Accessing Nutritious Foods – Backyard Gardening 101

by HCC

Backyard gardeningBackyard gardening can provide fruits, vegetables and herbs that can contribute to a healthy and nutritious, low-cost diet, backyard gardening, is simply growing healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs at home in any way that you can.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on ways that our region can improve to emerge stronger and more resilient post-crisis. Safe and nutritious food is an urgent priority to build and maintain immune system strength among people living with NCDs, the elderly and other vulnerable populations such as children as called for the by HCC in our March 27th Open Letter to Heads Calling for Urgent Action to Protect those living with NCDs from COVID-19.

Food security is especially important given that some Caribbean islands import 80-90% of their food supply. A shift toward eating locally grown foods rather than relying on unhealthy imported, processed foods is needed. More so, many of the fruits and vegetables, some being exotic in nature, are also imported to the region. Now is a critical time to invest in measures that will develop and strengthen our food sector to ensure sustainable access to safe and nutritious foods locally and regionally barring hits on global trade. One practice that can help to enhance food security at a household level is backyard gardening, which is simply growing healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs at home in any way that you can. 

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) in partnership with the HCC Childhood Obesity Prevention Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Action Team is launching the backyard gardening initiative which aims to promote this practice by providing helpful tips and a platform to showcase backyard gardening initiatives from CSOs across the region.

Backyard Gardening Initiatives in Our Region – Every Seed Counts!
Backyard gardening is simply growing healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs at home in any way that you can.

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The Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in conjunction with its project sponsor the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) has thrown full support behind this initiative, which is part of HCC’s broader agenda to tackle childhood  obesity in the region through a variety of measures which create environments supportive of dietary transitions away from processed foods to healthy agricultural products as outlined in the Joint Statement from the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission on strengthening food and nutrition security in the Caribbean: a legacy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HCC is calling for a whole of society approach in undertaking this paradigm shift toward consuming healthier products that are grown locally, which could advance regional trade within the Caribbean.

Backyard gardens can provide fruits, vegetables, and herbs that can contribute to a healthy and nutritious, low-cost diet. Gardening is known as a rewarding form of physical activity and can also improve mood. The physical, social and mental benefits are worth starting your garden today. Enhancing your own household food security can also have a positive country-level impact. Ultimately, each household has the power to help change the way we produce and consume food in the Caribbean. We call on all households across the region to do what we can to contribute to a more sustainable regional food security system.

Follow HCC’s social media platforms for some helpful tips to get your backyard garden started and let us know what you are doing in your communities! #HomeGardeningTips #Beatchildhoodobesity #Boostimmunesystem

See the backyard gardening projects here

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