I've just come back from an 8 day holiday in Antigua where my mum has moved to. It was a lovely experience with friendly people and warm weather. I spent most of my time swimming and snorkelling but next time I visit I plan on doing some treks and getting to know the islands nature.
I did make sure I met with some growers whilst out there, I met with Aidan but unfortunately didn't met Zoe as she's currently in the UK. They run The Tree Tribe The Tree Tribe where they are growing thousands of fruit trees to give out to local communities to plant in their yard so everyone has access to fruit. I got to see baby bananas, papayas, mangoes, citrus amongst other fruits that grow very well in Antigua. They pick the fruit and clean the seeds which they germinate easily and pot up in plastic free mesh bags.
They have already sent out their first batch of seedlings to the Ministry of Agriculture who dispersed them out to organisations, churches, schools and individuals. They plan on holding onto this batch of seedlings for longer this time to make sure they are sturdy plants before planting as they couldn't really catch up with the plants after going into the ground and am afraid of drought.
It's a really great initiative as they have the space and enthusiasm to grow all these trees and due to Covid, tourism has dwindled which the country usually relies on and the government hasn't provided much support for the people so if people can make some money from selling fruit which they got the tree for free then that's great.
Since my mum has moved to Antigua a year and half ago she's made good friends with Trevor and Morelove, they live off the grid and produce everything they live off (except the brownies she bakes them every Sunday). We went for a visit and they showed me all the fruit and vegetables they are growing in very neat heaped rows. I was really impressed on how productive and weed free the site was for only the two of them. I asked Trevor how much land they're on and he answered he just uses the machete. Meaning he doesn't know and just clears land as they need it.
Trevor showing me the seasoning peppers, tiny little green bell peppers that are good raw and cooked.
Here's Morelove and I in front of the silk cotton tree Ceiba pentandra named for it's fluffy seeds which fill the air like snow. As it gets older it drops it's spines on the trunk, but I mean really old, the other tree which was smooth was probably 150 years old.
This was the only fungi I saw the whole time and I've never seen anything like it, it was furry but like bristles.
Morelove with bugament bananas.
I then took a visit to The Antigua/Barbuda Horticultural Society garden and met Barbara Japal the president. She showed me their new facilities including their own seed storing room, they want to fill it with native seeds and heritage fruits and vegetables. By getting local farmers involved they can help store all the seed they need to keep their produce stable. www.antiguahorticulture.com
Canonball tree Couroupita guianensis and ........ Most of the trees had these lovely seams on every branch created by termites travel up the tree.
I took shade under this big tree that I thought hmm what a strange trunk, until I realised it was a climber that had completely engulfed a palm inside it.