Located in the cool hills of Waterhouse Wedge, Rock Hall, St Andrew nestled away is Mrs Daisy Phipps’s farm. Having traversed through a winding path, though challenging, the reward was the sight of the farm. The panoramic view was astounding. On my first visit, 68 years old Miss Daisy was planting yams – a sight I have never seen before. It was not long after observing that I was ready to plant a few yams too.
Who is Miss Daisy?
Miss Daisy has been farming for “all her life”. The Higgin Land native was exposed to farming as a child. A practice that has allowed her to be “her own boss.” In her earlier years, she sold in the Heywood Street Market, then in the Papine Market. However, she has been selling in The Red Hills Square on weekends for the past few years.
After leaving St. Ann, she relocated to Hagley Park Road and then to Waterhouse Wedge, where she has lived for over forty years. She currently operates two farms in her community. On her main farm, she plants various crops, including yam, corn, peas, Irish potato, pumpkin, and ginger. While on the second farm, she only plants yam, carrot, Irish potato and cabbage.
Like many other farmers, Miss Daisy also manufactures and sells coal. She was previously a livestock farmer. She raised pigs and layer birds. However, her favourite thing to do is plant yams. Her love for it is so strong that she not only plants one type but five – Renta, Sweet, Yellow, Lucy, and St. Vincent yams. Miss Daisy has no intention to stop farming any time soon. In fact, her passion for farming is fueled by the faithful customers that have stuck with her over the years. She enjoys working hard to meet their demands and needs. The financial benefits are also rewarding because her sales are straight from the farm to market and not at the farm gate price.
Miss Daisy describes herself as a “quick learner”. She shared that she attends annual agricultural shows, participates in field trips, training sessions and workdays led by JAS and RADA. Her most outstanding achievement is completing a course in ‘Yam Production’, focusing on tissue culture. Not only did she satisfy the course requirements, but she has since applied the skills and knowledge, having planted and reaped yam from conducting experiments from the course. She also graduated from the Deeper Life Bible Institute in 2004.
Productive, active and reliable are a few characteristics used to describe her by Mr Roland Moore, acting RADA extension officer responsible for Salisbury Plain, St. Andrew. “Miss Daisy approaches farming as a business. Her produce is of outstanding quality. She puts effort and spends time caring for her crops. Even though she uses traditional farming methods, she also applies modern practices. Miss Daisy follows instructions and adheres to good agricultural practices from land preparation to reaping”.
Advice to Others
Miss Daisy is very passionate about her skill and would love for other seniors to get involved. She also thinks that it is a great skill for youth to have. “Learn to farm, get a skill. You can neva go wrong with a skill.” “I encourage my daughter and five grandchildren to learn to farm”.
In her advice to other farmers, she said, ”You have to spend to get! Not only money but time, u have to put in di work; farming nice!” Her main challenges, though, are irrigation and slugs. Despite the odds, Miss Daisy continues to do well.