By Bejay Browne
PLANS TO start a community garden near Paphos to help feed the needy in Yeroskipou may have fallen flat as authorities say that none of the 85 families concerned have shown any interest in the project.
“The idea was to see volunteers working on donated land to grow produce which will go towards helping those in need living in our municipality,” Yeroskipou Mayor Michael Pavlides told the Cyprus Mail.
“As yet, none of the people we have asked are willing to take part,” he added.
The mayor said that property owners within the municipality have donated two different plots free of charge for the project – one is an area of about seven hectares and the other around ten hectares.
Pavlides added that the municipality, which is supporting the project together with the Green party and the Environment Commissioner, would contribute the cost of irrigation. The authorities had hoped to expand the initiative to the whole of Cyprus.
“This is a practical way in which we can all help the people who are suffering as a result of the economic crisis,” he added.
But he said that some of the needy people who would benefit from the scheme, have said they “don’t have time to take part” whilst others are facing ‘other difficulties,’ which prevent them from signing up.
“We are very disappointed with this response,” he said.
Yeroskipou municipal administrative officer, Costas Anastasiades, shared this view saying that he hasn’t given up on the project yet, and is trying to persuade some of the people to take part.
“So far, nobody wants to take part. This is a great opportunity and I can’t see why it hasn’t been successful so far,” he added.
Anastasiades explained that the land will be divided up into allotments and each individual or family will be able to grow whatever they want there, fruit of vegetables.
“Whatever they produce is theirs,” he said.
In addition, municipal employees, some of whom have extensive agricultural experience will be on hand to guide the community gardeners.
“Some of the needy have small children, many are women and a few have health or heart problems. Not only is this project a way to grow food, it also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle, exercise and a diet consisting of healthy fresh food.”
In the meantime, the municipality and volunteers continue to supply the needy with food items such as pasta, rice, pulses and canned goods collected from donations and food drives.
Anastasiades said those interested to take part in the project should contact him directly on 26 913 600.