Reconnecting with Nature: Admiring the new Rockfort Community Garden sign at the Rockfort Community Resource Centre. From (l-r) Shanice Bedward-Grant, CityAdapt National Coordinator; Damart Williams, Forestry Department Senior Director, Zonal Operations (Eastern); Alexander Beckford, Forestry Department Projects Officer and Renaldo Atkinson, community representative.
East Kingston Community Excited about Community Garden Intervention under Forestry Department/CityAdapt Partnership
Members of the Rockfort Community in East Kingston gathered last Wednesday to unveil an educational sign to mark its landmark community garden started under an urban forestry and tree-planting programme implemented by the Forestry Department under the UNEP CityAdapt project that has been piloting climate-resilience interventions in communities and schools in and around Kingston.
The often-troubled community of Rockfort was chosen in 2021 as a prime location to plant a range of fruit and ornamental trees to create a community garden to serve as a source of nutritious food for residents, and to help the community become more self-sufficient and resilient in the face of climate change threats which disproportionately affect vulnerable areas in the city.
Not only is the Rockfort Community Garden sign testament to the work of CityAdapt in the community but it also serves to beautify the grounds of the Community Resource Centre and the community has acquired a wealth of knowledge about plants according to Renaldo Atkinson, a member of the community who liaised with the Forestry Department to implement the project.
“The grounds that we are standing on were somewhat of a wasteland’, remarked Atkinson.
“To see the people of Rockfort working together with the Forestry Department proves that green life really matters. I am hoping in the next few years to see kids playing in the trees and the community finding shade and rest in this garden”, he added.
Damart Williams, the Forestry Department’s Senior Director Zonal Operations (Eastern) who brought greetings on behalf of Conservator of Forests and CEO, Ainsley A. Henry, thanked CityAdapt for its investment in communities across Kingston and emphasised the importance of developing urban greenery.
“We are recognizing more the value of urban forests. We are coming down to the flats, to the urban areas. In the heart of our bustling cities where concrete often overshadows nature, the simple act of planting trees can make a world of difference,” Williams explained.
Shanice Bedward-Grant, the National Coordinator of CityAdapt Jamaica encouraged the Rockfort residents to continue to care for the Garden. “Rockfort is one of the most vibrant communities in Jamaica, and the work that has been done to start this community garden is remarkable. It will beautify and cool down the community, and benefit generations to come”, said Bedward-Grant.
The CityAdapt Project is funded by the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility, which has allocated over US$1.5m to Jamaica to fund nature-based interventions to help Kingston to adapt and build resilience to the changing climate conditions.
Written by: Tara Blake, CityAdapt Communications Specialist
For further information, contact:
CityAdapt Communications Specialist
National Coordinator, CityAdapt Kingston