When I was living in the UK, I had the pleasure of working my allotment for three years which included open land, raised beds and a small greenhouse. I won’t say it wasn’t without its trials and tribulations, but the experience was unforgettable. To be working the land, watching as Mother Nature did her thing producing food, with a little care and attention from me was so fulfilling. I ate and shared organically produced vegetables and fruit, and still had plenty to spare.
In the UK we are going full circle and there is a shift towards how we lived years ago when we practised the mantra of ‘Grow What we Eat and Eat What we Grow’. It’s now high fashion to recycle, pursue crafts, Make Do and Mend, keep chickens for eggs and tend vegetable patches, or allotments. These are all in high demand even in London, where the produce is something to share and warmly boast over with friends. Ironically, I feel that this way of living is the way forward, although it is in fact the way back. Once declining methods, that have been practised for generations and only kept alive in small ‘cottage’ industries, are having their embers stoked to become flourishing with activity again. I believe that it would be beneficial to Jamaican’s, if this way of living was more understood and accepted in Jamaica too.
Grow What You Eat Jamaica
Spending time in Jamaica over the last 7 years I have noticed that very few people have their own vegetable patch, although a fruit tree or two is often present in the yard. This has always occurred to me as something that is strange, as there is so much space, fertile land and more importantly hungry bellies to fill. Even the smallest amount of space can produce a valuable source of organically grown food right on your doorstep, and if done in the right way, there is minimal financial outlay involved. The crops can be planted in containers or raised beds, so that they can harvested as needed and this food source will supplement the diet and the cooking pot.
I appreciate that there is a wealth of information in the UK that directly relates to the merits of recycling, being sustainable, using alternative farming practises and the health benefits associated with ‘going organic’, but that isn’t necessarily widely available in Jamaica. Which is probably why many of these industries are in a developmental stage at the moment and some people burn or throw away plastic and other trash and heavily use chemicals in the production of their crops. In a country where rubbish collection isn’t available island-wide and the marketing of fertilisers and chemicals for the production of food crops is a financial empire, it will take a lot of public awareness campaigns to change this long-held way of thinking in Jamaican lifestyles and farming.
With all these factors in mind I have long been telling friends in the country who farmed about the benefits of farming in a sustainable and organic way, without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Instead using water harvesting techniques, composting and crop rotation as a way to produce bumper crops, inhibit bugs and disease and even create energy. I feel it is the only feasible way forward in the future with the state of the Environment and we all should be pushing the idea to others if we have knowledge to share.
Often when I am researching I find that one discovery leads to another and I have found that there are many other concepts and techniques within these genres that are interesting and I feel they could play a part in the recovery of Jamaica. Sustainability, Recycling, Climate Change, Organic Farming and Environmental awareness is the theme and I will be going on a journey of discovery and invite you to come with me…
Jamaica’s Green Industries
First stop Jamaica! I am really pleased to find a burgeoning ‘Green’ industry growing in Jamaica covering many genres. With this in mind in future posts I will be introducing some of the companies and people involved in these industries, alongside some of the creative ideas and concepts I have come across that could be used in Jamaica. Everything is with the aim of keeping Jamaica beautiful, whilst using its natural resources wisely, recycling, living and building sustainably and producing organic non-genetically modified (GM) food.
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Walk Good, Jules