Growing Our Own Produce. For God’s Sake!

‘Precious Millions are spent on daily dalliances that have nothing to do with critical issues.’

by Colin Leslie Beadon

Plant your Barbados Victory Garden!

India has recently experienced a huge power supply failure where millions of people were affected in so many ways without electricity. Without electricity, just about everything of commercial business these days comes to a stop, besides most homes, schools, hospitals, gas stations, airports, et al. But such a power outage does not necessarily kill anybody.

However there are one or two other such product failures that can do very dramatic damage to human endeavour, but few of us in Barbados seem aware of these things. They are: Food and water.

The lack of these two items is much more extreme in the results they cause, but nobody who has not been through such a dilemma as extreme thirst or extreme hunger or both; or seen a society suffer from such depredation, would fully appreciate where it leads.

So let us spell it out: Such depredation leads to the complete breakdown of most societies (Read ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond). The scene becomes horrific beyond most imaginations. Only the very strong survive it, and for a time. The old and the very young are lucky for they are the first to die.

“Britain, during the war, started producing 91% of its own food in small allotments farmed by villagers and town’s people.”

Victory Gardens

When England was deep in World War 2 and the shipping lines had been drastically cut and the winters were long and miserable, the British started intensive agricultural development. Everybody got down to growing vegetables on every available square of soil they could find; parks, empty housing lots, swimming pools and playing fields became Victory Gardens. This is what saved the UK when it came to food. Britain, during the war, started producing 91% of its own food in small allotments farmed by villagers and town’s people. Remember they had winters to contend with also. We don’t have winters in Barbados, and so apart from dry spells, there is little to stop us producing our own food All -Year -Through.

The British discovered that small lots ( 14 yards by 4 or 6 yards wide), looked after by concerned people, produced much higher quality and yields of produce than did huge commercial farms on a square acre average. Even the Russians have started to discover this as have the Chinese. Farms run by governments anywhere in the world are enormously unproductive and wasteful. That goes for a lot of other things governments decide to run on their own, like airlines, oil fields, and hotels.

The Cubans, after the Soviet Union broke down and stopped feeding them, soon discovered they could convert available space in town and village countryside into growing their own vegetables and fruit, and producing enough to feed themselves and their live stock. They discovered you did not need supermarkets and huge grain imports; if your produce was sold near where it was grown or in village shops and on stalls outside rural homes. Go to Google and get onto the site ‘The Vegetable Gardeners of Cuba.’

“So we will ask this pertinent question again, since we have asked it in letters to the newspapers several times: Why have Barbadian village organizations not approached Government for village lots to be sold or rented on a yearly basis like what is done in England? Is the Barbadian just lazy or is it he does not care if he is ripped off by high import prices of food he could be growing himself ?”

British War Garden Guide 1940

There is so much wastage of land around villages since the demise of sugar, the land doing nothing except growing scrub when it could be growing fruit trees, coconuts, and vegetables. Growing ones own food could put a stop to importing 90% of our food and wasting our foreign exchange. Why the malaise on the part of our elected? Don’t they appreciate what is on the point of happening here in Barbados ? Don’t they follow the world news at all ? Floods, Droughts, Wars!

We blame Barbados governments in every respect for this most atrocious situation. Precious Millions are spent on every day dalliances that have nothing to do with critical issues. Now with Government digging into the National Insurance Fund as though it were an endless pot of gold, we need to start growing our own food. If we refuse to do this, we shall shortly and bitterly well wish we had an allotment outside; full of something to eat.

A tough, new planet

Here is another book dealing with such a situation on a Earth-wide scale. Read the whole book: ‘EAARTH’ (Making a life on a tough new planet) by Bill McKibben. We are facing a tough new planet. It is not the same place we have known, so McKibben does not call it Earth any more. He calls it Eaarth.

One does not have to work village lots in the sun. Early mornings and late evening before the sun goes down is all the work you need on small lots. Children and the older people can help; those out of work could make a few bucks too. It is a splendid way to keep fit instead of watching television. It is a splendid way to live instead of catching buses and taking cars to supermarkets.

