Truddiann Ashmead reigns with flair
Truddiann Ashmead is no ordinary girl. Born in St Mary, but bred in the historic parish of St Thomas, she has forged through limitations and leads by example. She always exudes poise, intelligence, and an energetic personality wherever she goes, and now has set out to bring "a different kind of flair to agriculture".
Last year, she was crowned by the Jamaica Agricultural Society as Jamaica's 54th National Farm Queen. There is a magnet that has been pulling Ashmead to this field. It's a love for farming and a seed she wishes other women would start sewing. "I believe this is the vehicle for sustainable growth and development for our country's economy, and I want to be a part of this initiative. The National Farm Queen Competition was the perfect avenue for me to access the necessary networks, right opportunities, and information that pertains to the future of agriculture," Ashmead explained.
She is a gender enthusiast and an aspiring policy writer. She has a Gender and Development Major at the University of the West Indies and wants to use her knowledge and skills to "rightly" shed light on the issues that affect farmers is always a joyous moment for the bold Ashmead. Pots of positive changes are the fruits she hopes will ensue from her efforts.
SET FOR THE THRONE
Describing herself as a goal-oriented individual, and perfectionist, wears a number of hats. These all help to define her as the royalty she is. Winning all the major pageants in her home parish, one could say is a foreshadowing of her victory in the Farm Queen competition. She also rules as an ambassador of her parish, as chairman of its youth council and planning secretary at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation. "I push myself to extremes just to see how much pressure I can withstand. I can't help it. I love to explore and learn new things," she said.
In addition to her playing this crucial role in the agribusiness, Ashmead is also a mother and wife. Balancing her multiple duties at times gets difficult, she admitted, but she always finds a way to perform all at her best. Her chirpy three-year-old child and loving husband she declared, are the major sources of motivation that drive this queen bee of farming.
A QUEEN IN HER OWN RIGHT
While she acknowledges the value of her predecessors, the reigning queen believes that she has brought something fresh to the 'farming table'. "I've realised that societal roles facilitate vulnerabilities to men and women differently. I'm able to assess and address all of these concerns, no matter what they are. Also, I have moved beyond the surface of things affecting this sector and I intend to get to the bottom of these issues that I know are crippling agriculture," she said.
One of her visions is to see that every Jamaican gets involved in some form of agricultural venture, be it the traditional food production or the financial side of this world. Even so, Jamaica's evolution to a complete state of self sufficiency through a greater production of agricultural outputs for consumption, and women being given greater access to financing these pursuits are her ultimate desires. "These are my dreams, I have already started to work assiduously towards each of them. I aim to continue promoting agriculture as a viable option and directing persons to the relevant agencies and available opportunities. When I become a policy writer, I will be an agent for change working to resolve issues that affect both genders in my area," she promised.