Aug 19, 2021

Women in Jamaica Embrace Aquaponics

Felicia D. earns INMED Aquaponics certification
Felicia D. earns INMED Aquaponics certification

Dear Valued Supporter:

Agriculture has been an integral part of the Jamaican economy, and for many years, local agriculture accounted for most of the food consumed in the country. As climate change disrupts the food supply and production on the island, INMED Aquaponics® is leading the charge to assist farmers in implementing aquaponics systems to ensure sustainable livelihoods and food security for local communities. 

One such farmer is Vanessa G. from Manchester.  She was previously involved in livestock farming but decided to focus on fish farming—a long-time interest. She had the basic knowledge of the process as well as some equipment to start on this new venture and reached out to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) for technical guidance. RADA connected her to the Senior Regional Technical Officer at INMED Caribbean, who explained the benefits of aquaponics and INMED’s free training program for farmers.

“I decided to go through the training, because after I received the initial information from the INMED team, I wanted to learn more,” says Vanessa. In addition to learning how aquaponics is climate resilient, less labor intensive and yields significantly higher harvests than traditional farming year-round, she also was impressed with the environmental benefits.

“Because aquaponics doesn’t use dirt, there is no need for certain herbicides, fertilizers and chemicals,” says Vanessa. “The fish provides most of the nutrients you need for your system.”

She was one of the first to achieve free online certification in INMED Aquaponics® and built her own backyard aquaponics system under the guidance of INMED Caribbean’s technical team. “The great thing about INMED Aquaponics is that the system is scalable, and you can move at your own pace,” she notes. “You can start small with just one tank and then you can build your system and increase as you see fit.”  

Vanessa already had fish tanks and some of equipment, which helped reduce cost. And because INMED’s systems are constructed of locally available materials and can be solar powered, construction costs are affordable. “INMED’s guidance through the process of setting up my system was extremely valuable,” she says.

There are many success stories of farmers who have taken the aquaponics plunge in Jamaica and are now producing enough vegetables to supply their families and sell for extra income. Still others are in various stages of implementation. One such farmer is Felicia D., also from Manchester. She found INMED Caribbean while researching aquaponics online. Felicia has always been interested in farming and wants to contribute to the Vision 2030 strategy for food security. She is building out her commercial aquaponics system with the assistance of a neighbor who has a thriving hydroponics system.

Felicia completed the INMED Aquaponics® training and is in the process of getting her system up and running. "INMED Caribbean has been great during this process,” she says. “They have helped me with any issue I’ve faced while sorting everything out. INMED also mentored and coached us through the financing process and was with us the entire journey.” INMED Caribbean also has trained RADA agents across the island to provide ongoing technical assistance to farmers when they need it.

Lorna S., a RADA Senior Livestock Parish Officer for Manchester, recommends INMED’s aquaponics training for all farmers interested in fish farming and vegetable production. She was one of the first RADA agents to be trained in INMED Aquaponics in 2018.  “You can produce fish and vegetables simultaneously, and you can set a higher price for the vegetables since they don’t contain harmful pesticides,” she says. “And because you can do aquaponics in smaller spaces, it’s a new way of rearing fish without having a pond. I always tell people about INMED Aquaponics and highly recommend the training.”

Thanks to your generous support, INMED Caribbean is equipping women in a climate-vulnerable region how to strengthen their food security, climate adaptation, livelihoods and self-reliance through INMED Aquaonics®. Learn more at https://inmedcaribbean.org.

As always, thank you for your support! If you haven't done so already, please consider becoming a recurring donor and share this project with your friends.

With gratitude,

The INMED Caribbean Team

Vanessa G. tends her backyard aquaponics system
Vanessa G. tends her backyard aquaponics system
Farmers get hands-on technical + business training
Farmers get hands-on technical + business training
Women see aquaponics as a path to self-reliance
Women see aquaponics as a path to self-reliance
Trained RADA agents offer ongoing tech support
Trained RADA agents offer ongoing tech support

Links:

Jul 16, 2021

Seeds for Life expands to neighboring communities

Gardener brings Seeds for Life to Graaf-Reinet
Gardener brings Seeds for Life to Graaf-Reinet

Dear Supporter of this Impactful Project:

It's amazing what happens when you plant a few seeds. If you care for them, they will grow! Thanks to you, our team at INMED South Africa is expanding Seeds for Life beyond Port Elizabeth to impoverished communities in neighboring Graaf-Reinet, Eastern Cape province.

