Elaine Dennis - farming since age 7

January 16, 2018
Elaine Dennis
In this file photo, Elaine Dennis (second right) accepts the first-place trophy for the Champion Female Farmer of 2017 from Daphne Corrodus (second left), wife of St. James Custos Ewen Corrodus. Looking on (from left) are Glendon Harris, president of the St James chapter of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS); Winston Simpson, principal director in charge of field services for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority; Senator Norman Grant, president of the JAS; and Dr Horace Chang, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Elaine Dennis is a local celebrity among the farmers and other residents of the Niagara community in St James, following last year's staging of the Montpelier Agricultural Show where she was heralded as the 2017 Female Champion Farmer for the parish.

The 52-year-old farmer, who is known to her neighbours as "Yvonne," told the WESTERN STAR that she never expected to cop such an honour, which she received during the show's 36th annual staging at the Montpelier showground.

"When I was there at Montpelier, I was peeling cane and putting it in a bag to sell. Then a guy said to me, 'Elaine, you nuh hear you name a call?' and mi say 'wha!' and mi haffi drop the machete and cut through the crowd and go up on the stage," Dennis recalled.

"They hugged me up, took my picture on the stage, and were welcoming me, Ms Dennis, as the champion female farmer," she added, recounting the moment when she was given the first-place trophy by Daphne Corrodus, the wife of St James Custos Rotulorum Ewen Corrodus.

Her moment in the spotlight did not end there, as the next day she was given an opportunity to share her experience with the wider Jamaica.

"In the morning, a guy called me and said that they wanted to put me on a talk show, like Morning Time (Smile Jamaica)," Dennis said with a smile.

Since then, Dennis has continued to farm her land in a deep valley below the Niagara main road, where she grows several crops.

"I farm dasheen, yam, corn, pumpkin, pak choi, string bean, cabbage, gungo peas, cane, and all kinds of things. I've been farming since I was around seven years old, and I grew up in the farming from a very long time," Dennis said proudly.

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