Earth To Barbados, Too Much Concrete,You Need To Plant Food Too

Earth Day today

As this blog is being given life the clock ticks away on Earth Day. The fact that its significance is not mentioned in any serious way in the local media, or any strident mention made of it by those responsible in government and other relevant NGO agencies, sums up how confused we are about what our priorities must be in 2012. Ironically there is currently a lot of play about who should buy our precious land resource to build a hotel at Heywoods or guest houses at Whitehaven. It is to be regretted that Barbadians are not able to work at achieving multiple objectives at the same time given the current reality.

The perennial issue of the need for Barbadians to prioritize building out a plan to ensure food security and the focus Earth Day brings to the matter bears a mention. What will it take to create the awaking among the current generation of Barbadian that we must plan to feed ourselves, our children and generations to come? Food security is no joke and while we cannot have 100% food security there are initiatives which individuals and government alike can mobilize to mitigate the risk of doing nothing.

Are we happy that we can continue to earn enough foreign exchange to be able to stock our supermarket shelves with five brands of shoe polish, ten brands of cereal etc.? Whither the plan to engage in functional cooperation with Dominica and how can we leverage the wasteland of an emerging Guyana which yearns for investment?  What the hell are we doing?

On an island surrounded by water why are fish farms not established? Are we willing to sit back and harp on the fact that T&T playing Baje on a string over a fishing agreement? Yes we love our flying fish, yes history records that it complements coucou as our national dish but if the damn fish is migratory what the hell are we planning to do to fill our blasted stomachs until they return? Why the focus on planting concrete alone?

A read of the online journal GoFishntellyourstory mentions how the developed world is using technology to enter our waters to fish. Sadly what was thought to be unlimited supplies of some species of fish are being depleted by monster fishing trawlers. …the world’s largest trawlers and factory vessels, like the astonishing. 230-meter Lafayette (holds 14 million metric tons of fish), which is Russian-flagged and owned through several holding companies by PacAndes, a publicly listed company in Hong Kong that is also based in Hong Kong… is an example of how vulnerable is our fish resource. Why can’t our little countries come together and if there is to be any over fishing in our waters we are the ones responsible?

Another issue which Earth Day brings to the fore: was an an environmental impact study done on the underground gas pipeline from T&T with first stop Barbados? Would it not be nice for Barbadians who our government serves to be able to access relevant information to raise our comfort level that our planners are not taking us for stupid? What the hell is the matter with us? Why is it we do not understand Barbados belongs to we and it is we who got to guard it from the predators who are mainly motivated by money and greed?

Second consecutive blog where the laptop keys have been banged in anger. We need to wake up Barbados. We need to reorder our priorities post haste!

0 thoughts on “Earth To Barbados, Too Much Concrete,You Need To Plant Food Too

  1. Plant food David? That will only happen if the Supermarket shelves are empty.

    In the words of the Cubans, “todays golf courses can be tomorrow’s farms.

    • @Hants

      Why can’t Barbadians understand how important establish some food security is to our survival?

  2. David Bajans believe the supermarkets will always be full.

    The Government will have to change land use policy or we will continue to follow the Owen Arthur doctrine of using land to its best financial value.

    The current notion about rab land not being suitable for agriculture is nonsense.
    This is 2012. Hydroponics and Aquaculture can be successful on so called rab land.

    Bajans will only become conscious of food security when the Supermarket are empty.

  3. That’s a nice two way moan you and Hants got going there David. And sadly for Barbados, you’re both correct. However, blaming Owen Arthur is a piece of unnecessary codswallop – although it is the individuals in Parliament that are to blame, to a greater degree than others, for problems over land development, be they real or imaginary. If the existing Development Plan was adhered to, and it was much more rigidly so under BLP, many of the problems re, so called, planting of concrete would never have got off the ground. Note I said ‘many’ not ‘all’ because EVERY politician is too keen on personal aggrandisement, personal wealth and personal advancement. There are far too many kick-backs in politics and public service and nobody in Parliament has the balls to do anything about it as they are too busy being ‘at it’ themselves. Singling out King Arthur is ludicrous as it ignores everybody else at the Round Trough and throughout the whole island who put personal greed ahead of national pride and survival. If we persist in following the various routes to mammon were all going to end up with a burnt ass and be dammed hungry at the same time.

  4. some times it takes a castastrophe for people to understand what is important and what is not. unfortunately bajans laidback attitude and wanting to be like the joneses is one that is going to bite them in the arsse eventually also aiding the situation is the lack of education.

