and their teacher Dani, first came, I was in the house. It was just Jasmin and them out there building the garden. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I was stubborn. I thought that the way I was farming with chemicals was the right way, and I didn’t want anyone telling me that something different was possible, because, you know, accepting that you can do something in a better way means that you have to change, and change is not easy. It’s a state of mind. These guys came a few times to take measurements, and to look at the land, but I stayed inside. I didn’t think that they knew what they were doing. But one day, they started measuring and pulling strings all around the yard.
This really intrigued me, I couldn’t stay inside and wait anymore, and decided to come out and see what they were doing. They showed me and started to explain and I started to help them, because, well, it’s my backyard too, and I wanted to see what was going on there. Then we planted a lot of things and the garden started to flourish. It was really fascinating to see!
We planted this Christophene, and I can tell you, it has saved our family so much money, I can’t believe how much this one plant can produce!
Urel: Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for as long as historians can remember. Indigenous cultures have been using herbs in their healing rituals for millennia. Treatment with medicinal plants is very safe as there is no or minimal side effects. These remedies are in sync with nature and independent of any age or sex groups. So why don’t we trust and believe in nature anymore?
I am carrying out lots of experiments in my garden. Any herb or plant that has a pleasant smell, can usually be used to make tea or to season your food. Look at all my tea bush: thyme, tarragon, mint, chadom beni, ginger. They make delicious teas.”
I usually don’t buy herbs because I have so much, but if I find a new kind somewhere that I don’t know, I will always keep a branch and plant it. This one is called big mint, you use it for stomach problems and gas, you just boil water and make a sort of tea with the leaves and drink it. It really helps relieve the pain and discomfort. You can make rosemary tea to cleanse your body of toxins, and you can also use it to wash your hair.
From Ridge to Reef — The Circle of Our Island Life
Everyone in the world depends completely on the Earth’s ecosystems and the services they provide such as food, water, disease management, climate regulation, spiritual fulfillment, and aesthetic beauty. Over the past 60 years, humans have changed these ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber, and fuel.
For some people, this transformation of the planet has contributed to substantial net gains in human well-being and economic development. However, not all regions and groups of people have benefited from this process. On the contrary, many have been harmed. Moreover, the full costs associated with these gains are only now becoming apparent.
By growing food that is healthy for the soil, we actually protect the reefs, which in turn protect us from storm surges. If we eat a healthier diet, we have more energy and stronger bodies. If each family is healthier, we have more productivity in our communities. This energy can be used to work together to plant mangroves across the islands and in this way build our island’s natural defense against sea level rise, while at the same time building the ecosystem we depend upon.
Have no doubt: Generation C, a generation that has the Courage to Change is on the move, marching and paving the way into a future for all.
Read the whole book here: