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Learning To Be A Farmer


First-year missioner Patrick Montine shares an update from the field.

Right now it is summertime here in Jamaica, which is about the same as any other time of the year:hot and humid. The schools are out for the summer (as well as any other ministries we have with children) so instead I have been working on the little farm right behind our house.

Back in April, fellow missioner Brandon and Brother Louie started building a chicken brooder for baby chicken to live until they are two weeks old. After that they started building the chicken coup. I didn’t help much because I know nothing about building things or chickens. I had lived in the suburbs my whole life.

The only thing I knew about chickens was that I hate roosters. This is because on a mission trip to Costa Rica after high school, I kept getting woken up by roosters. The people on the chocolate farm we were visiting starting placing bets as to whether I could catch them, but alas when I tried, the roosters fled under the fence and into the countryside.


Now I have learned all sorts of useful things. I have learned how to feed and water the chickens, make sure they are inside at night, and how to catch them. Because we are raising them for the parish soup kitchen, I have learned how to kill chickens, defeather them (which I am terrible at), and gut them.

Also we started a garden back in May. I have never gardened in my life nor tried to grow things so I learned as I went along. I tried to transplante some mango trees back in March near the chicken coop, but they all died. We didn’t get enough rain.

The next thing I tried was to make a planter box grow some spices, but still nothing has grown in that either expect grass.

Lastly I took some plastic bottles and cut them open horizontally and planted some tomatoes and peppers in them. This have started to grow. I was super excited that they grew. I felt like I conquered the world.


We hope to eventually get more people involved growing their own plots of land because food is expensive here in Jamaica because a lot of food has to be brought to the island. So we are trying to spread the idea of self sufficiency. So that Jamaicans can feed themselves.

So I am learning how to be a farmer just like my great-grandfather. It takes patience, dedication, and gentle hands. Hopefully through this trial-and-error we can grow in our understanding and help the people of Jamaica.

august2015_patrick_garden box

Patrick Montine graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He majored in anthropology and minored in Teaching English as a Second Language. He has served and traveled around the world, and considered it a great gift and privilege to serve with the Franciscans. Patrick served in Savannah la Mar, Jamaica.