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Feb 16, 2018

Jane Usher Boulevard Families to Benefit from Urban Greenhouse

A novel project that will provide sustenance as well as income to participating families kicked off today at the YMCA compound. It is named the Port Loyola Urban Gardens Greenhouse and involves families of the Jane Usher Boulevard Neighborhood. They have learnt to plant fruits and vegetables, inside a greenhouse, which they will consume as well as sell to the rest of the community. News Five’s Duane Moody reports. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Given the tough economic times, Belizeans are pushed to explore innovative ideas to sustain their respective families. Today, residents of the Jane Usher Boulevard Neighborhood officially opened the Port Loyola Urban Gardens Greenhouse at the YMCA Compound on Faber’s road. The project is expected to improve the standard of living for families within the area. With the support of social activist Cynthia Ellis-Topsey and UWI Open Campus’ Jane Bennett, the container gardening project is expected to provide nutritious foods to the participants as well as a source of income.

 

Cynthia Ellis-Topsey

Cynthia Ellis-Topsey, Social Activist

“I have been a facilitator to connect them with other communities that have overcome and that have been determined and to change the face of our communities. We are not to be called poor people, we are not to be called ghetto people, we are not to be called bad people, we are not to be called criminal people. That’s my mission and that is my passion to change the conversation. So this is a project program not just about plants and food, sovereignty; it is about raising the dignity of our people and telling the story differently.”

 

Jane Bennett

Jane Bennett, Head, UWI Open Campus

“One of UWI’s mandate regionally is to be involved in our community; we are not just about the academics. And so I thought very hard about what could really be impactful about our community. I spoke to a few people and I had the idea of a bucket garden in the good ole days, five years ago. It evolved through the influence of the Ministry of Agriculture and their technologies that what I really needed to focus on was container gardening, not just bucket.”

 

But Bennett says the community in Port Loyola could not use their backyards to do the planting, as some had done, but lost their gardens. So it evolved into a greenhouse, through funding through a GEF Small Grants Program of fifty thousand dollars, launched almost one year ago.  With cooperation from Ministry of Agriculture, the community is learning techniques to grow fruits and vegetables within their homes.

 

Abraham Gonzalez

Abraham Gonzalez, Extension Officer, Ministry of Agriculture

“It’s bigger than a nursery; it’s a grow house. You actually grow plants in there. They will be producing fruits and the community will be able to benefit from that. We taught them…there was a training in total urban gardening where they were taught from planting to even making their own type of fertilizer that they can use on their plants; mixture and everything. The tr4aining was a total comprehensive package.”

 

The water and fertilizers are being fed to the seeds through a water irrigation process installed inside the greenhouse. Already planted are tomatoes, sweet peppers and mint, which are expected to be ready by June. Project Coordinator Janet Cutkelvin says that of the hundred families surveyed, twenty-five will benefit in its first phase.

 

Janet Cutkelvin

Janet Cutkelvin, Coordinator, Jane Usher Urban Gardening Project

“The project is to provide food security for the Jane Usher community and the surrounding areas so that we can also safe money in our pockets. The vegetables and fruits that we are planting and growing is to save us from going to the market so that we know that we have fresh fruits and vegetables for our children and we grow it our own self.”

 

Bennett says that the end goal is to eventually form a cooperative for the participants who will generate income from the community development project. Duane Moody for News Five.

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