The Bloice family of St. Paul’s was the subject of much important mention over the unusual sized pumpkin, from the Minister and Ministry of Agriculture.
Minister Agriculture Dr. Timothy Harris said, “We would certainly want to congratulate the Bloice family, of who has been the beneficiary of what, in our context certainly would be a large pumpkin, weighing thirty pounds. We want to offer them our congratulations on what has been a fantastic find, and hope that the produce of that nature would encourage them to continue in their particular efforts.”
The Minister of Agriculture said he was pleased with this move, which he described as a testimony to the fact, that we can each do our part to advance and maintain our own food security.
Although the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis on a whole have been diligent in their thrust to pursue food security and nutrition as a national policy, as evidenced in the launch of Operation Food Security some years ago, they are still open to applauding ownership at the individual level.
The Ministry is also reaching out and offering technical guidance and support to persons interested in producing their own simple foods such as herbs and other seasoning implements, planting lime and other fruit trees and rearing of small livestock such as rabbits etc. Very similar to the Bloices, some people have managed to do quite well overtime, even with limited space, until expansion becomes possible. One such family is the Hodges family of Tabernacle.
“One good example we have had before is a Mrs. Hodge of Tabernacle, who, in the context of a confined area, had been able to do quite a lot in terms of medicinal plants, in terms of her herbs and things like that, and we had encouraged her participation as a model for others to emulate,” said Minister Harris. “Of course she has since been able to expand beyond her own confines, to an adjoining lot and to do some interesting work there, some of them irrigated, and we commend them.”
Equally as important as the growth of the huge pumpkin celebrated, is the ministry’s optimism that the message is catching on, with people embracing the ministry’s vision for food sustainability and security and rising to the occasion of empowering themselves. Minister Harris says this family is moving in the right direction.
“In the context of the report that we have had, this is a case of a family who is doing the right thing, moving in the right direction, and we hope that this find will encourage others in a similar pathway, said Dr. Harris.”
The Minister added that nationally, as the country produces more, it needs the support of all sectors. Hotels and restaurants as well need to support and promote a ‘buy local’ mentality. He also said it is always comforting to know exactly how the foods used in the country are produced.
Being the producer in an appropriate mixed variety garden or farm situation can enable the producing family, and by extension the country to ultimately live more healthily.
“A person with an appropriate mixed farm can derive enough vegetables to cut out perhaps the flour, the rice and the macaroni, because we could find much more natural and healthy substitutes, not only in your yard if you have the backyard garden, perhaps by extending it in the hills and the mountains, and other ranges of the community,” said Minister Harris.
The ministry of Agriculture sees this as a ‘win win’ project and a good promotion for health and wellness and good community relationships.