The Ministry of Sport and Community Development is encouraging members of the public to test their green thumb through its Grow it Yourself Community Kitchen Garden Challenge.
The challenge, said Community Development Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, is part of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy competition.
“We took the initiative to go ahead and introduce this programme as a part of preserving our culture and heritage. The elders planted as a way of life and that is an important part of our culture and our heritage that the young people don’t get to see or participate in, and we want to encourage them to embrace it some more.”
She said the initiative was established in May 2020, when the covid19 pandemic had just begun.
“People were fearful as it relates to interruptions in food supplies and the distribution channels. We were also in a sort of lockdown situation – we were asked to stay at home, avoid going out to the grocery too often and to cook your own food. We saw it as a way of helping those in need, of helping people to get out there and plant – promoting reducing our food imports bill.”
She said the initiative was launched on April 9 and registration has been extended to May 3. Interested people should apply through the ministry’s website or through registration forms available via the social media platforms.
She urged Tobagonians to get involved.
“Often times Tobagonians don’t take part in national competitions or competitions coming out of the ministry because they see it as a Trinidad thing, because the ministry is in Trinidad. In any ministry that I go, I try to see how much I can get Tobagonians on board the programmes and initiatives. We want to get more Tobagonians on board, we want to get more young people on board.”
The ministry, she said, has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries for the judging, which will be done in five categories: small kitchen, medium kitchen, large kitchen, best aquaponics and best hydroponics.
There are also special prizes for most innovative kitchen garden, most sustainable garden, best influencer kitchen garden, people’s choice, decorative garden and family garden.
“We have the short-term crops like kale and lettuce; you have the longer-term ones like tomatoes. It’s a wide variety of crops, and we’re asking each challenger to grow at least four, and on the first day, which is May 3, you are going to upload your video of you planting.”
The competition will run for eight weeks, the expected time for the selected crops to mature and produce.
She added that each category will be judged by districts. There are over $250,000 in prizes.