INMED Partnerships for Children rescues children from the immediate and irreversible harm of disease, hunger, abuse, neglect, violence or instability and prepares them to shape a brighter future for themselves and the next generation. INMED’s vision is to transform the future for generations of children by building continuity of support from infancy to adulthood.
What can produce 10 times more crops in the same amount of space as traditional agriculture, consumes approximately 75 percent less energy than mechanized agriculture and uses 80 to 90 percent less water? Agriculture’s not-so-new but popular relative, aquaponics.
The food production system — which combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics to create a symbiotic ecosystem and dates as far back as Aztec cultivation — requires low capital investment, uses minimal energy and is resilient against extreme weather. These are just a few of the reasons it’s risen to the top of conversations about climate-smart solutions and why INMED Partnerships for Children has piloted them throughout Jamaica, Peru and South Africa.
As farmers across the island struggle to cope with the impact of a devastating drought, in the heart of Denham Town, Kingston, a project to enrich the minds and bodies of at-risk youth is taking root. There at the Metcalf Street Juvenile Secure Centre the investment in an aquaponics food production system is generating interest and excitement among officers and wards alike, as they buy into the science of this climate-smart closed-growing system.
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines aspects of conventional aquaculture (in this case tilapia rearing) with hydroponics, which involves the cultivation of plants in nutrient solutions with or without an inert medium (as soil) to provide mechanical support. And judging from the pak choi, lettuce and okra I saw thriving in beds of gravel, assistant superintendent Sabrina Shepherd Holness has every right to be proud, and for a number of reasons.
Since January, a total of 97 dozen okras, 109 pounds of pak choi, as well as 30 pounds of tilapia have been harvested, most of which was used in the kitchen, with the rest sold to staff at concession rates.
The choice of crops is dictated by the closed-growing system which sees the water (rich in nitrates as a result of the fish waste) in which the tilapia are raised, being piped to the vegetables, which uses up the nitrates before the water is piped back to the fish tanks, as agricultural instructor Tasshei Mitchell explained.
Toward its goal to make the Harvest the Future International Symposium the most innovative forum on small-scale agriculture, INMED has added new speakers and panelists to the schedule. The new speakers include an array of specialists who will shed light on and generate discussion about food security, climate change, and innovations for small-scale production. Topics range from harvesting and farming meteorology to financial solutions for small-scale farming. Newly confirmed speakers include:
Luther Buchanan, Jamaica Deputy Minister of Agriculture
Mario Kerby, Chemonics
Leslie Simpson, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute
Michael Taylor, University of the West Indies
Neil Curtis, Farm Up Jamaica
Jozimo Santos Rocha, Adventist Development and Relief Agency
Sydney Henry, Sandals Foundation
Practitioners from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Meddle East
The new speakers will join previously announced speakers Denise Herbol, Mission Director of USAID Jamaica, Chris Somerville of FAO, Wayne Beecher and Therese Turner-Jones of the Inter-American Development Bank, and Thad Jackson of INMED. The symposium also features an off-site tour, which will allows attendees to visit and experience successful commercial-scale aquaponic systems currently operating in Jamaica.
The Harvest the Future International Symposium will take place June 14-17 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. For more information, or to see the full schedule, visit: www.harvestthefuture.org.… Read the rest
A recently completed aquaponic system in Peru will create a sustainable source of fish and vegetables, providing quality nutrition to the local schools and community. The material and labor for the aquaponic system, which was funded as part of a project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were all sourced locally, bringing work and economic development to the community. Along with the nutritional and economic value of the aquaponic system, the initiative brings an educational aspect as well, educating the children, their family members and teachers about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. INMED Partnerships for Children volunteer Kristin Callahan, who helped guide the implementation of the aquaponic system, hopes that it will have a long-term impact of changing nutritional behavior in the area as well as inspiring others to employ sustainable agriculture techniques.
Callahan also noted the impact the aquaponic system has in the community, specifically in the schools. Students and teachers alike are eager to incorporate aquaponics into the curriculum. The community welcomes aquaponics and are excited to see the long-term benefits of the program. By introducing the educational aspect of the initiative, INMED hopes to create a long-lasting impact on the community.
The completed aquaponic system also plays an important role in the deworming initiative INMED is leading in Peru.… Read the rest