Once ago, decades back, up to the early 1960s, family farming was prominent in The Bahamas. It was customary for homesteads to include small vegetable gardens, some fruit trees and livestock, primarily chickens.
There were those families that branched out into raising goats and hogs. Farming was indeed a large part of Bahamian family life, throughout the nation. The culture diminished through the years and is now for the most part, a forgotten aspect of Bahamian communities.
This remains the case despite several efforts to re-introduce home farming by several central administrations and also private entities. Home farming has just not caught on to any meaningful degree, comparable to yesteryear.
Now though, there is a serious attempt being made at reviving home farming in Grand Bahama, well, more directly, the Central Grand Bahama Constituency. The Member of Parliament for the area, Iram Lewis, is behind the program. The term being used is backyard farming and seedling transplant.
On Monday, the Member of Parliament officially launched the farming project in his area and we applaud him for the initiative. Also, we encourage Lewis’ constituents and others throughout the island to follow his lead.
He devotedly refers to the growing of “a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants, tomatoes, bell peppers, Bahamian bird and goat peppers, pineapples, coconuts, avocados, sapodillas, sour oranges, etc.”
Lewis brings a significant message, appropriately suited for this moment in time when alternative, but wholesome measures are essential for quality existence.
“Our goal is to begin encouraging Central Grand Bahama constituents and the citizenry of the island to put down the lawnmower and pick up gardening tools such as pitchforks, spades, rakes, hand trowels, pruners, shears, hoes, wheelbarrows, (to transfer) their yards into lush, healthy gardens filled with fruits, vegetables, herbs and mechanical plants,” said Lewis.
The Central Grand Bahama MP has grabbed a huge challenge by the tail and will be hard pressed to maintain continuity of what he started on Monday. Lewis will need the full support of the majority of his constituents and assistance from agricultural experts and certain business houses that cater to farm products. He is trying to get a big movement back to what was once normal for Bahamians.
We extend best wishes to MP Lewis. He deserves support from all and sundry. Hopefully he is influential enough in speaking about the concept to have a whole lot of folks buying into the re-introduced homestead farming.