Working with the soil puts us back in touch with our ancient reality and our ancient Gods, the Sun, the Moon and the Rain. Our hands in soil again, re-enforces our contact with the Divine Ground. The simple work raises our heart rates, works our lungs, burns the calories, starts our sweat glands, lessens our chances of high blood pressure, stress and the results of high sugar.

Humans evolved by gathering and growing their own foods. We did not evolve by sitting around becoming fat, watching television and importing our own food.

Every village in Cuba has an agronomist and small lots full of produce. This is where we must aim. There is no time to dally.

Further Reading

Earthly Pursuits – Collection of British War Gardening Guides Wonderful!


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Economy

8 responses to “Growing Our Own Produce. For God’s Sake!

  1. rastaman

    Amazing what is being proposed means that Life will need to come full circle.That is where we began.But and it is a big BUT ,will it ever happen?

  2. Green Monkey

    Bajan farmers, if you are truly desirous of helping Barbados become food independent, whatever you do don’t plant Monsanto’s patented genetically modified seeds. Unless, of course, you can afford to replace your tractor tyres with special, kevlar lined tyres every couple of years (see below) and you have absolutely no concern as to the effect these GMO’s have on human and animal health or the health of the planet in general.

    When independent scientists do research on the GMO plants, they usually find indications that the food produced from them harms the health of the animals which ingest them. (This independent testing is hard to do, because Monsanto and the other holders of patented seeds carefully guard access to the seeds and make it extremely difficult for independent scientists to get access to them for their testing procedures.) The scientists who assure us there are no problems caused by eating GMO foodstuffs are mostly all the scientists receiving salaries or funding from Monsanto and the other giant, agri-business GMO pushers. (Who, I might add, also spend millions on lobbying politicians to prevent the introduction of labeling laws requiring information on labels to inform consumers whether or not the food they are buying does or does not contain GMOs.)

    Kevlar Tires Now Required to Traverse ‘Spear-Like’ GMO Crops

    The news surrounding GMO crops continues to get further and further outlandish as the crops are increasingly mutated and sprayed with a medley of harsh pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. The latest news comes from an unlikely source — an automotive publication known as Autoblog. The website reports that farmers who have opted to plant Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds have run into one daunting problem (outside of decreased yields and an extremely higher risk of disease): little ‘spear-like’ stalks from the harvested GMOs are absolutely wreaking havoc on the heavy duty tractor tires.

    Described by one farmer as a ‘field of little spears’, farmers are now turning to kevlar tires. In case you’re not aware, kevlar is the same material used in bulletproof vests to protect from gun bullets.

    The stalks are so sharp and weapon-like that they can wreck an entire set of wheels, which is a daunting reality when considered that one tractor can have as many as eight heavy duty tires. Furthermore, a single tractor tire can easily cost thousands of dollars. Thanks to the GMO crops, the average lifespan of a tractor tire has dwindled from five or six years down to just one or two — if the farmer is lucky. Add that to the exponentially increased amount of pesticide use required to maintain modified crops thanks to heavily mutated ‘super’ rootworms and other insects, and it’s easy to see how GMO farming is nothing but a monetary pitfall for farmers.

  3. countryview

    The Law of private ownership provides the property owner with the right to defend one’s private property with lethal force if his/her life is in jeopardy. Question is, would you shoot a man over a carrot? After you’ve been robbed enough times, maybe you’d shoot a robber just to see him die.

  4. It's been done

    Its not a theoretical or existential question.
    People have been shot and killed for stealing fruit and vegetables in Barbados and not that long ago.

    Is that murder or self preservation for a failed legal system?

  5. Green Monkey

    The article below about worldwide, groundwater depletion explains why, if not addressed (and so far it is not being addressed), the ongoing depletion of water stored in underground aquifers will eventually impact the world’s ability to produce adequate food supplies:

    Our Oversized Groundwater Footprint
    by Sandra Postel

    We don’t see it, smell it or hear it, but the tragedy unfolding underground is nonetheless real – and it spells big trouble.
    I’m talking about the depletion of groundwater, the stores of H2O contained in geologic formations called aquifers, which billions of people depend upon to supply their drinking water and grow their food.

    For a long time, we had only a vague sense of the scale of this depletion, mostly through anecdotal evidence and selected country studies. While researching my 1999 book Pillar of Sand, I gathered the best data I could find at the time, and with all the necessary caveats, estimated that about 8-10 percent of the world’s food supply depended upon the draining of underground aquifers.

