Cilantro, sweet peppers, tomoato, ccumber, chaya - we usually buy these at the market or from the fruit vendors that cruise that city. But imagine growing them in your own back yard! That's what an initiative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Restore Belize hopes to achive.
It's called the urban agricultural project and will provide residents of the southside with seeds and tehcnical assistance to grow short term vegetables, condiments and herbs on their own property. It's all about food security, income generation and poverty reduction but also that other intangible, the natural magic of getting something growing.
Flint Wagner - who's providing the technical assistance told us more at this morning's launching at the Wilt Cummerbacth Field in the Yabra Area:..
"This project here is just trying to implement here is allowing the families here to grow some little back yard vegetables so that they can actually supplement their diet and also they can actually with the extra amount of food and vegetable that they produce they could actually use it for sale and actually generate a little bit of income to actually supplement monetary needs also."
"Tell us a little bit about the project? how you guys intent to actually get into this area and make it happen?"
"We have already visited majority of the beneficiaries already, we have seen the area. what we have found out is that the most difficult thing for us would be the flood prone areas and so we have decided to at least raise these plants off the ground at least 2 feet off the ground, place them in bags and plant them and after we would apply different fertilizers, different agronomic techniques that we would apply and also to allow these plants to produce. It would be almost as replicating in the field as how it is done in the field but the only thing that we are cognizant of is that we don't want to use any type of detrimental insecticides and pesticides and fertilizers so what we want to do is try to use more natural stuff, more organic stuff and also train them how to use pesticide cocktails from organic materials so that they can apply to their plants."
"Now Mr. Wagner I am sure that you know this something new - farming on the Southside, that's something very new. How has the residents been, have they welcome the idea?"
"They have and they have open their doors, as we go around and meet different beneficiaries families that are riding on their bicycles, they become so interested into it that they say 'come see my yard, and see what you can do for us' so that encourage us a lot. The people are showing the initiative, that's all you need, once you have the initiative, you are sure it's going to work."
Marydelene Vasquez, RESTORE Belize
"This is really an important project for families; it's really an important initiative for families because it then empowers them to feed their families because this is of course on the primary stresses that and one of the primary challenges of families everyday, how we are going to feed our family? If you don't have an answer to that question then school and any other opportunities is secondary and so this addresses the primary interest of families which is nutritious food on the table. So we are very excited about it."
Those wanting to get into the urban farming program can call Restore Belize at 223-1269…