Implementing community urban agriculture in Bonaire

MADE Student Project

Bonaire is a Caribbean Island that is part of the Dutch Kingdom. The island is currently facing serious challenges. One of the defined issues is the lack of local food production which leads to expensive fruit and vegetables in the supermarket. This results in unhealthy diets of the citizens which leads to 60% of overweighted inhabitants in Bonaire (Verweij et al., 2020). To fight this problem, the local government of Bonaire is starting agricultural projects such as community gardens. However, there is a need for examples and knowledge on how to set up successful agricultural projects. This information is currently missing in Bonaire, which makes providing guidance in such projects the main aim of this thesis.

To achieve this goal, I in my role as a researcher, became a member of an ongoing communal food initiative project in the agricultural department of Bonaire called “Nos mes por”. My integration into the community created a unique opportunity to gain real-world experiences by using participatory action research (PAR) as a methodology. In short, there are two objectives namely (1) implementing actions for “Nos mes por” (gaining action) while also (2) generating information for the process and product design of community gardens in Bonaire (gaining knowledge).
This research methodology in this dissertation is compiled by using interviews, observations, and focus groups as research methods. This study resulted in both real-world actions which are applied in “Nos mes por” and specific guide-lines defined by the members of the community garden to make the project successful. Moreover, strategies to set up and design communal urban agriculture initiatives in Bonaire specifically and SIDS generally are developed. However, future research in Bonaire and SIDS should test the guidelines to see how they work in practice.

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