Jaxine Scott is not aware of anyone else involved in farming in her community of Rockfort, which is located in Kingston.

She has been doing subsistence farming over the years partly because she has a relatively large backyard, unlike many other urban people.

Scott, a teacher at Elletson Primary and Infant School, has been digging deeper into farming since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused schools island-wide to close.

“I was at home doing nothing – nothing to do, because school was out, and so I decided to do some planting. I planted calalloo, pak choi, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, hot pepper, sweet pepper, cantaloupe, melon, escallion, Irish potato – and I planted some sorrel and pumpkin,” she explained.

Scott further stated that, whenever she reaps the crops, she shares them with relatives and friends.

She also share photographs and videos of her yields.

One of her co-workers became cognizant of her work and encouraged her to participate in the Family Backyard Garden Challenge, hosted by The Jamaica 4-H Clubs.

Scott took the advice, but she did not bother to put any extra effort into preparing for the competiton.

On February 4, she journeyed to Linstead in St. Catherine, where she was declared the Kingston winner of the challenge, which is aimed at strengthening subsistence farming to improve food production, food security, and food diversification.

“I am elated, and this only encourages me to keep on going,” Scott told The Beacon in relation to the win at the parish level. “It means I am doing something right. It doesn’t just stop here; I will continue to farm.”

Scott will next head to the national finals where she will compete with other parish winners. She intends to perform at the best of her ability.

Whether or not she wins nationally, Scott is happy to have been able to cut her food bill by doing subsistence farming – essentially growing crops to feed her household.

She encourages other city people to follow suit whether or not they have a large backyard.

“I would tell persons to go ahead and try the farming – even quick crops. You don’t have to do a big thing. You would be frightened to see how much you can reap. Even in Christmas, the prices of tomatoes and sweet pepper were sky high… I planted those [crops] and could reap them,” Scott further reasoned.

“It is a good feeling when you plant the things and you can reap them, knowing that what you are eating is from your hands. You planted them, you watched them grow, and you reaped them. It is a good feeling.”


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By Mills