Our Local Heroes this week are the team from Future Farmers Barbados. We spoke to Chadeene Beckles about the importance of their work and how Barbados Environment Conservation Trust has supported them on their new project ‘The Agricultural Shift’.
Tell us some more about your project.
The Agriculture Shift is a multipurpose project geared towards changing the youth’s perception of agriculture and lending our voice to agricultural policy making. We will also focus on bridging the gaps among different branches of agriculture i.e., farming, animal rearing and agro-processing and between agriculture and other industries. The Agricultural Shift seeks to create and expand opportunities for youth in agriculture including land ownership, financing, and mentorship among others.
Why do you do what you do?
Food and agriculture are the foundation of every nation and when there aren’t sustainable, healthy, and thriving food systems, economies suffer and are plagued by poverty, which leads to basic nutritional needs not being met. Driving our people to the consumption of unhealthy and less nutritious foods, increasing our populations cases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and exposure to other diseases.
How has BECT helped you?
BECT has been instrumental in recognizing the work for future farmers and the next generation of food security. They have supported our setup as a collective agency and provide guidance ensuring we are moving in one direction, forward!
What is the biggest challenge you face?
The success of our project requires financial resources, technical support, and human resources. The biggest challenge will be the financial sustainability of the organization and its project.
Is there a quote you could share with us which inspires you?
“If you have 100 soldiers and the opposition has 1 million, if you burn their supply of food, you will win the war.”
This is a war for food security and sustainability. Barbados must find a way to decrease the high risk posed to our food systems by diversifying our food imports; by becoming more innovative with our products, increase our exports and raising the standards in the agriculture market and the farms that operate within it.
Donate to BECT to support local heroes like Chadeene and their incredible work.