by Cita Nicholas
Why a Backyard Garden? When I was 11–12 years of age, I took a garden fork, dug up a section of my parent’s yard, while they were at work, and I planted popcorn and Irish potatoes [true story].
This was the beginning of my family’s backyard garden, in Canada. I was born in Grenada and was excited to return so that I could do what I’ve always wanted to do… garden all year round.
Fast forward to 2021 and we find ourselves wondering what the future will hold since Covid-19 has sent the whole world into a tailspin of confusion and uncertainty. During the Covid-19 lockdown, I found myself in the same predicament as many other Grenadians… No access to grocery stores… no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as I had just settled into my new home and had not started gardening, yet. Today, everything I eat comes from my own backyard garden.
I took the lockdown as an opportunity to keep myself busy by preparing my garden plots. Gardening can be a lot of work, but it is so rewarding. Just imagine if during the lockdown you could have gone to your backyard garden and picked a little bok choy, cabbage, green beans, and tomatoes to feed you and your family, and shared the excess produce with your neighbours. Instead, we rely on imports of unhealthy, processed, and packaged foods.
In fact, Grenada’s import bill for food was $US400 million in 2018. 70% of our nation’s food is imported and with the rise in imports, an increase in obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. It is a known fact that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits will reduce belly fat, lower blood sugar levels, and hypertension as well as increase energy levels.
Grenada has so much fertile land. My dad tells me that at one time every household had a little backyard garden. So what happened? We tell ourselves we have no time… it is more convenient, and I will go as far as to say prestige. We look like we poor people when we toil in the garden, but your neighbour sees you go to the big grocery store, they know you have money. Yes, I’ve gone there.
We have to take control of our own well-being. Hard times have just arrived and will not be going away for a very long time. It is said that food is medicine. Avoid the doctor, obesity, diabetes and hypertension by growing and eating from your own backyard garden.
Cita Nicholas is a retired educator, and a member of the Backyard Garden Network