The first Home Garden Seminar – Each One Teach One

20190823_133905 The teachers and students learned to grow food without chemicals in an ecological way

The St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference program was started in 2012 and is a 10 years standing action conference to make the citadel, here a small island, around DRH Richmond Vale Academy ready for climate change.

Students from 74 countries joined with thousands of islanders and removed tons of trash from rivers, streets, communities and beaches and planted thousands of trees across the island as well. The teachers and students learned to grow food without chemicals in an ecological way and soon time had come to share this way of sustainable and climate smart farming across the islands.

During the summer of 2017 the very first home gardens were made with support from the SVG Preservation Fund / Environment Fund. In the beginning it took time to get families onboard having an ecological home garden, many people really had doubt whether it was possible to grow food without imported fossil fuel based chemicals. But it worked and since then through the successes, the cucumbers, the lettuce and broccoli bunches many families wanted to grow food in their own backyard garden.

Funds were found to start more model gardens and as the gardens were flourishing in the communities the idea came up to have the "old" gardeners meet the "new" to share experiences and the first home garden seminar was set up for August 2019.

The Climate Compliance program has helped set up 50 gardens nearby the school and the next 10 gardens would be on the other side of the island where people have different farming habits and also the climate was more windy with sandy soil. Because we did not know the village of Fancy well and wanted to bring the "old" families onboard the idea of the first "Home Garden Seminar" was born.

The partner who granted money for the 10 Fancy gardens agreed to pay for transport, food, accommodation and course materials. The March climate team with teachers and students from Germany, USA, Bulgaria, Anguilla, Argentina, France and St. Vincent had already been to the village, held workshops and selected the 10 participating families. 

More than 100 people in the small village out of 150 families came to the workshops, and as it was not possible that every one could get a garden at this time, the villages came together under the motto "Each one Teach One" and committed to help everyone who wanted to start a garden.

The program for the Seminar was decided and one of the students headed up to the village to make sure the families got on the bus from Fancy to Richmond Vale Academy. They left early and arrived at lunch. After a lively lunch with food from the garden the "old" home garden families invited the new ones to see their gardens and learn from their challenges and victories and everyone had a tour at the Richmond Vale Academy' climate center.

The evening was spent playing games, sharing experiences and getting to know each other.

The following day lessons had been prepared about the importance of soil organic matter in the times of climate change, all participants had hands on training in compost making, seedling production, lasagna bed production and biochar. The different groups had chosen their topic and shared the knowledge with each other afterwards.
Certificates were handed out and the new garden families headed home with loads of experiences and the feel of being part of a strong network of home gardeners making their island food and water secure.

This new tradition, which is also the "Proud Legacy" part of the Climate Compliance program, has now become a new tradition – all future home gardeners will come to Richmond Vale Academy for an SVG Home Garden Seminar!
Vincentians urged to sign up for courses at RVA
Investigation on Reducing our Waste