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Have fun while planting food | #socialmedia | #hacking | #facebook | #cybersecurity | #informationsecurity


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Alpha Sennon, left, at an agriculture festival in 2019. Sennon’s goal alongside WhyFarm- an NGO he founded- is to ensure that each household in TT achieves food security by growing their own foods. – Photo Courtesy Alpha Sennon

EATING fresh fruit and vegetables can help keep you healthy, but have you ever thought about using them as gym equipment to keep you fit? Yes, you read that right.

With people starting odd challenges on the internet to pass their time in self-isolation, Alpha Sennon has started one too, but hopes people can find the deeper meaning while having fun.

In late March, he jokingly posted a video on Facebook using 30 pounds of green bananas as weights.

In a mocking response, his friends soon began posting videos using pumpkins, yam and whatever fresh produce they found to work out.

His first video was merely to provide comic relief to those on social media during the covid19 pandemic.

Alpha Sennon is the founder of local agriculture NGO WhyFarm and started the #AgriGymChallenge to help people understand that they can have fun while planting their own food. – Photo Courtesy Alpha Sennon

However, being the founder of local agriculture NGO WhyFarm, Sennon quickly found that by creating an “Agri-Gym Challenge” he could encourage people to plant and add to the group’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of agriculture.

“Even if you can’t go in the gym, at this time, you can create that gym while planting.

“Agriculture is very therapeutic and contributes to a healthy lifestyle in different ways,” he said, speaking to Newsday about the social media challenge and local food security.

In encouraging people to post videos, on social media, using fresh produce as “gym equipment” with #AgriGymChallenge in the caption, he also wants them to realise that growing their own food is fun.

Alpha Sennon, left, stands in a dasheen bush patch while speaking to students of SacodaServ’s STEM programme, at WhyFarm’s headquarters in Siparia. During his presentation to the students, Sennon spoke to them about the process of growing dasheen bush. He explained the leafy part of the crop is used to make “callaloo” while the root is eaten as dasheen provision. – Photo Courtesy Alpha Sennon

“Folks have been calling each other to do push-ups and extempo challenges.

“We as farmers, at WhyFarm, are now taking the lead on a social challenge by doing the #AgriGymChallenge.”

With covid19 creating additional buzz on the topic of food security, he hopes people can take this moment to see the importance of growing their own food, especially in times when food availability may become uncertain amidst potential disruptions to imports.

One service offered by WhyFarm is a Plant Yuh Plate Starter Kit. People can buy the kit, which includes seedlings of 50 different small crops, two bags of soil mix and an accompanying structure that can be used to plant the seedlings even in small spaces.

A “greenhouse” built by WhyFarm using bamboo and plastic bottles. The group teaches people how to build structures, like greenhouses, at home to show it is possible to effectively grow their own food. – Photo Courtesy Alpha Sennon

However, the goal is not just profit but to teach people the fundamentals of backyard gardening and help households achieve food security.

“The more you plant, the more you reduce what you order from us. The goal is for people to become food secure and ensure household food security.

“It’s a win-win for everyone. Yes, it’s backyard gardening to eat your own food, but also you can actually start to sell or even exchange excess produce.”

If customers reach a point where they harvest more than they need, WhyFarm will buy the excess produce and incorporate it into the group’s operations, which include providing for those in need.

To help small farmers who are suffering losses during covid19 restrictions, WhyFarm has created a digital Dash-In Yuh Doorstep Market, which collects produce from small farmers and delivers it to customers, all to boost the farmers’ sales. The group is also mobilising with rice farmers in Moruga to distribute rice to families in need.

Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat recently announced a government initiative to provide 50,000 households with seeds to plant. Sennon supports the move.

Before this, WhyFarm was already doing of its own seed distribution in collaboration with the UN Development Programme. Sangre Grande, Siparia and Moruga are some of the communities to be targeted in this effort.

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