  5. People only have to remember the long lines at the gas station convenience stores during Tropical Storm Tomas when the supermarkets were temporarily closed to realise that food security is an issue that we in Barbados have not fully bought into. We were encouraged to let land get its highest economic value and then we turn around and use the foreign exchange to import the majority of our most basic neccesity – Food.
    We thought that development meant that we should buy everything coming out of Asia and North America with the pretty packaging and little nutritional value.
    It is a supply issue. We must always encourage production by those who want to pursue farming and animal husbandry.I beleive that the backyard farming and utilising water harvesting and irrigation techniques can enhance our food production. The need for consistent and reliable regional freighting and transportation could also butress our local production efforts.
    I do not buy into the argument that we should abandon any local attempts at agriculture.
    We must encourage our people to plant more fruit trees and less lawn grass. We will save foreign exchange, live healthier, reduce health care expenditure and not be held hostage to any increase in supermarket prices.

  6. “We must encourage our people to plant more fruit trees and less lawn grass. ”

    We need a mix of both, grass prevents soil erosion and trees cool the land and encourages rain.

  7. @islandgal246 I was thinking you should add a little fish pond and grow Tilapia but you probably don’t have enough rainfall to sustain a pond.

    Clearly you have a food security plan in place.

  8. Hants I can see that you haven’t read my blog. I have three huge ponds and I want to dig a caption area to trap rain water. i would like to do some aquaponics just trying to figure how to do it attractively.

  9. re the posting above…..Duh!
    …but on another note, please sign this petition or perhaps Queen’s Park might also be turned into a concrete car park:

    @islandgal… – perhaps Sharon Cooke can help.
    or Tim Walsh @ Nature’s Produce in St. Peter?
    Ministry of Agriculture (ha ha haaaa….)
    Dr. John Webster (on Facebook) also might be of help…..

    It would be wonderful as you have three huge ponds…to be able to keep same in ducks/water birds….be able to still dig a caption area and do your aquaponics so beautifully as to be able to attract school children to your ‘farm’ to learn about the growing of food and how important it is. Perhaps even an area for family picnics? So much that can be done. Goodfellow Farms in The Bahamas (just did a little book for IICA on this)…they have a small restaurant on their farm…using their produce to create fabulous salads….people can sit, eat on the farm and enjoy green….children’s activities during the weekend encourages families to come out and play….

    Ahhhhh…how wonderful it would be to see Barbados becoming aware…well that is… if it is not too late already….as said above…guess when the supermarket shelves are empty. WAKE UP PEOPLES THE COUNTRY IS BROKE…IMPORTS MIGHT JUST HAVE TO BE HALTED AND LOCAL IS WHAT WE WILL HAVE….BUT WE DO NEED GOOD LOCAL AND NOT UNHEALTHY LOCAL…BIG DIFFERENCE.

    I again say…but louder….DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh! by the way it was pure divine intervention to taste fabulous fresh milk …bought some at Holder’s Organic Market….yes! real fresh milk from a local dairy…came home and had one glass, had to have another and then another. Going downstairs right now to yup…pour me some more! I had forgotten. And…although extremely expensive and not something I can afford to have all the time…I treated myself to some real butter made directly from this milk. Wow!!!

    This milk is what we must encourage not that ‘crap’ from you know who…we used to have the best dairy in the Caribbean with ‘used to’ being the operative word. Thank God for a few farmers who are seeing the light, and making sure those who are interested get it fresh. There is a change coming but…I am praying it is (a) not too late and (b) wishing it could happen so much faster! Back to farming basics. Ban Monsanto. Ban GMO. Bring on organic and clean.

    Local food processors…with this lack of dinero, paisa, argent, the US dollar…i.e. money honey gine on…I hope you see the light and ensure that your products are also of the best quality…there is much to be done in this sector too…not because it is local does it mean it is necessarily good.

    I have a dream…..Barbados clean. I have a dream….Barbados as the only organic island in the Caribbean…setting the standards for the rest!

    Dream on, Rosemary!!!

  10. Rosemary thanks I am often in contact with many of the people above. Rosemary my plan is to have a B&B where people can come and stay, eat fresh food and learn about nature. I have just met up with a lady who wants to bring a group from upstate NY wanting to come visit Bim in January and visit many gardens and meet gardeners like themselves. If only the BHTA will realize that people don’t only come here for the sand and sea.

