Jones Town Baptist Church Lives the Isaiah 58 Ideal
Wishing to cater to the whole family and the wider community, Rev. Doreen Wynter and her team at Jones Town Baptist (along with parent congregation Bethel Baptist) decided to think outside the box and transform an abandoned housing development lot into a green space for farming in the community.
“Farming Inna Di City” is an inner-city agricultural project of the Jones Town Baptist Church in association with the Jamaica Baptist Union Mission Agency (JBUMA). The project was launched on January 28, 2010, and is a five-year project operating in two phases:
Phase I: Open field planting of crops.
Phase II: Establishing a greenhouse and rearing fish
The Aim of the Project:
- To transform the lives of inner-city residents through skills training and gainful employment.
- To participate in urban renewal.
- To realize the prospects of urban agriculture.
The Objectives of the Project
- Poverty Alleviation
- Economic Independence
- Food Security
- Educational Development
- The project utilizes lands leased from the Ministry of Housing.
- The farmers are assigned lots (Lot size: 18’ × 140’).
- The church provides the start-up capital in land, seedlings and equipment.
- The farmers are self-employed.
- Training sessions are being offered by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Bethel Baptist Thrift Cooperative Society.
- A partnership with the Jones Town Primary School has been established to start a school gardening project.
The Fruits of their Labour (Reaped to date)
Their project was featured on Friday, January 29, 2010, in an article in the Jamaica Gleaner. You may read the entire article here.
Although no one has made overt reference to Isaiah 58, one can hear resonances of it echoing in the Jones Town community transformation. Space that used to be idle and deserted ruins has now become a green area – a well-watered garden that offers life to many. Individuals who were not gainfully employed or occupied have found a new lease on life. The potential darkness of the inner-city community has become as bright as noonday, for truly the Farm Inna di City has helped to repair the breach for a community that has longed for streams in the middle of the vast wastelands of life.
When was the last time you visited the “projects” downtown? Are you involved with ministries that help to situate those who are slightly displaced by life’s travels? Consider how you might impact someone by creating streams in their deserts.
Read more articles in this series.