Tue | Jun 22, 2021

Farm helps Mustard Seed Communities to be self-sufficient

Published:Friday | August 9, 2019 | 12:36 AM

For Elloreece Burrell, a Jamaican living in Tampa, Florida in the United States of America, touring the Mustard Seed Communities-run Jerusalem Children’s Village in Spanish Town was both a touching and enlightening experience.

The retired nurse, who does outreach ministry to Jamaica annually, was a member of the diaspora team who toured the children’s village during the Diaspora Day of Service, on the final day of the 2019 Diaspora Conference.

“Coming on this mission was revealing for me. It made me realise that there is so much to be done here; however, organisations such as Mustard Seed Communities have been helping those who are in need. The facilities show that there is an attempt to care for the children living here; and that they are trying to be self-sufficient through various agricultural projects, while helping others. It warmed my heart to see this,” she said.

The agricultural project which Burrell spoke about, is the farm located on the property of the Jerusalem Children’s Village. The property currently produces approximately 3,000 eggs per day, which are sold to hotels, supermarkets and surrounding communities. The Mustard Seed Farm also harvests Tilapia fish, raises broiler chickens and grows cash crops. There is also a recently established apiary for the production of honey.

“Our farm produces close to a million eggs per year. What we do is to credit our members of staff with the eggs, which they sell in their communities. They give us the money for the eggs and keep the profits,” explained David Silvera, business development officer at Mustard Seed Communities.

“In respect of our Tilapia fish, we have 10,000 fingerlings which we will harvest from each of our two ponds and sell every six months to persons in the surrounding areas.

The Jerusalem Children’s Village currently houses some 160 persons, including adults with disabilities.

“Everything that we earn from these ventures goes back into the care of our residents. We have received a lot of help over the years; but, it was the SEBI [Social Enterprise Boost Initative] project which helped us in our journey towards self sufficiency,” Silvera explained.