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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #5: Lost & Found

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

“Branca” raised bed    –    Layers

Seedlings     –    Rich soil

Dry bamboo     –    Green, yellow, brown

Dasheen     –    Green fruit

Bluggoe shrub     –    Support post

Off-green diseased leaves     –    Dead stock

Croton vine     –    Trees/grass

Dog bead plant     –    Intercropping

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

I selected this photograph because the branca has been out of style for a while in Grenada, but now it is coming back as part of backyard farming. In regards to sustainability, the branca or raised agricultural bed is also made up of local and natural/organic materials. Basically, the branca is a cost-effective farming alternative that allows local farmers to grow more crops when they run out of ground space.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

What we see here is a resuscitated tradition—a cultural revival—where something old is given new life. This restorative view, then, points to the affirmation and promotion of life.

By extending beyond the sense of cultural revival that is visible in this “Aerial Farming” photograph, the idea of old becoming new provides a space for the discussion of life and death that speaks not necessarily of discontinuity, but of continuity. To appreciate the significance of this cultural revision, Grenada realizes that it cannot completely free itself from the influences of the past, because the past is at once permanent and temporary, which alludes to the dynamic nature of culture itself. Similar to a fertile womb, the elevated branca is symbolic of cultivation and protection, traits that are derived from the knowledge and power of the past. The branca (or raised bed) expresses creativity in the ways in which it organizes and retells the stories of history and culture. Also, like a tower, the branca watches over the seedlings in its care and allows them to live sheltered lives, while it serves as a military fort to ward off any unwanted or external influences that can have dire results. Even so, the traces of the past that exist within the branca are indicative of the idea that culture is simultaneously invisible and visible. That is to say that the invisibility of the past is now visible in the ways in which the branca currently serves Grenada and its people in 2015. In terms of practicality, especially when there is no space left on the ground to cultivate, the branca (bed) is raised up to make space to grow agricultural crops; and as such, it functions as a cultural elevator, not necessarily in the literal sense, although it is an upraised permaculture structure, but figuratively speaking, the branca is symbolic of upliftment and enlightenment. Altogether, the brown bamboo support and the green vegetation represent Grenada’s sense of endurance and abundance as well as they signify the cycles of life that are associated with intercropping that is representative of Grenada’s sense of diversity or multiculturalism.

PHOTO Title: Aerial Farming

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s,

Photographer: Amellia Williams

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