4-H Clubs names Backyard Family Garden Challenge winners


4-H Clubs names Backyard Family Garden Challenge winners

Staff reporter

Friday, February 19, 2021

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Jamaica 4-H Clubs, as part of its drive to intensify and strengthen farming for the improvement of food production and security, recently awarded central region parish winners in the Backyard Family Garden Challenge competition.

Karelle McCormack, public relations and marketing manager at Jamaica 4-H Clubs, told the Jamaica Observer that the initiative, which started in May last year, was also aimed at family engagement.

“It came about as a result of the whole fact that we have COVID-19 upon us. Also, the fact that students were at home as a result of the closure of schools, so we wanted to find an activity for them to be engaged in while being at home,” she said.

“…We also extended the competition to members of the public, so basically the challenge was for families to get together and register as a team to either start or rejuvenate a backyard garden that they would have had,” she added.

The central regional winners are Danalee Blackwood (Clarendon), Paulette Peart (Manchester), and Ryan Isaacs (St Ann).

The competition, which was done virtually, received over 500 national entries.

“They were asked to either send photographs of the various stages of the garden from start to finish, or videos. We had an overwhelming response to the competition,” declared McCormack.

“The gardens would have consisted of at least two cash crops, so basically they were asked to show the different stages of their gardens,” she added.

Isaacs, a Knox College student, said: “The experience taught me a lot about farming and making use of myself and learning how to do different things, especially in the pandemic where around the world there have been many food shortages. It taught me to depend on my own skills.”

He explained that his vine garden was just a hobby for now but could possibly be expanded in the future.

“My garden had cucumber, melon, and cantaloupe. I reaped some of the fruits, but due to the rainy season last year some of the crops were lost… For right now I find farming as a hobby but maybe in the future I see it as something I could do professionally,” said the 18-year-old.

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