I spent 5 weeks at Life Yard, in the middle of Kingston. Life Yard is a community of young and like-minded individuals that comes together to create a self-sustainable urban farming project, right in the middle of the Jamaican Ghetto of Downtown Kingston. The place evolved into a cultural center, a social shelter and has been working for the development of the area for the last couple of years. During my stay, I got to explain to them my travel formulas, my purpose and my objectives. We created a down-time together to sit and « reason » about Life Yard.
Forward to the Interview !!
Rafiki : Could you please explain what is Life Yard and what does the name stand for?
Eyeball : Life Yard… The word itself speaks to I sense, you know, of livity (an emotion of positive upliftment for the rastas). Life Yard is for the community, a place of sanctuary; a place of peace; a place of learning. It’s a balance. Where everything that is good, one can go there and find. A place of growth. It’s a place of connecting spirituality…
Rafiki : And what would you say is Life Yard’s main mission.
Eyeball : Life Yard’s main mission is to become a source of employment, a source of education. We are a place where children can come and learn. Not only through academics, but through Art and Agriculture, in a balance.
Rafiki : Life Yard has been involved in different side projects. Can you talk about your activities apart from the urban farming side of it?
Eyeball : We have numerous projects, as you say, and workshops that we’ve been involved in. Paint Jamaica is the project where we merged together with the project launcher Marianna Farag. She had an idea of going to develop communities and creating a space through art where children and people and community could come and balance and try to find a sense of togetherness through the creative process. That’s when someone introduced her to me, we had a meeting; spoke to know what Life Yard ideas were and what her ideas were and how much in synchronicity our ideas actually were).. went back with that and I met with my group; then we got together with her and that’s when it happened. We had the space.. she had the artists and the project.
Rafiki : You were talking just before about the workshops, could you talk about the cultural events that are happening in Life Yard ?
Eyeball : Yeah social enterprise is what we are creating here. Self-sustenance and liberty : without stepping out of the box to say we going seek a regular 9 to 5 job to create our own source of business, young entrepreneurs, future philanthropists. We have several businesses and operate also as a Community Based Organisation (CBO) this is where all this giving back comes to Life Yard as a CBO. So we do movie nights, teachings, arts and crafts. We do some sewing and crocheting. We are going to have some drumming classes and we run a daily breakfast program.
Sabukie : … And we collaborate with Fight For Peace, the martial art movement helping the youth through physical expression to reject the violence. Introducing Capoeira, Boxing, Taekwondo
Rafiki : For how long have you been gathering around this land to work on the urban farming aspect in Downtown Kingston, … and developing this practice ?
Sabukie : Well, you have been around. As you can see there is not much urban farming happening in the city. Most of the growing process happens in rural area, so people are disconnected from the food. We as Life Yard members, we have been coming here for over 15 years. But have been officially recognized as a community only over the past 2 years. But now it’s more about being able to bring the community upward by being able to provide the needs for work without seeking employment elsewhere, in the system… The goal is to maintain and to build it up!
Rafiki : Thanks so much guys, it’s been a pleasure. Do you have any big ups.
Both : Big up to his emperial majesty, Rastafari. At the same time, we as a group, we give thanks for the energy that has been merged within us, through and over the years. The individuals that came here to give a part of their time, we like to give a shout out to the people involved in the recognition of the community, and the organization. A lot of people contributed in a lot of different ways. We have attracted visitors from over 37 country.
Rafiki : ‘til infinity and beyond ! BIG UP LIFE YARD.
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