EDITORIAL: Grow more local produce

Barbadians need to roll up their sleeves and use whatever space they have in and around their homes to grow more herbs, vegetables and fruits. We cannot only pay lip service to this whole concept of eating home-grown produce. We must act now if we truly want to derive from the concept any positive benefits.

Certainly, during the lockdown period last year, we saw somewhat of an increase in terms of locals buying gardening supplies, on account of not being able to get imported products due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what we really want to see is not only more Barbadians taking care of plants and flowers, but more citizens planting crops. They can do so in the traditional garden beds if they so desire, but for those who do not have the requisite space, they can grow local produce in barrels and in containers, which may be easier to access.

Small steps lead to great gains

Without a doubt, we need to grow more food, so that we have more on hand to eat. We also need to see more Barbadians planting fruit trees. There was a drive started early last year, but perhaps that was curbed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, where this pandemic is concerned, it is clear that we must turn our focus more so inward and try to see how we can grow more of what we eat, so we can indeed “eat local” and reduce our dependence on imports.

It cannot be stressed enough that it is time that Barbadians actively seek to change their unhealthy diets. Instead of greasy, fattening fast foods, citizens should be opting for local ground provisions. They should also cut down on processed imported foods and consume these in lesser quantities. Barbadians can surely put a dent in this island’s whopping food import bill, if they would simply determine to produce more of what they eat.

Now while some may argue that this is easier said than done, those in the agricultural field pushing this concept of eating local, will agree that small steps can lead to great gains. By now, every home in Barbados should feature some kind of home garden, as an indication that Barbadians are taking agriculture seriously and are desirous of eating more locally grown nutritious foods.

Time to act is now

Given the statistics for overweight and obesity, it is clear that some Barbadians are eating too many of the wrong foods in very large quantities and this negative activity is contributing to the rise in NCDs. Therefore, the time to act is now, if indeed we want to have a healthier population, with less ailments and illnesses. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity and overweight and also cardiovascular diseases are not what we want to see overtaking our population.

Our children are also following in the footsteps of the adults and hence why it is even more critical to engage in healthier lifestyle choices as we go forward. Therefore, at the governmental level, more should be done to encourage those in the country to establish their own backyard gardens and grow their own food.

Barbados Advocate

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