New Connections, Revelations, and Relaxation
Jadrienne Horton 3rd Year MPH/MSW, Health and Behavior, Student
3rd Year MPH/MSW Health and Behavior Student
As we began to descend into Grenada, I looked out my window on the plane and was met with the most bluest beautiful body of water I have ever seen. As we deboarded the plane, I was able to take a better view of the ocean. I was overcome by a feeling of tranquility. The different tones of blue, the white sand, palm trees, the clear blue sky which complimented the water and the beams from the rays of the sun was all perfection. As I took in the scene, I realized this was my first time ever seeing an ocean front beach in person. As we explored the island, I instantly felt a deeper connection with nature, because I was able to see things that I interact with on a daily basis in their natural environment. Seeing bananas and mangos hanging from trees, clove brushes growing, little crabs running around and much more, I experienced nature in a new way!
When we see chocolate in the stores or nutmeg packaged in a container, we never think about how these items were produced. Most of the time, they are artificially produced in a factory. Grenada, also known as Spice Isle is known for their variety of spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon and mace. They are also a major producer of agriculture and known
for their seafood products. This was evident as I toured the island and was able to experience the natural environment. Many Grenadians, especially the elder population, grow their own produce, raise livestock and catch their seafood themselves. During an island tour, I saw many small gardens. Due to the hilly landscape, some of these gardens were plotted on the slopes and peaks of elevated hills. I was impressed to learn that many elders climb these hills to tend to their gardens. I could not fathom climbing a hill and having to work along a slope. Visiting the different parishes, I witnessed how Grenadian residents produced foods based on their geographical location within the country. The geographical composition looks different throughout the island. For example, the middle region of the island has more lush green vegetation because it's mostly forest. Given this vast difference in landscape, residents produce different foods based on their location. In the countryside, people farmed and raise livestock and in the fishing port towns located next to the ocean, fishers catch fish. Here in the U.S. most of our food is imported and/or processed in factories. I was astounded by the natural approach taken to produce food. While this all impressed me and my colleagues, I was stunned to learn that the farming industry was declining in Grenada, due to the younger population's reluctance to join the industry.
According to our tour guide, the advancement of technology and the rapid rate of globalization has led to the farming industry being seen as an unattractive profession. This has contributed to the loss of indigenous and ancestral wisdom in dietary and traditional medicines practices. Many are shifting from subsistence farming as well and are relying on imported food to feed their families. While many restaurants produce traditional cultural foods obtained from local farmers and markets, through talking with local residents and conducting an environmental scan, many fast-food places are starting to emerge. This trend is expected to continue if awareness is not made about the importance of harvesting food. It is especially important to promote this message to youth as they are the next generation of leaders and change markers. It is crucial to encourage and teach youth the benefits of being outdoors and using their hands to produce food. The future of Grenada’s food industry lies in their hands. According to the Chinese proverb, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Essentially, teaching youth to grow and produce their own food will feed them for a lifetime. Empowered to be a part of the solution, I hope to learn how to grow my own food as well. While this will not support Grenada directly, it will help sustain the natural environment.
“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” - Mahatma Gandhi