Alyah LeBlanc: I wanted to make something important, trendy
An ambitious young lady, determined to transform the traditional mindset on agriculture and get more women involved in farming has created a passion project yielding results.
Alyah LeBlanc, who lives in Pond Case, an agriculture-rich area that inspired her career path, formed the One Seed A Day Initiative, OSADI, in 2020.
"I am passionate when it comes to women in agriculture and sustainable living," LeBlanc said. "Since high school, I decided to focus my career path on agriculture because very few women were in the field or even interested."
In addition to transforming traditional mindsets, LeBlanc uses a non-traditional method to push for sustainable agriculture.
"It started in the heat of COVID," she said. "Hence, being locked downed and quarantined I saw this need to post positive things on social media. So, I just thought it would be cool to make something important very trendy that is why we started with the One Seed A Day Initiative."
LeBlanc, founder and coordinator of OSADI, carries this mission along with her colleagues Tiffany Marcelle and Davita James.
"We focused on creating green content via social media and provide guides to starting small-scale farming and other garden ideas. Really and truly, we are social-media-based and create traction through the hashtag One Seed A Day," LeBlanc said.
The movement has certainly grown since its inception as OSADI has close to 850 followers on Facebook – its most popular platform – and over 600 on Instagram.
"For something that is not profit-generating, it is good because it is something people are seeing and we rather get that engagement that people are participating instead of doing it for a like or a share or a post," she said.
OSADI celebrates its anniversary in June when it hosts signature events to further boost awareness of sustainable farming and living.
Alyah says this year's activity was particularly memorable since the initiative received a small grant fund for their sustainable campaign 2022 from the Department of Cooperation and Cultural Action (SCAC) of the Embassy of France to the Eastern Caribbean States, Barbados, and OECS in residence in Saint Lucia.
"It made us realize that this project is something people are aware of and see the potential in," she said. " OSADI hosted a Sip and Plant event, which had small grow boxes and herbs so people could be creative. We wanted people to understand agriculture could be fun and not tedious."
The grant funding also sponsored collaboration with a summer camp where there were field visits to various farms to showcase sustainable agriculture to youth.
Last year's event saw the #PlantWithOSADI where tree nurseries donated plants, suitable for backyard space, which in the future be beneficial to a household.
Alyah credits other greenpreneurs and individuals involved in sustainable farming for supporting the advocacy movement. Feedback from the wider public has been very encouraging.
"Because most of our work is done on social media it is easy to measure via analytics. Also, people come up to us all the time and express support for the advocacy," she said.
The major misconception, among the public which leads to the initiative's biggest challenge, is people do not fully understand the concept.
"As an initiative that is relatively new, where sustainable agriculture is tangible, we target our audience through social media, some people misinterpret our movement as something that is selling plants or is a service or business," she said.
Other challenges are consistently posting green content and growing membership.
As regards the future for OSADI, its members are planning to structure the initiative into a business model which can be charitable, while earning profit because, she said, "we want to focus on establishing a base for us to do more content creation and host camps. Since we had the collaboration with the summer camp this year, we realize there is a need and niche for exposing students to different types of agriculture."
The base will also serve as an area for the continuous posting of green content and a location for more partnerships with greenpreneurs.
-By Andrea Louis