    About a decade later, modeling work by Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and his colleagues arrived at a global depletion estimate that produced a similar figure: their estimated 283 billion cubic meters of groundwater depleted in 2000 is sufficient to produce 188.6 million tons of grain, equal to 10 percent of that year’s global grain production. While not all groundwater pumped from the earth is used to produce grain, the vast majority of it is.

    In recent years a number of other studies, along with NASA’s GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission, have corroborated the dangerous trend. From the Arabian deserts to the North China Plain, and from the breadbasket of India to the fruit and vegetable bowl of the United States, we are increasingly dependent on the unsustainable use of groundwater.

    In effect, we’re robbing the Peters of the future to feed the Pauls of today.


    Unless we take action soon, we’ll bequeath to our children and grandchildren a whopping groundwater debt that makes food crises – and the social and political turmoil that springs from them – all but inevitable.

  6. Breadfruit

    We tried hard to grow some vegetables & fruits but too many thieves. We now fenced in our little bit of land so that’s easier to deal with (along with a dog that throws himself at the fence if you come close!) . I don’t like sprays but our neighbour sprays his land with something that turns it brown in an hour or to, water leaching through the soil to us, so now I grow vegetables in pots. Now I got to go to Environmental people cause of bush growing 12-15 ‘ next to part of our ground, the man won’t cut it back & half of it wild tamarind which is seeding in our garden , he doesn’t care, we both working 24/7. Disheartening to spend any free time trying to grow food to have it destroyed like this.

  7. Dear Readers,

    The Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI) of Barbados has been in the making since 2012 and I am proud to finally announce that our project has started.

    A couple days ago CPRI launched its KickStarter crowdfunding video campaign which I would like to share with you. The purpose of our project is to set up a permaculture school in Barbados to teach, educate and demonstrate through the principles of permaculture how to grow food, repair landscapes & build community. Permaculture is a design science, inspired by nature and guided by ethics. Its purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment. To this end, it empowers individuals, local communities and the larger public to build sustainable & environmentally friendly:

    •Food and Land Systems
    •Social and community systems
    •Shelter and home systems
    •Livelihood and business systems

    I hope you will take the time to watch the video link below. If this campaign is successful, it will help endure the life of this project, a project which I am committed to for the next 3 years. It is super exciting for me to share it with you and I hope, you find it exciting too!

    Please watch this 3 minute video before reading further

    Now…can you see why I am excited? Would you like to help me roll out this amazing campaign? If so, I would be indebted to you if you could do the following:
    1. Claim a reward by donating Any amount
    NOTE 1:
    Pledges can be as low as $1.00 Canadian and the quantum of your pledge will NOT be displayed, just your name as a “backer”.
    NOTE 2:
    Should you decide to pledge choosing a donate tab of your choice, it will prompt you to sign in with your FB account, or sign up with KickStarter. Please take the time to complete this important short step that is secured by KickStarter, thank you.
    2. Share this campaign with your family members and friends, and ask them to do the same.
    3. Post and share the campaign on your Facebook page, twitter and with others you know who would love to help us reach our goal. Thank you so much for your help!

    For your convenience, the following is a short version that you can use to email family and friends and/or post on social media outlets.

    “A Crowdfunding community initiative that I personally support has been started to assist in launching the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute of Barbados. Through the support of many people, rather than relying solely on, and chasing grants, we kindly ask you to watch this 3 minute video. Should you decide to support this project on KickStarter, pledges can be as low as $ 1.00 CDN and the quantum of your pledge is NOT displayed, just your name as a “backer”. By choosing a donate tab, it will prompt you to sign in with FB, or sign in with KickStarter. Please complete this important step secured by KickStarter. Thank you. Here is the link to the 3 minute video

    Thank you for your consideration and cooperation

    Help CPRI with its goals to empower people to green Barbados with food gardens everywhere on the island!

    God bless!

    Lorraine Ciarallo
    Site Manager, Designer and Consultant
    Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI) of Barbados
    Graeme Hall, Christ Church

  8. Pingback: Dear Colin Leslie Beadon… | Barbados Free Press