message from youth participant
We hope this letter finds you well, in good health and enjoying time with family. Just like many other countries across the globe, Mauritius is also in a Covid-imposed lockdown. As we had shared in our previous report, we were really looking forward to hosting Groups 4, 5 and 6 for Chapter 2 of The Agripreneurship program. Alas all of our educational programs came to a grinding halt with the lockdown. Inspite of the circumstances, we continue working as best as we can to keep the learning farm going, so we are ready to roll once programs are able to resume.
While we couldn't get people to the farm, we spent the past month getting our farm to people instead. You probably have experienced, to varying degrees, difficulties in accessing nourishing food during a lockdown. This was acutely felt by many familes, who found themselves with empty pantries in the wake of a lockdown that was imposed overnight. Coupled with the sudden and unexpected closure of supermarkets for 8 days, there were many families who were in dire need of food. As smallholder vegetable growers, we decided to reserve our supply for those who needed it most in the community. However, getting to the farm, let alone delivering vegetables was difficult without the right permits, and it truly took a village of volunteers to get food distribution going. We relied on volunteers to help us identify the families who needed it most, and to harvest, sort and pack the fruits and veggies on the farm. We are deeply grateful to Melibelle from Bois Marchand, Voahangy from Baie du Tombeau, and Diana in Terre Rouge, all of whom were participants of The Agripreneurship Program, and so many others in other regions including Pointe aux Piments, Grand Gaube, Cottage, Port Louis, Pointe aux Sable who offered their kind support in one way or another to make it all happen. Special mention should also be made of our volunteers - Andy and Shafiq - who kindly offered their help with security and transport. This experience showed us the importance of a community led distribution system, which was very efficient in reaching those who are in greater need. The power of the community and the grassroots !
In the midst of it all, it was also nice to receive messages from the Junior Youths, who are now seeing quite literally, the fruits of their labour. In Chapter 1 of the Agripreneurship Program, the junior youths were each given a seed to take home with them (which they planted in their very own upcycled pot as part of an activity). Chapter 1 took place over 3 months ago, and it was heart warming to receive messages of some of them harvesting their very own tomatoes and beans.
One silver lining of this Covid Mayhem, perhaps, is that the spotlight is shining alot brighter on the need for more resilient local food systems. Now more than ever, we will need more Agripreneurs, who can develop innovative ways to make our local food system better. As such, we are even more committed in setting up an Agripreneurs' Club for each of the following localities: Baie du Tombeau, La Tour Koenig, Bois Marchand, Cottage, Sainte-Croix, and Triolet. We are developing a structured series of lessons, that will enable each junior youth to develop the capacity to think critically and entrepreneurially, about how to improve their local food system for the better. Beyond that, we also need to work on getting the buy in of other stakeholders in the community, for example, with the local district council so we can have a safe space like the local community centre to work from. Indeed, it will take a village to see it come to fruition; and as we saw with our informal food distribution volunteer chain, there is no power greater than when a community comes together!
Thank you for being part of our community.
With deepest gratitude,
Kelly, Wesley & Team Farmcity
message from beneficiary
pay what you can
Packing veggies during Covid