Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Thirty-seven (37) persons – 26 in vegetable and 11 in ornamental – are registered to participate in the 2021 National Backyard Garden Competition, an initiative by the Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture, aimed at encouraging more locally grown food.
During her appearance on Wednesday’s (February 17) edition of “Working for You” Shaline Welcome-Lewis, Community Tourism Officer said the competition, which was launched in October 2020, is designed to promote healthy eating, as well as to encourage persons to beautify their communities and homes.
“The project is to encourage the development of backyard gardening while increasing the awareness of healthier eating for persons with fresh daily consumption. We want to encourage locals to grow what they want to consume and with the economic impact that we would have all endured recently we want to ensure that persons can reduce their supermarket bills, they eat healthier and spend less,” said Mrs. Welcome-Lewis.
The competition will be judged on plant cultivation and health (40 points), layout (15 points), and environment (25 points). A bonus segment using drone footage will allow persons to score an extra five points.
Under plant cultivation and health, participants are required to implement and adopt creative measures, demonstrate proper use of the garden space, have healthy plants, as well as label plants properly so they can be easily identified, just to name a few.
Kyle Flanders, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the physical layout of the garden is an important component of the competition.
“We are going to look and see exactly how you decided to lay out your garden, where the footpaths are, and the organization of plants in the garden. We want to know if you are going to pair the plants properly and we want to know that you have clear, comfortable access to your overall garden,” said Mr. Flanders.
Mrs. Therez Ambrose-Versailles, Tourism Research Officer, stressed the use of recyclable materials as recycling can help to protect the environment.
“We want persons to utilize recyclable materials in their garden. We will be able to see the impact of the recycled materials used. [I want to see] the uniqueness when I enter your garden and what materials were used that I have never seen before. We want to have this wow factor when I enter your garden,” said Mrs. Ambrose-Versailles, adding that the sustainable aspect of the competition is important because “it is not about just gardening for a competition but to be able to feed yourself and your family.”
Participants hail from all around the island including St. Peter’s, Sandy Point, Half Way Tree, Old Road, and Newton Ground to name a few.
In the vegetable section, the top three competitors will be rewarded while the top two will be rewarded for ornamental. Some of the prizes include an irrigation system, wheelbarrow, gardening tool kit, plaque, basket, and gardening hose with control head.