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Antigua church community is going green to grow green

It was a sunny morning and a scenic drive through the southwestern countryside. The final destination was a plot of land in the idyllic village of Old Road. The unassuming three acres of land is owned by the Old Road Seventh Day Adventist (ORSDA) Church. It lay covered in secondary vegetation, locally known as Cassie, but would stir to life after several years of lying inactive.

The members within the ORSDA community service group had big plans for sustainable use of the land. The group would embark on a project funded by the GEF Small Grants Program – UNDP entitled, "The Introduction of Climate Smart Agriculture through Hydroponics Production to Strengthen Community Development." Through this project, they would produce nutritious herbs and leafy green crops, which would support the church's mission to reach out tangibly to the community.

With the land newly fenced and some Cassie cleared away, the assembly of the production site was underway. Projects are never implemented without challenges, though, and in the very early stages of the project. The team had to schedule work in between tropical weather systems, work around material shortages, and finalize a shift in the ultimate design of the system.

The end result was a more affordable and efficient system, which is a significant boon for a project implemented in a water-scarce country. While a church group may not necessarily be considered as project implementers in the field of climate-smart agriculture, the men and women of this Faith-based Organization (FBO) took up this challenge with zeal. Armed with a strong complement of technical experts, a team from the church community, as well as nearby farmers, were mentored and trained to implement innovative, hydroponic farming practices that utilize less water than conventional hydroponic systems.

Read the entire article at Antigua Observer

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