One of the fond memories of my childhood is being taken annual to the Denbigh show by my mother. We would spend all day in the hot sun, looking at fruits and vegetables and animals, then returned after the sun set, loaded with fruits and plants that Mommy always purchased.
I had not been to a Denbigh show for over twenty-five years, but in memory of my recently deceased mother, and also as part of my newly infused independence spirit, I wanted to see if I would recapture my childhood exuberance.
My niece agreed to take me, and on our way, close to Maypen, Clarendon, the site of Denbigh it began to rain, and that too was a part of my memory– that it always rained at Denbigh. Sure enough, as we entered the entrance gate, I heard two women talking loudly about how every year it rains at Denbigh and that was a symbol of its blessings.
I don’t remember if the show was organised by parishes when I was a child, but was happy to visit each of the Parishes and see the abundance of fruits and vegetables that are being grown in all of the Parishes. I enjoyed the displays, was very gratified at the re-purposing of plastic, car tires and other disposable item refashioned and shown how they can be put to good use for home gardening. Mostly what gladden my heart was seeing and sampling the diverse by-products of the many fruits and vegetables. For example, I sampled a juice made from potato and pineapple. There were numerous hair and facial products, organic and made from home grown products. It has long been said that given the geo-diversity of Jamaica, that if we were to push our agriculture production, we could easily feed the entire Caribbean region, and that was evident at the Denbigh show.
Denbigh lived up to my expectation, especially since I plan to go into farming when I retire from academic life. I can raise two goats, a few chickens and grown the food I love to eat like pumpkin and callalloo and yams. We all need to know how to feed ourselves, and despite what limited space we might occupy each and everyone of us can and should grow something, not just plants and flowers to beauty our home, but some herbs, vegetables and fruit trees. May Denbigh continue to grow and improve and I hope parents will continue to understand its importance and take their children to see and appreciate our food and what we grow.