Jeffrey Town Farmers Association (JTFA) was established in 1991, registered as a limited company in 2003 with a mandate for development and is still moving from strength to strength, improving the lives and livelihoods of its members and the wider community alike through a dedicated effort toward sustainable advancement.
Starting with water for all in 1994 and collectively seeking ways to redress the demise of banana, a bond was formed, a spirit initiated for self reliance and resilience which has seen progress from a member’s basement as a meeting room to a 1500sq. ft building of their own which houses the community radio; Jet FM 88.7 a play on the registered group name, the multimedia centre which offers internet and printing services plus the community hot spot providing 24hour free access outside of the building, a major achievement for rural Jamaica particularly as it is run by a volunteer group of more than twenty people predominantly youths. In keeping with the environmental focus all of the activities at the JTFA Building are powered by a hybrid alternative energy system making more than 80% of the requirements.
Assistance from a variety of funding agencies has also allowed the group to plant more than twelve acres of trees and now beautify the road sides with twenty acres more. To lead the climate change mitigation process with a series of gabion basket walls to reduce erosion, including two major efforts in Wallingford, plus terrace some farms. Also clear gullies, drain ponds and raise awareness with extensive training in a myriad of topics and award winning radio programming. To broaden the base a community wide disaster preparedness committee has been established and trained. The women’s group has income generating activities in simple agro processing items: a group chicken rearing project, composting plus a functioning organic greenhouse situated on the five acre demonstration organic plot are included in the operations as well as a drive to community tourism with the St. Mary Breadfruit Festival product scheduled annually since 2005.
This group is dynamic, planning and preparing for the future; it has become an institution of service and volunteerism for the development of the rural area of St. Mary known as Jeffrey Town and been given many awards for its efforts. It is a beacon for others to follow, and is regarded as a model Jamaican community having built resilience into every layer of country life.