Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 19, 2021 (SKNIS): The effects of COVID-19 are felt globally, and many persons are seeking ways to minimize these effects on themselves and their families. Through a collaborative initiative – the backyard garden competition – between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts is well on its way to helping with the fight against the negative effects of the Novel Coronavirus through gardening.
The backyard garden initiative seeks to mitigate the effects felt by nationals through several means as highlighted on the government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You” on February 17, 2021.
Kyle Flanders, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that providing food security is one of the many advantages of having a backyard garden. He said, “backyard gardens can be used to make sure that persons have nutritious meals or food at their fingertips”. Backyard gardens also seek to alleviate hunger and its side effects.
Mr. Flanders said that having a backyard garden seeks to minimize the onset of food insecurity. Due to job loss, some individuals may not be able to maintain a consistent supply of healthy and nutritious food to feed their families or have their eating patterns changed due to the lack of money. According to him, by engaging in the backyard garden competition, the individual can provide food for his or her family and by extension food for the country if there is a surplus.
Covid-19 and its impact on the changing lifestyles of the human population have contributed to the rise in mental distress for many. The panelists agreed that participation in the backyard garden competition is one way to minimize stress and thereby contributing to the mental well-being of the gardener.
Mrs. Therez Ambrose-Versailles, Tourism Research Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, in citing the findings of a study conducted by the International Association of Horticulture stated, “Farming in general increases life’s satisfaction, the quality of life and builds a sense of community”.
Through gardening, persons are exposed to a productive way to lessen their stress while reaping the benefits of maintaining physical fitness.