Image courtesy RAJESH LALL, Councillor for Lengua / Indian Walk.

Two local government councillors are spearheading a new initiative to assist those under stay-at-home orders in securing a sustainable food supply, by helping them start up kitchen gardens.

The initiative is the brainchild of the Councillor for Reform / Manahambre, Chris Hosein, together with the Councillor for Lengua / Indian Walk, Rajesh Lall, from the Princes Town Regional Corporation.

It involves the broadcast of a series of instructional videos shared on social media, as well as the preparation and distribution of 100 Kitchen Garden Starter Kits, free of charge, as an incentive for persons to start their own gardens at home.

According to Councillor Chris Hosein, the intention is to encourage persons to stay at home.

“We brainstormed what would be the best way to do that. There are so many messages on social media from politicians, activists, doctors, etc., encouraging persons to stay indoors. We wanted to do something a little different. We thought it best to issue this challenge and give this incentive as a way to encourage persons to keep occupied while they stay at home to flatten the curve.”

Councillor Hosein added: “It’s also to ensure people and their families take the initiative to be food secure in these uncertain times. We are seeing what is taking place across the world and I am disappointed by the Minister of Agriculture’s stance that there is no plan right now to roll out a food security policy in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The Minister has said that encouraging Kitchen Gardens is just common sense but what incentives are being given for same by the Ministry of Agriculture? We must do better.”

A screenshot from one of the instructional videos made by the Councillors. (Image: RAJESH LALL, Councillor for Lengua / Indian Walk)

Councillor Rajesh Lall who represents the Lengua / Indian Walk electoral district explains.

“The benefits of a home garden are tremendous in such a time, yet they can go far beyond COVID-19. When families embrace the initiative together, we may inspire younger ones to embrace farming in the future. Many of the new farmers we see emerging have been laid off from their respective industries and have turned to agriculture with the base knowledge they learnt from their parents’ gardens as youths.”

He added: “Local food production is in dire need of youths embracing the field and I believe initiatives like these are a step in the right direction of a more food secure future.”

Both councillors have underscored the importance of food security, particularly during these times. They are encouraging persons to start their kitchen gardens as a means of keeping occupied while staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

At present, the Princes Town Regional Corporation has closed its offices in order to carry out a comprehensive santisation exercise on the premises. It will reopen for business on Monday 6 April, 2020.