As Jamaica experiences increasingly severe impacts of climate change and food insecurity, more farmers are turning toward environmentally sustainable farming practices. More specifically, commercial farmers and those interested in small-scale farming for their families' needs are implementing aquaponics systems in their backyards.
Louis McLaren, who has a backyard aquaponics system at his home in St Ann, said he was drawn to this method of farming because of its sustainability. “I started aquaponics about six years ago when I retired. I knew I wanted to do some farming, and aquaponics appealed to me because of its organic nature. It is healthier and it uses less water than traditional farming.” When he learned about INMED Caribbean's free aquaponics training, McLaren said, “I knew I had to jump on board.”
The project manager for INMED Caribbean, Earl Ashley, urged more Jamaicans to adapt this farming practice with free training from INMED. “When you look at all the benefits that you can gain from an aquaponics system, it just makes sense to implement one,” he said. “You do not need a big plot of land like traditional farming. You can use your backyard to start a small system and expand as you wish. I can guarantee you that with a backyard aquaponics system, you will see a return on your investment.”
INMED has built and commissioned aquaponics systems for technical schools, a facility for incarcerated youth, a residential facility for individuals with disabilities, and farm cooperatives throughout Jamaica since 2010.
In addition to technical training, INMED's aquaponics program provides free business coaching, access to financing, links to markets, training and ongoing technical assistance from INMED-trained RADA agents to help small-scale farmers, women, and youth start aquaponics enterprises.
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