Port of Spain, 16 September 2020 - To the delight of young people and families across the country, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and AgriMan - the world’s first food security and nutrition superhero, has been distributing seed kits and digital advice on how to plant and grow fruit and vegetables at home – no matter how small the space available. The distribution is part of a nation-wide Grow Garden Initiative, with a special focus on communities that have been disproportionately affected by the food security challenges raised by COVID-19.
Organized with support from the World Food Programme and the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) - the Grow Garden initiative is working with youth, women and families in urban and rural communities, to develop agricultural skills that could help create employment opportunities, food security and improved family nutrition.
Leading the charge to bring a love of agriculture to communities everywhere, is the masked superhero AgriMan, whose mission is to save the world from the villains of food waste and loss, by building an army of young farmers and agriculture-savvy youth. The character, created by WhyFarm, encourages people to farm and help solve challenges in agriculture and food security.
According to Randi Davis, Resident Representative for the UNDP in Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten: “With Covid-19 exacerbating issues of food security worldwide, we’ve been working with our partners to find short-term, nature-based solutions that support our wider, long-term work in building community resilience, women’s empowerment and citizen’s security. Home gardening is about nutrition, yes, but also about so much more. The psychosocial benefits can be immeasurable, as can the way in which it changes our relationship with the natural environment.”
Grow Garden participant, 12-year-old Jordan, a junior member of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Youth Club said: “I’m into the project because it’s fun and it keeps a youth like me out of trouble. I’m looking forward to contributing to food for my family and neighbours. Not being able to physically attend school and interact with people, at least I have an opportunity to focus on something positive. This is my new normal.”
Commenting on the early impact of the initiative, ASP Ramkhelawan, Head of Community Relations and Police Youth Clubs, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service said: “I see the Grow Garden Project as a vehicle for bringing families closer, in this period of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It not only presents a platform for them to participate in gardening activities together, but importantly it also provides parents and children with the opportunity to improve communication skills, building trust, respect and discipline in expressing their love for each other. It’s not just food that will be growing, but the young people and their families also.