By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
After her mother was told to eat better or else she may not enjoy the full quality of life, Latoya Hutchinson decided to grow a full-fledged garden in her backyard to help provide her mother with healthy, home-grown produce.
“Change your eating habits or risk dying early” was the ultimatum given to Latoya’s mom after she was diagnosed with diabetes. Doctors explained that her mother had to make major changes to her diet, immediately.
“She found herself ill frequently, only to find out it was because her eating habits,” Latoya told Tribune Health. “They gave her that one ultimatum, which was to change your eating habits or risk losing your life. So I found myself shopping very often and inside different shops, spending tons of money,” she said.
However, Latoya said the quality of vegetables she purchased was not up to her standards or liking.
“What they considered thyme didn’t even have a smell. And some of the vegetables were withering. Because I am very particular with things like veggies and greens, I decided build my own greenhouse in the backyard,” she said.
Growing your own vegetables and other crops is something that Latoya has been encouraging her fellow Bahamians to do. Since building the greenhouse in her backyard early this year, her gardening project has now turned into the blossoming business called New Beginnings Garden.
“I had no previous interest in gardening, but every Saturday my sister and would go to Rocky Farms to look for flowers. Then I realised that I was much better at growing the vegetables, so I decided to join a few new beginners farming groups on Facebook. I then joined an association so that I can be assisted anytime I hit a road block,” she said.
Starting out, one of the first she began growing were peppers. There was some trial and error involved, but once Latoya managed to get the combination right her vegetables began flourishing.
“Everyone then wanted me to supply them with certain peppers, herbs and spices. They blossomed very well,” she said.
Latoya moved on to growing lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and all the items her mother needs to make her daily smoothies.
“I would send her a package filled with different crops every week. And since she has embarked on this diet, eating crops grown organically from my backyard, it has made her feel different. She said she even feels energised.”
Though maintaining her garden requires money, time and other resources, Latoya said the benefits of having fresh, organic food right from your own backyard far outweigh any necessary investments.
However, she acknowledges that some people are not able to grow and maintain their own gardens, which is why through her company she has opted to do it for them.
New Beginnings specialises in design, installation, maintenance, and training in organic gardening. Whether it’s for a private residence a school or business, she wants everyone to experience the possibilities and pride of harvesting the freshest, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.
“When you grow your own backyard organic garden you will reap rewards that go far beyond not having to run to the store every time you need a tomato or a bit of basil. Organic gardening – in other words, growing in-ground or in a raised bed with help from Mother Nature — can benefit your wallet, your taste buds, your body, even your peace of mind,” said Latoya.
“We understand that busy life often takes over and it is not always possible for you to maintain your garden yourself, so we can do it for you. We can service your new or existing garden. Our team will work with you to keep your garden flourishing. During those visits you will learn how to DIY and eventually graduate to self-sustainability.”
In the near future Latoya said she hopes to collaborate with primary schools to introduce organic gardening to youngsters.
“In addition, we will work closely with businesses who have wellness programmes and are willing to introduce indoor gardening to their lunchrooms or in the outdoor spaces. We will also work with retirees to help them acquire a new skill set that will be an essential tool during the next chapter of their life,” she said.
For more information about New Beginnings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.