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HOME GROWN: Grow green from young

Suzanne Griffith

HOME GROWN: Grow green from young

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Of late I’ve noted exhaustive discussions on the cost of living and the potential for the kitchen garden to act as a vehicle to reduce those costs.
To sum it up, it has been said that for the modern up and coming generations it isn’t considered “hip” or “cool” to grow your own food.
Although the legions of kitchen gardeners in Barbados are steadily increasing, it continues to be apparent that their numbers consist of persons who quite simply “grew up that way” and are keen to return to the simpler ways of their parents and grandparents. Proven ways.
I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about and discussing how we might break the generational attitudes toward agriculture.
I continually find myself at a single answer: the mentorship of young children – specifically, children or young adults who have the ability and interest to follow a career path in agriculture.
No one will deny how easily children adopt the cultural influences and attitudes that they are exposed to, attitudes that our children will carry with them into the future, a future where global food security is becoming increasingly uncertain.
Simply chanting the mantra “Grow your own food” is not enough. Setting out to grow your own food requires resources and knowledge through teaching and, perhaps even more importantly, the desire to acquire that knowledge where a mentor doesn’t exist.
It also requires time, space and a measure of capital. The days when a grandparent passed down knowledge about growing food to a young grandchild are becoming a thing of the past.
It is easy to say you should do this or do that and to say “Well, I told you so” as food prices increase or as a commodity becomes scarce.
That is an approach that doesn’t even come close to solving the problem.
Does the burden of breaking our generational attitudes toward agriculture fall on the schools? Perhaps.
But I recall with great clarity the day I came home from school and told my parents I wanted to be an artist.
“A starving artist!” they shrieked in reply.
If my son should happen to chose a career in agriculture, one thing is for certain: he won’t be starving.