Franklin Town finds 'sweet' formula for peace
When the community of Franklin Town was going through a period of unrest in 2007, Veda Fagan and other members of the community felt like the area needed an association that would spur peace.
So they came together and formed the Greater Brown's Town Community Development Council, with the objective of teaching young people from the community social skills.
"When they come we not only teach them to sew or other technical things, we teach them social skills, how to relate to each other," Fagan told THE STAR.
And though they have received help from the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), they felt as though they needed to be self-sufficient to sustain their efforts in maintaining peace in the community.
"We decided to look at matters like enterprise ... Wisdom told us that you will not always have agencies around to be contributing funds," Fagan said.
And with that thought, Fagan started a beekeeping facility on the grounds of the Elletson Methodist Church. The facility produces honey-branded 'Sweet Paradise.
The first phase of the project was funded by the European Union's poverty programme in 2011. The grant facilitated the construction of the apiaries, provided honey production equipment, and basic bee-keeping training.
"We sell our products to people in the community and people who may want honey to take back to foreign," said Geoffrey McCoy, one of the beekeepers at the facility.
According to Fagan, many young persons from the community have benefitted from the programme. Fagan felt as though the programme needed to be extended and the council applied to the European Union a second time in 2013.
A total amount of J$1,746,516 was used for the first phase of the project, while $1,259,060 was pumped into the second phase.
The second phase facilitated the expansion of the apiaries, strengthening of the honey-processing facility, improvement in bee-keeping maintenance, the ability to operate in accordance with quality assurance standards, and the ability to recruit and train beekeepers.
Head of the European Union delegation in Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska, and JSIF managing director Omar Sweeney will be touring the facility today.
Today, 70 beehives are in operation, providing honey and by-products to community members and other clientele.