The Sojourner Foundation started our student internship programme in May 2021 working with ten of our students from the September to December 2020 YFLP. This start was delayed due to the rise in Covid-19 cases on the island in January and the volcanic eruption of La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent caused further delays. It will run through September 2022, when the next cohort of students will start their training.
The internship programme continues to focus on hands on sustainable agriculture practices including soil amendment, planting and management of various crops. We have created a cooperative element in which our interns can sell the produce that they plant on Kamp Deed and retain a portion of the proceeds. The crops that have been planted are cucumbers, chives, thyme, green beans, lettuce, bok choi, sweet potatoes and cassava. The students are also processing fruits to create value added products such as mango chutney and salsa. We have continued to look at the development of their soft skills and innovative business development through mentorship and entrepreneurial training. In sharing the history of agriculture in Barbados as part of teaching sessions, we decided to take the interns on a hike to allow them to connect with the historical agricultural landscapes and to gain knowledge of the many varieties of plant life located here.
We have allocated half acre of land for the students to supplement the crops that they have already planted to ensure we have a greater variety of produce. We started to clear the space allocated but we are seeking additional funding necessary to have it ploughed and furrowed and to purchase the seedlings.
With just over three months left in the programme, we are hoping to have a greater variety of produce and products for sale to the public and youth who are more empowered to follow their dreams and exact change in their communities.
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