Redemption Farm nearing launch
A government farm scheme designed to deter young people from a life of crime is expected to be launched soon.
The Redemption Farm scheme will include employment training, vocational skills and workshops for at-risk men and women who it was claimed will grow crops, raise chickens and sell produce at the Farmers’ Market.
Wayne Caines, the national security minister, earlier said that three acres of land in Devonshire, near CedarBridge Academy, were donated for the venture by the Ministry of Public Works.
A Ministry of National Security spokesman said: “The planning phase of the Redemption Farm initiative is complete and all vendors and stakeholders have been identified and engaged. There remain contracts that require signing. However, we expect the programme to launch shortly.”
Mr Caines told MPs last year that there had been “marvellous” talks about the planned farm with Carlos Amaral, the Bermuda Farmers Association president.
It is understood there have been no further meetings between the ministry and the BFA since a single information event last November.
Mr Amaral said last week: “They met with the farmers, they presented their proposal, we had an idea of what was going on with the Government-owned property. Basically we were asked if we would be supportive with some of the knowledge we have honed over the years and the consensus was we would be willing to help out. There has only been one meeting with the farmers association.”
Mr Caines said in January that the farm was “scheduled to be fully operational in April 2019”. MPs heard then that a restaurant had said it would buy any produce that is not sold at the Farmers’ Market and that the business would be named “in due course”.
Mr Caines explained then: “With the support and assistance from the Bermuda Farmers Association, Redemption Farm will provide successful engagement of at-risk young men in a socially restorative, incentivised employment training programme.
“Operated from a holistic approach, the programme will give participants the ability to obtain vocational and entrepreneurial skills through various forms of farming.”
The minister told the House of Assembly last November: “I think the name of the farm is apropos because it deals with some of the challenges that we have in Bermuda. Redemption Farm will be an opportunity for at-risk young men and women to be in a therapeutic environment.”
Mr Caines said people will be assessed for suitability for the 12-week programme, which will include guidance on time management as well as how to “dress for success” and help participants find “balance”.
The Royal Gazette asked for more information about how many stakeholders were involved as well as a more precise time frame for the project but none was provided by press time.
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