…if you follow the Leeward Highway in St Vincent (fancy name for the only main road) you will soon or later reach Wallilabou where normally the people stop and visit a very well-known place because a few years ago that was the locale where a big crew made the movie called The pirate of the Caribbean. Famous place for pirate fans. You can still find some signs of the movies, leftover buildings and some nice spot where you can park with your yacht if you have one or find people who all know very well Johnny Deep personally. It was a big moment at a place where people normally never stop. Busy road, all day long vans pass from one or the other direction not giving too much attention anything else than the ex-movie scene or not even for that.
But there is something else going on, maybe little bit quieter, probably less fancy but more significant in long term. A movement what put this place on the map, on another kind of map. A map where you can see where those people are living who are capable to grown, they on food, to become independent from the imported food industry, generate some income, eat healthier, shortly live better-quality life. Who is doing this? 23 people from the Richmond Vale Academy are working for weeks to build 20 home gardens around that area, the other side of the road. They are following a vision to make the families independent from the phenomenon to eat imported food what is totally out of any of us control. Another driving force to show a new way of gardening based on permaculture technics and philosophy. No chemical treatment, the pure organic way is the way to make the families healthier. The action is carrying many values, students around the world are living and working together with the local community, so there is a huge cultural impact, and the new knowledge gives a nice future perspective to the people, even many of them are farmers but the permaculture technic is new for them. It is a process, not happening from one day to another.
First, the students make plans together with the garden owners, asked them how many hours they can spend in the garden, what kind of vegetables and fruits they want, after all these questions and meetings they can agree to the final plan.
The gardens are pretty, very individuals, you cannot find two similar ones. The owners and the students are working together in optimal cases, there is always room for small changes and extra wishes. The importance of the program to change the consumerist habits, the island imports are 65% which shows how fragile is this system. Every garden, every own production will change this high number slowly, year after year. So the other side of the road a mom hold her 2 years old child and said "I don't want to let the students go away because we love them so much". Probably these personal connections will guarantee the success of the garden, it is not just to receive something, it is based on feelings, memories, hard work, vision, understanding and last but not least results. The gardens are there, probably few of them will fail but this is how it is, the rest will prove the importance of this movement. The plan is to monitor these gardens at the future, make workshops so don't let the people alone at the first time. I think it is very important, how the all movement is very important even it is not coming from the people but like recipient and participants they will benefit from it. We'll all benefit from it!
So maybe one day a bus will arrive full of tourists and the guide will say, look at the other side of the road, you can see a small markets where people are selling they own productions, this village is capable to grown they on food at home, the statistics shows they are healthier and they can spend the extra money from other things or build up savings for the future. It all started with a vision and with few students around the world. Oh yes, I almost forget, this was the place for the Pirate of the Caribbean once upon a time too….