Kitchen Gardening: self-sufficiency, sustainability amid COVID-19

—Saves money, keeps you healthy, reduces stress

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

During this challenging period when Guyana and the rest of the world are working to stop the spread of COVID-19 and adapting to the new normalcies of life, kitchen gardening has proven to be a fruitful business and a means of self-sufficiency.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has advised that kitchen gardening is an excellent source of sufficient, healthy alternative foods for the family and aids in practising social distancing by staying at home, to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Jo-Ann Thompson, a 28-year-old auditor and founder of Kitchen Garden Organics shared her journey and how her kitchen garden contributes to good physical and mental health amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I started my kitchen garden after elections. With the help of my parents, I forked up the backyard, bought and laid 6 inches of concrete blocks and that’s how it all started.”

According to Thompson, kitchen gardening is a good source of extra income during this pandemic.

“The COVID-19 reception has been good. People were very supportive of buying my products. I was surprised. I wasn’t even expecting the demands for the products, but the herbs were ordered in bulk,” Thompson relayed.

While her kitchen garden is a small-scale business, Thompson shared other ways of how useful gardening can be during this time.

“The business has been extremely beneficial. Because of the pandemic, I have had more time to focus on my kitchen garden. Gardening is a good hobby to start during this time. It helped me gain peace of mind and can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.”

Kitchen Garden Organics offers a variety of organically grown produce: pumpkin, ochro, sweet peppers, corn, boulanger, pak choi, broccoli, plantains, tomatoes, cherries, soursop, sugar apples, bananas, and herbs such as lemon basil and cilantro.

For interested persons, Thompson can be reached on Facebook at the Kitchen Garden Organics page.

Additionally, for persons desirous of starting their kitchen gardens the Rural Affairs Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture recently launched its COVID-19 Relief Kitchen Garden Initiative.

The exercise forms part of the Ministry’s Rural Entrepreneurial Agricultural Project (REAP) and aims to provide a nutritional balance to families in a time when maintaining healthy immune systems is a priority.

Application forms can be uplifted from the security of the Ministry’s head office on Regent Street, their Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) Offices or regional agricultural officers. Forms are also available on the ministry’s website at publications/kitchen-garden-project-entry-form/.

Following a verification process, registered persons will be assisted in the form of vouchers to acquire seeds, small garden tools, irrigation material and other planting materials needed, redeemable at local or regional suppliers.

Closing date for registration is June 6, 2020.