  11. Ahhhh…islandgal so proud. I have spoken (invited by IICA) to Ministers of Agriculture at a seminar in St. Kitts…so long ago I cannot even remember. I have ranted in The Bahamas to hoteliers. I have been perhaps far too outspoken in Jamaica Gleaner and even here in Barbados. But I do not do it to hurt anyone. I cry out because it is necessary for the good of our people. I have been screaming from the concrete roof tops since 1992 when I first became aware of the mess we were really making. I am not the only one. Many have been doing this.

    I am seeing the beginnings of the healing but from private people. Like yourself.

    We have to understand something I have learned…our governments appear to love us until elections. Any suggestion during this time is welcomed. But once in power. All advice, suggestions, proposals go into drawers keeping same for posterity I suppose and lost to the now.

    So.,..what is the answer? Forget about pleading to the powers that be.Let them continue. But, we the people can make a difference. We can stop buying imported from the north…do not purchase pesticides or GMO seeds…concentrate on what is ours. Forget about ideas and pressure on any government body actually. Just do your thing and market it your way. Websites do a lot! there are many out there. Facebook does a lot! Worldwide blogs do a lot.

    Create your edible garden (remember this also includes flowers – but I am sure you know that), make it eco-tourism friendly (Goodfellow Farms in Bahamas have all their workers – and I mean all – get Health Ceritficates…I find this a wonderful idea!) and local family friendly, have areas where people can come and relax, read, even study. Have a small menu of fresh salads, cassava breads…even sell jars of your herbs made into oils/jams/jellies. or even others. Create your own environment…maybe invite others on certain days to participate…the more Farmers’ Markets we can have can do only good and no harm! Start small. You don’t even have to a huge situation. Yu can even advertise for people to come on vacation and learn about your farm by helping in same – they will pay! University students studying agriculture abroad would give anything to come here, stay on a farm, no matter how small, and learn for their thesis.

    We can do so much without having to convince anyone that it is a good thing…we can just do it. One day when the tourism bodies ketch on…it will be too late…and they will not get the kudos for remembering that tourism is not only about sea, sand and sun. Nor is it about expensive food festivals that very few on the island can afford. It is about clean food security all around, restaurants with local produce, farms that visitors can enjoy….even Agrofest could be a wonderful tourism attraction if done correctly…anything to do with food is a huge tourism factor but it has to be clean, and it has to be local (Caribbean too). As I have always said before we thought of the movement of people, we should have put the movement of fresh food as the first priority. So having no US dollars in the coffers would not have mattered much to our food security. But as per usual…I have to stop….I get on a roll and cannot seem to get the brain to halt.

    I have a huge tome of a book to write that deals with food….an historic documentation including the now…travelling the country, meeting the people…all to do with food….with stories and recipes…can I get real support? Nope….at least not thus far except for a few good, understanding corporates (not enough) and a small injection from The Ministry of Tourism (with much sadness that it could not have been more ’cause it does not even pay for a double page on the book. I am grateful for what they were able to squeeze out fo their financial quagmire and their continued support….now the ladies there understood and understand! Does it take women to run a country????….perhaps!).

    If you have a dream…forget about screaming for help…just do it. I am putting my book together as we speak. One parish has gone to the designers. The goal will be reached. And those who did not wish to partake will be left behind in the credits. And this might just come as a shock to those internationally….’cause there’s a lot of money carded for farm/food/book projects from abroad that nevah seems to reach the people…too much darned paperwork and time wasted!!! I spend a lot of time writing, photographing and praying. The money will come. It has to.

  12. Interesting observation from Colin Jordan who is President of the Barbados Hotel Tourism Association today. He speaks to a systemic problem facing the tourism industry which sees them battling high cost and unable to refurbish plant which is a routine requirement in that kind of business. This is where we have hedged all our bets and if his observation is correct we are in for a rough ride. There is no reason why we should disbelieve him given his accounting training and intimacy with the hotel product. We need to wake up!

    Are there stats about how many hotels have closed across the region?

  13. Oh! We are in for a rough ride alright. Barbados’ product is tired and its food on a general basis not ‘ours’. If we had heeded the eco-sustainable tourism and the farm to table concept long ago…I do believe we would be in a better place today. But….so be it. Now we shall reap what we have not sown.

  14. @Rosemary Parkinson: “Now we shall reap what we have not sown.

    IMF loans so we can pay to import food to feed ourselves?

  15. Sad enough The entity…..sad enough! We have no one to blame but ourselves. All the opportunities were there and we missed the flying fish! It is not too late…but we shall be lazy and see even too late become so late dat we will be eating concrete and ethanol sauce. Any recipies required do not hesitate to contact me….

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