Grow It Yourself (GIY) Challenge
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ‘this pandemic is impacting global food systems, disrupting regional agricultural value chains, and posing risks to household food security’. While Trinidad and Tobago’s Government has been guided by the WHO as well as local medical experts in the management of this worldwide pandemic, what is also needed to support the social services initiatives is parallel strategies to address the immediate to medium term impact on families due to loss of jobs, reduced incomes, threat to food supply and many of the other socio and psychological effects of the households within communities.
The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries (MALF) and the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government (MRLG) is proposing a Community Kitchen Garden Initiative to support the call for increased food production but focusing on the micro level of the households within communities. This initiative takes a community based approach and through a competition format seeks to provide incentives for persons to adopt home gardening. The initiative further supports the Agriculture Ministry’s grow box project and seed distribution initiative which targets 50 000 households.
1. Stimulate interest in home gardening within communities
2. Support Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries seed distribution programme by providing incentives for uptake
3. Support national call to improve food security through planting of short and long terms crops
4. Support need for healthier lifestyles in communities
5. Encourage first time home gardens
6. Encourage young persons to participate
7. Stimulate interest in this type of agricultural pursuit of cultivating kitchen gardens by homeowners and small scale gardeners,
8. Explore agriculture as another avenue to building resilience in communities through the adoption of new family oriented activities
9. Provides another platform for Best Village programme competition
10. Encourage /teach use of small spaces to plant a kitchen garden
This is a national competition which focuses only on the growth of food crops by non-registered farmers. Persons who are professional farmers or engage in large scale farming are ineligible for entry. Members of staff are also ineligible to enter the competition
The emphasis is on growing healthy crops within a home environment.
All gardens should be grown at the home of the competitor within the boundary of their property.
The judging will be limited to the crops grown within the six (6) week competition period.
The crops which will be adjudicated for the competition are:
Short term (30 days est.)
Shadon Beni (30)
Mustard Greens (30)
Tomatoes (80 days)
Sweet peppers (60 days)
Cucumber (60 days)
All competitors must grow at least four (4) of the listed crops in their kitchen garden which should be listed upon registration.
No food crops outside the approved list should be grown in the same garden plot/ grow box/ pot as the crops being adjudicated.
There will be four (4) main categories and two special categories for adjudication:
CATEGORY GARDEN SPACE (SQUARE FEET)
a) Small Kitchen Garden 8 – 16 sq. ft.
b) Medium Kitchen Garden 16 – 24 sq. ft.
c) Large Kitchen Garden 24 – 60 sq. ft.
d) Best Hydroponic Kitchen Garden 16 – 60 sq. ft.
Most Innovative Kitchen Garden
Most Sustainable Kitchen Garden
Crops can be planted in any object available (e.g. ground, grow box, pot etc.) and may be of any shape but must:
Be within the boundaries of their property and Stay within the square footage allocated for the category.
Guidelines and links to videos highlighting best practices for gardening can be found on the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ website.
The competition will run for six (6) weeks, the expected duration for the selected crops to achieve maturation and produce.
Each garden should utilize at least four (4) of the listed crops across any category.
Competitors will be required to submit three (3) videos no longer than 90 seconds each, showcasing their garden before the specified date.
All videos will be uploaded via social media links to the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ website.
The videos should highlight the garden after the following timeframes and be submitted no more than three (3) days after the corresponding period of competition:
- June 8th- Ready! Set! Plant!
- June 15th to 17th- Registration and First Video Submission
- June 29th to July 1st- Second Video submission
- July 20th to 22nd- Final Video submission and end of the competition
Random site visits will be conducted by Ministry Officials during the competition.
The People’s Choice will be adjudicated via Social Media in the week following the close of submissions.
All results will be announced within four (4) weeks after the close of competition.
The top three (3) winners will be announced for each of the Eleven (11) Administrative Districts throughout Trinidad and Tobago namely:
- St George East
- St George West
- Victoria East
- Victoria West
- Caroni South
- Caroni North
- St Patrick East
- St Patrick West
- St Andrew/St David
District categories will be adjudicated by a panel of five (5) judges consisting of members of the community, technical experts nominated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Community Development, Culture and the Arts.
Overall categories will be adjudicated by a panel of experts as selected by the Ministries of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and Community Development, Culture and the Arts.
Most Innovative Kitchen Garden prize will be given to the top competitor with the highest Overall Innovation score in each category.
Most Sustainable Kitchen Garden prize will be given to the top competitor with the highest Sustainability score in each category.
The People’s Choice Award will be issued based on the competitor whose videos achieved the most number of votes.
The main categories will be adjudicated as follows:
a. Best Kitchen Garden
BEST KITCHEN GARDEN – CATEGORY DESCRIPTION POINTS
Plant/crop health and maturity Overall health of the plants and/or crop. E.g. number of yellow or discolored leaves, signs of pests, level of development for its age, etc. 30pts
Yield/quantity of crop Yield achieved based on the average expectation for the crop. E.g. the number of or size of the crops is larger or smaller than the norm 30pts
Overall Innovation New or underutilized solutions to concerns or drawbacks, in gardening. E.g. plant rotation, watering or fertilizing mechanisms, etc. 15pts
Sustainability “Green” garden practices such as upcycled and recycled materials, water conservation, composting etc. 15pts
Creativity Aesthetic choices e.g. Use of colored fertilizer, or pebbles, inclusion of flowers, garden layout and design etc. 10pts
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