The impetus for this expansion began with an aspiring gardener in the Kroonvale community of Graaff-Reinet, who encountered many challenges to his backyard farming efforts, such as water scarcity and his inability to afford seeds, compost and other inputs. He approached the INMED South Africa team for assistance after learning about our aquaponics projects at two local schools and INMED’s Seeds for Life project in Port Elizabeth.

After visiting the gardener and talking with his neighbors, our team saw an urgent need to help the community strengthen its food security during the COVID pandemic.

When African Bank learned of the need to expand Seeds for Life to Graaff-Reinet, its CSI and Environmental Sustainability Units saw a good fit for support. Teams from both of these Units are working with INMED South Africa to help extend the Seeds for Life program by identifying beneficiaries in low-resourced communities, who could benefit from this kind of program.

“The partnership with INMED is an opportunity to not only address social challenges, such as food security experienced in vulnerable communities, but also to enable us to support developing skills that support the green economy by creating innovative green agro-entrepreneurship opportunities and providing lifelong value to the very generation that holds the power to transition us into a more environmentally responsible nation,” said African Bank Sustainability Specialist Siphilile Shange.

A new aspect of Seeds for Life that will be piloted in Graaf-Reinet is the establishment of gardening skovels. Skovels are South Africa's version of a Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in which a group of typically a dozen individuals contribute an agreed-upon amount of money to a collective savings account. Skovel members take turns reaping the dividends. In the same vein, INMED's Seeds for Life skovels will encourage food gardening by providing skovel groups with free seasonal seeds, seedling trays, grow media, training and training material--with the added benefits of social support and interactions with neighbors who will share knowledge, inputs and harvests as their gardens flourish.

"The beauty of the program is that it is sustainable and can really change lives," says Dr. Sandra Pretorius, who coordinates the Seeds for Life project for INMED South Africa. 

As always, we thank you for your support and encourage you to consider becoming a recurring donor to scale the impact of this transformational project.

Wishing you good health and safety until our next update!

The INMED South Africa Team

Family receives resources & training to garden
Family receives resources & training to garden
Proud gardener shows off first beet harvest
Proud gardener shows off first beet harvest

Links:

Jul 8, 2021

INMED launches online aquaponics training

A screen shot of NMED Aquaponics training online!
A screen shot of NMED Aquaponics training online!

Dear Valued Supporter:

 

Thanks to your support, we are pleased to report that our INMED Andes team is poised to launch an online introductory course in INMED Aquaponics® for the teachers in training at the Instituto Superior Pedagógico Bilingüe de Yarinacocha and neighboring agricultural research university in Ucayali, Peru.

 

The online training is an adaptation of INMED's successes implementing similar online aquaponics training courses used by INMED Caribbean in Jamaica and INMED South Africa to equip participants with the skills and resources needed not just to survive, but thrive.. It will facilitate the expansion of INMED Aquaponics® at a time when food insecurity and loss of sustainable livelihoods have reached shocking levels in the Peruvian Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic. INMED Aquaponics® is also being embraced as a solution for climate migration, which is on the rise in the Amazon.

 

Additional hands-on in-person training will be available to indigenous teachers-in-training, researchers and students on the new INMED Aquaponics® system to be built when COVID restrictions are lifted. 

 

The online aquaponics training course will include technical and business instruction on aquaponics operations, crop selection, water resource management, nutrition and marketing and business planning to encourage students to launch their own agri- and aquaponics enterprises, similar to the INMED Aquaponics ® Social Enterprise initiative that INMED is scaling initially in South Africa, with plans to expand this ultimately self-sustaining model to low-resource, high-need communities worldwide.    

 

Stay tuned for more updates and reports from students who aspire to be INMED Aquaponics® farmers in the Peruvian Amazon and THANK YOU for your ongoing support!

 

—The INMED Andes Team

Links:

 
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