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The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) International Food Security Assessment, 2020–2030: COVID-19 Update and Impacts on Food Insecurity report released in January 2021 reveals that 12.8 per cent of the Jamaican population is currently food insecure, equating to some 400,000 people. According to Daphne Ewing-Chow in her article called Food Insecurity In Jamaica Doubled Projections In 2020, "The World Food Programme (WFP) COVID-19 Food Security & Livelihoods Impact Survey, published in September 2020, shone further light on the nature of Jamaica’s food insecurity during the pandemic, with 70 per cent of respondents reporting difficulties 'eating enough' during the crisis".

The report further stated that, "One in three survey respondents reported skipping meals or eating less, and 1 in 10 reported going a full day without food. Respondents indicated a reduction in household food stocks, with 20 per cent reporting no food at home. The WFP survey confirmed that food insecurity in Jamaica was primarily driven by COVID-19 restrictions and economic conditions as opposed to supply-side factors."

With increase restrictions and lock downs on movement, food insecurity will rise, but this does not have to be your reality. Backyard farming in urban areas has been consistent over the years, but in the past year it has also seen a drastic increase. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has made significant moves to encourage backyard farming, so too RADA and the 4HClubs. RADA has created video tutorials as an orientation into backyard farming for all, green thumbs or all thumbs.

We at 360 Recycle are also doing our part in helping to increase food security, our latest project in Salt Spring, Montego Bay, which was funded by the Canadian High Commission through the Canada Fund, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Digicel Foundation, sought to increase the climate smart agricultural knowledge base of our participants. Most of our participants were female heads of households, who would have been impacted more from the Covid 19 restrictions and the pandemic itself. They were able to grow vegetables and learnt how to harvest seeds, plant them, composting and organic pest control methods. They reaped broccoli, kale, celery, parsley, tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, sweet peppers sweet potatoes and more from their backyard. Growpots were provided by 360 Recycle for vegetable to be planted. The women of Salt Spring valiantly ventured into backyard farming armed with the knowledge they gained from the workshop, our Growpots, compost, seeds and seedlings.

Don't be left wishing you did. Begin your backyard farming today, our kits are a perfect starter, with 100 pounds of compost, 3 sets of seeds, and a Growpot. If you want to start smaller you can too. Click to see our gallery of planter and Growpots, and call us about our GrowKit Packages.

Listen as I speak on the Calling Farmers radio show produced by Andrae Palmer and aired on The Jamaica Information Service, about our journey into Container Farming/ Backyard Farming.

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