“Journey through Agricultural Development”
Today on Emerging Agri-professionals we want to highlight Tessa Barry.Tessa grew up in the village of Birch Grove, St. Andrews on the island of Grenada. St. Andrew’s is the largest parish on the island and is often referred to as the ‘Bread Basket’ of Grenada given that it’s the home of a large number of the island’s producers. As many of the other families in the community, her family was also involved in farming. As kids, she was taught to respect the land and to treat it fairly; naturally she developed a passion for the field of agriculture. Among the subjects taken at the CXC level agriculture was one ,which at the time was offered as a double award for examination. The double award allowed her the opportunity to take the subject at both the theoretical and practical level. During both her primary and secondary school life saturday mornings were always designated as the day for a trip to the garden during the school term and on vacation.
Coming from a large family, her garden days were fun days. She learnt from an early age the importance of agriculture not only as a food source and as a huge contributor to a country’s GDP, but also an avenue to follow for a number of career choices. From then Tessa decided that whatever she turn out to be, agriculture would be a part of it. After graduating from college, She got the opportunity to teach at a school which promoted agricultural involvement, further cementing her love for the field and providing an opportunity to share with young minds how important agriculture is to a country’s development.
Pictures of gardening at the school where she taught
Tessa came to the realization then that agricultural education and agricultural development are critical to assisting families to pursue their own development and by extension encouraging rural development; eventually leading to the development of a nation. Hence she began pursuing academic development in the field on a more formal basis.
Coming from a background in Business Management she decided to chart a different course for her advance studies and as such pursued a master of science in Economics and Management of Rural Development at the University of Manchester, England. The rural development aspect of the degree gave her the opportunity to delve into agriculture which is the main staple of a rural community.
Tessa pursued research in the field of Agricultural Extension and it’s relation to Rural Development. There she got the opportunity to travel to Uganda, Africa, spending time in the rural community of Masindi and seeing first hand how agriculture extension can empower people and enable them to be self sustained. For her it was even more empowering to help guide people in a field which allow them to take charge of their own development.
Tessa’s continued interest in agriculture enabled her to receive a scholarship award from the Organization of American States to pursue a PhD in the field of Agricultural Extension at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad. She has just completed her first academic year of this chapter of study. This field has already presented her with opportunities to visit farmers at work, learning from them and their experiences.
Tessa along with a colleague got an opportunity to attend an International Agriculture Extension Conference in Miami last April. There she presented a poster on the use of agriculture in schools to encourage financial sustainability while at the same time promoting food security.
AIAEE Conference, Miami Beach, Florida
Being involved in the field of agricultural education is a dream come through for her. She encourages all youths to get involved in some way or the other. There are a host of activities and opportunities as well as a wide range of career paths to choose from.
Additionally there are the perks of visiting places and experiencing cultures she would have never even dreamt of.
She stands ready to make a contribution towards agricultural development, towards food security, towards rural development, towards national development, towards regional development and international development.