A Garden of Hope at Walkers Reserve in Barbados

“A Garden of Hope” was launched at Walkers Reserve in January. It is the culmination of years of work by artist Annalee Davis in collaboration with Kevin Talma and the Walkers Institute for Regenerative Research Education and Design (WIRRED). [Walkers Reserve is located in St. Andrew, Barbados.]

On Saturday 28th January 2023, the Walkers Institute for Regenerative Research Education and Design (WIRRED) hosted the launch of A Garden of Hope at Walkers Reserve. This work is a creative intervention at the Reserve by Annalee Davis in collaboration with Kevin Talma and the Walkers Institute for Regenerative Research Education and Design (WIRRED).

The name, A Garden of Hope, refers to the 17th-century Hope estate, later amalgamated into a larger Scotland plantation, once owned by Judith Powrey becoming the foundation of what is now Walkers Reserve. It eventually shifted from sugar cane to a silica sand quarry. In recent years, under WIRRED’s stewardship, it has been transitioning to a site of permaculture and regeneration. That is where Hope returns, through vision, knowledge, and action; an exhausted landscape is being transformed into a healthier ecosystem and a post-plantation site of healing.

In her narrative about the project, Davis says:

“This plot highlights the revolutionary and subversive history of plants, acknowledging them as agents of restoration and reparation while insisting on the need for us to remember valuable systems of knowledge that are being erased or forgotten. This living apothecary is intended as a sacred space of healing, regeneration, and contemplation, honouring the traditions of bush medicine and recognising this site as hallowed ground. Lastly, the plants in the garden have been designed with a focus on well-being for women’s reproductive and post-reproductive health and are also available as a natural first aid kit. I am hopeful that visitors who spend time in The Garden of Hope might reflect on the ancestors who came before us, using what was available to them for medicine – plants growing in their environment that they had to learn about so as to heal themselves and one another. There is also a QR code and some labeling offering information about local plant uses and traditions. This is very much a work in progress, and hopefully, there will be more opportunities to engage with the garden through workshops for those who are interested.”

The Garden of Hope is one of the first installations under the eARTh program at Walkers Reserve. There is no earth without ART and as WIRRED continues to steward the regeneration of the Reserve from a sand quarry into a thriving space for connection and reconnection, they hold space for artistic expression and cultural transformation. WIRRED is thankful to all contributors to the project and acknowledges everyone who has been a part of its evolution including the McNeel family, Island Developments Ltd., the team at Walkers Reserve, Richard White for the construction and maintenance of the cobb beds, and Ireka Jelani Spiritual Baptist elder who blessed the Garden at Saturday’s launch supported by her two children, Subira and Baruti.

Regeneration is at the heart of the work being done to transform Walkers Reserve. As one of the most unique destinations in Barbados, this 277-acre space has been regenerated from a sand quarry to a thriving model of climate resilience. It is the largest regeneration project in the Caribbean region. WIRRED as the nonprofit organisation and charity which manages the project, continues to engage with myriad partners to meet the goals of environmental conservation and regeneration to increase biodiversity, develop natural habitats and build awareness around reducing the negative effects of climate change. We encourage everyone to take action, get involved, and give nature a voice!

[Photo above: Ireka Jelani blessing the Garden of Hope.]

For more information, see https://annaleedavis.com/archive/a-garden-of-hope

Also see https://barbadostoday.bb/2023/02/07/a-garden-of-hope-launched-at-walkers-reserve/ and https://www.facebook.com/WalkersReserveBarbados/

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