On May 15,1862,President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an Act establishing the Department of Agriculture. As a boy,President Lincoln lived on a 30-acre farm,but because of hills and gullies only 14 acres could be cultivated. The importance of growing your own food and the relevance of farming to a society was so critical that it was deemed necessary to have cabinet level oversight. Over the years,our community has moved away from an agrarian lifestyle,but it has become more important that ever to revitalize it. Today,there are many health issues facing our community. Some health issues are a direct result of what we eat. In the midst of recalls of different food items and health outbreaks,it is becoming wiser to move toward growing our own food and decreasing the risk that unhealthy eating create.
The traditional way of cultivating produce has changed also. The traditional garden has become not so traditional. Not every dwelling has a yard;and there are different garden options for each dwelling option.
To reach out to the needs of our community,the Virgin Islands Public Television System,WTJX Channel 12,in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service,and the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture,launch Home Grown,a home garden project. The outreach project and television program are designed to address several critical issues,such as the high cost and poor quality of imported fresh vegetables in the Virgin Islands,a desire to encourage healthy eating habits,and to help Virgin Islands’ residents save money.
All residents,from all locations in the Virgin Islands,with an interest in growing fresh vegetables,are invited to apply for the chance to participate in Home Grown’s pilot program,which is scheduled to begin in September 2009. Applications are available at WTJX,the VI Department of Agriculture,and the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service’s offices throughout the territory. It is also available on line at www.uvi.edu or www.wtjx.org. Deadline for application submission is June 5,2009.
Home Grown will focus on box,container,tire,and tradition gardens. Persons selected may have an opportunity to have their gardens featured on WTJX’s television series documenting the various stages and practices involved in the gardening process.
For further information,contact Tanya-Marie Singh at 690-6693 or Clarice C. Clarke at 692-4060.