In St Lucia, Gardening for Health

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

St Lucia’s government is continuing a programme aimed at fighting health problems through gardening, part of a wave of agricultural initiatives throughout the Caribbean.

But the country’s Backyard Gardening Programme also looks to tackle a second issue: food security.

“We all understand the implications of the non-communicable diseases,” said Kemuel Jean Baptiste, chief extension officer for the programme.

“Part of the whole backyard gardening idea is to have as a ready supply the herbs and vegetables that are recommended as part of the process, and for combating our poor nutrition habits,” he said.

The country finished the programme’s second year last week, with what Baptiste called a “tremendous response.”

“Food security is not just for a few,” said Virnet James, the programme’s coordinator. “So the business of food security belongs to us all.”

Promoting new streams of agricultural produce is becoming even more vital as the country continues its struggle with the Black Sigatoka disease, which has been ravaging the country’s farms, particularly the banana sector.