Sunday, April 21, 2024

Seniors doing their part


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I remember that I was encouraged to make a career of agriculture because “we all have to eat”. However, not all of us seem to put much importance on food. I’ll give you an example. I  recently read with interest a column in the DAILY NATION newspaper entitled “So Ungrateful” by Corey Worrell.
I found the article interesting and enjoyable, but was puzzled to note that in his response to God’s observation that “What you already have is much more than you currently need. Just look around you”,  the author did not seem to include food and water as priorities in the list of his needs.
I admire him for first identifying his family, but am surprised that TV, stove, fridge, washing machine , laptop, Wi-Fi and cellphone seemed to be much more important than food.
Actually his passing mention of food (and not what would be considered very healthy food) did not come until about halfway in the article when he noted that “I know what it is like being in the mission field in Australia and having little while others would go to McDonalds every weekend and would swipe their debit card when they needed something, so I rejoice in being able to stop at a shop and buy a ‘bread and two’ or even a hot dog from a gas station.”  Apart from food, as far as I recall he did not express his thanks for having access to a regular clean water supply.
We all know how essential food and water are to life. The human body actually contains up to 60 per cent water and cannot survive for long periods without food and water. To be healthy we need a balanced diet and a good supply of clean water.
We in Barbados therefore, should not  take these commodities for granted. We should make sure to protect our water supply and should not be relying so heavily on others to produce our food. While we know that we cannot produce  all the food we need, we can certainly produce a large proportion of it if we put our heads to it.
We continually read of the looming food crisis. In the September 3, 2012 issue of the BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, it was noted that as a result of drought in the United States, corn, wheat and soybean prices have increased between 15 and 30 per cent on last year and that these higher costs would flow through the food supply chain and could lead to a six to seven per cent increase in average food prices early next year.
Of course the use of grains to produce ethanol rather than food has also compounded the situation. This should bring home to us the urgency of putting a plan in place to feed ourselves.
On the topic of food and the importance of food security in Barbados, I recently visited the Soroptimist Senior Citizens Village and Activity Centre on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Soroptimists International of Barbados.
I was heartened to see that these senior citizens each have a small garden in front of their cottages. Some had small beds while most used containers of various kinds. One cottage even had one of these “upside down” growing containers with a very healthy tomato plant growing in it. Containers with tomatoes and various types of herbs were planted in pots along the front steps of the cottages. Every available space was used to plant some food.
The Activity Centre provides meals for the participants in the various activities which include dancercise and craft. I was pleased to see that the centre also had its own small garden with sweet peppers, beans and herbs planted. These would be useful in the production of the meals for the centre and would offset the ever rising costs of the upkeep of the centre.
We should all be following the example of these seniors and trying to become more self-sufficient in food.
• The Agro-doc has over 40 years’ experience in agriculture in Barbados, operating at different levels of the sector. Send any questions or comments to: The Agrodoc, C/o Nation Publishing Co. Ltd., Fontabelle, St Michael.


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