Adventists promoting healthy lifestyle in St Mary and Portland
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has endorsed a pioneering initiative by the Seventh-day Adventist Church that utilises greenhouse farming to create employment and revenue and promote healthy lifestyle in St Mary and Portland.
Speaking earlier this week at an agricultural health exhibition in Dover, St Mary, Allen praised the church's North East Jamaica Conference (NEJC) for launching the Save Our Schools through Industries and Commitment (SOSTIC) scheme, which aims to raise funds for three local schools.
He said: "I'm pleased to be sharing in this inaugural, innovative, and visionary expo. We are even more encouraged that through the concept of SOSTIC, the NEJC continues to embody the communitarian approach to education and sustainable development.
"This initiative is similar to the I Believe Initiative (IBI) (the GG's service-focused youth project). Both the IBI and SOSTIC are prime examples of how people can come together and, with vision, affect creative solutions for the social, economic, and spiritual changes that we need.
"Undoubtedly, what we are witnessing here today is the seed of civic pride bearing fruits in the displays that we see and the workshops which will be presented."
In addition to the speeches by Allen, local MP Dr Winston Green and Port Maria's Mayor, Levan Freeman, the SOSTIC expo featured workshops and presentations on topics such as grant funding, crop security and diet.
NEJC president Arlington Woodburn said SOSTIC was a personal and community development health project designed to educate people about the benefits of organic food while simultaneously generating jobs and profit.
He told Family and Religion: "We believe our country, society and culture has gone into mendicancy. That is, we have become a beggarly society. We have caused people to believe they can come for handouts, especially those who believe they are poor.
"They believe the Church's agenda is to feed, house and clothe them, and find whatever they want; however, when the Church wants help, they must get it from somewhere else. Now we have reached a stage where the means of supplying these needs are running out and we, therefore, have to find a solution to the problem.
God endorses Agriculture
"That solution is to get back to the Bible. Number one: 'By the sweat of your brow, you will eat bread (Genesis 3:19). Number two: You need to develop a culture of self-support, and the Bible establishes that agriculture is the surest means of full employment.
"It doesn't matter what your status in life is, once you begin to farm the soil skilfully, you cannot be hungry and you cannot be poor. Jamaicans are saying farming is not profitable, but the answer to that is: they are not doing this thing professionally or scientifically."
Before cutting the ribbon to officially launch SOSTIC's first venture, a sweet pepper greenhouse, the governor general added: "Let's utilise all of this, get our greenhouse going, and use innovative ideas."