The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition has just concluded their YES (Young Earth Solutions) Competition, an annual opportunity for young researchers to receive a prize of €20,000 ($21,400) to pursue ideas that have the potential to change the food system. Anne-Teresa Birthwright and Shaneica Lester at the The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica had just such an idea, and they call it Surviving the Drought: An Irrigation Curriculum for Jamaica’s Small-Scale Farmers. They noticed that Jamaica’s farmers in one of its principal agricultural zones have been faced with dry conditions for a long time and that these scenarios are going to be exacerbated as the impacts of climate change become more and more apparent. Their response? An educational course for small farmers to experiment with different irrigation strategies, record their effectiveness, and share that knowledge with each other. By documenting the differences in plant growth in response to the various strategies, farmers will be able to verify which methods are most effective for them and adopt practices with the potential to improve both their livelihoods and yields.
For more information about the ten other finalists and the 7th International Forum on Food and Nutrition.