Agriculture, Agriphotography, seed4dsower, Luke Smith, GreenSmith

The fear of a bad harvest should not stop you from sowing.

My name is Luke Smith and this is my GROWth journey. I’ve been a bit hesitant and fearful to share some of my personal journey with you. However, recently this encouragement has been planted in my spirit “The fear of a bad harvest should not stop you from sowing.”

Learning my Growth process.

Looking at a mature tree, it’s so easy not to think about the first deep roots, first new leaves and branches. Upon reflection I have always had a love for the outdoors. This fascinated me even more while looking at National Geographics and reading magazines on wildlife, nature and the environment. Who would have guessed that I would have now been actively working in these areas.

Skipping ahead to my secondary school period, those were periods when I wasn’t too sure of who I was as the struggles of self-identify were all too real. There are two defining moments that I’ll never forget. One of my teachers taught me to overcome my quietness. Let’s put it this way; it was either I was fearful to ask questions to get my work done or muster the courage to ask the hard questions in order to successfully complete my projects. To some it may have been easy but for me it’s one of those moments I’ll never forget. Another moment I recall vividly happened when I preformed badly in an exam, I recalled my teacher saying she was a bit disappoint because I was capable of so much more. That encouraged me to push and not settle for just being. The next year I did great and that encouragement and belief from someone else was refreshing. When it came to studies I enjoyed geography and environmental science because both subjects had an outdoor element. I usually had a camera back then taking photos on field trips and events.

Fast forward to University, I pursued a double major in Environmental Natural Resources Management and Agribusiness. During the  1 & 2 year I was engaged in many co circular activities, I started volunteering in events and other activities to build myself identify confidence and feeling of worth, well so I thought.

Agriphotography, Trinidad, Food system, seed4dsower, Luke Smith

Planted in God’s soil.

During those times I’ve never had any desire to serve any God as it was not my thing. I respected people’s beliefs but that wasn’t for a logical thinking person like me. I was a one man army. I vividly recall an encounter a friend of mine who always encouraged me to come to a Christian meeting on Thursdays and of course I found every reason why I could not. A particular time I went to a place that was not in my nature and I told myself it’s time to enjoy life. Everyone was doing it. Simply put that event is one of those regrettable discussions looking back now. A few months later I was given some songs which yet again of course I just took to get the person off my back. However, one night I listened to those songs for the entire night. I felt so light and felt to cry.  Fast-forward I gave my life to Christ and got involved UWI Campus Crusade for Christ (which I was a past social and promotional executive). Through Campus Crusade for Christ I was able to grow as a new believer in Christ. I was fertilised by the Word of God through their leadership trainings, discipleship program, outreaches and various fellowship. They helped me to grow both Spiritually and personally to make a positive impact in the world. The concept of Win, Build, Send is forever with me pushing me to germinate seeds of greatness in others. 

Germination is a process

I got involved in the UWI Agribusiness Society as a past Information Communication Technology (ICT) Officer). We sort to raise awareness of agriculture and its opportunities to the student population. Here I was able to learn more about videography and photography as I worked on several projects. I personally started taking photos and even started a blog name LukeSmithTv geared towards sharing my experience on field trips within the agriculture sector.

In March of 2013, a group of young professionals and myself entered the Thought for Food Global Competition for university students to tackle the world’s food issues. As a result we attended the Thought for Food Global Summit held in Berlin,

With world population projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050 food consumption is expected to double. How will we be able to solve the challenge of creating a sustainable, thriving world? This was the premise of the Thought for Food Summit as participants joined in dialogue. The summit centred entirely on young people, the future solvers of world issues, with 97% of the attendees under 35 years. Emphasis was placed on idea sharing, thinking outside of the box, starting a movement, networking  and much more all geared towards uprooting the status quo as it relates to hunger, obesity, global food systems and food security. I was able to meet with and learn immensely from experts and real world practitioners in agriculture, innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, public policy, and food science of the future.

I participated in dialogues and was exposed to the best young minds in Food & Ag. Since then I’ve attended Summits in Amsterdam, Zurich and Lisbon, Today I’m currently the Caribbean Regional Coordinator for TFF.  I’ve gained global experience in innovation along Food Systems through my continued work with this movement..

In 2014 my blog was selected among 11 other bloggers in the ACP region to vie for the  YoBloCo Awards, which was held at the  “Fin4Ag”, in Nairobi, Kenya,

The Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards) aimed to put into limelight successes and issues faced by youth engaged in agriculture, in urban and rural areas; and to encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers groups and organisations interested in the youth in agriculture question.

These experiences have helped me to attend various Social media and digital strategies trainings and events globally. During then to present I’ve won several photography and videography  awards  including Winner of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) Media Awards on Water 2015 – Video Competition. I was also nominated for Trinidad and Tobago National Youth Awards for Agriculture Nominee 2015 and more recently Won GWP-C World Water Day 2020 Photo Contest and Climate Justice for Change Photography winner.

In 2015 I got involved in WHYFARM.

WHYFARM is an award winning non-profit organisation that was established in 2015 and has since been a propelling force for sustainable development in the agricultural industry, both locally and internationally. Our focus is not only to develop this field, but to do so while encouraging and inspiring younger generations to take part in this global movement. Agricultural Educational Entertainment (Agri-Edutainment) strategies, like the conceptualization and creation of the first Food and Nutrition Security Superheroes, AGRIman and PhotosyntheSista, engage youth in productive and stimulating discussions on the simple question, ‘why farm?’

Utilising my skill set, I was able to conceptualize creative content that would be part of roots of the movement.  At present I am the ICT Officer at WHYFARM.

Developing deep roots: the blessings of the Lord

In 2015 – 2017 I worked as a trainee at Ministry of Agriculture, and since then I was employed in the Landscaping and Horticulture areas. In 2017 while on a month long training in India the concept of Seed4dSower came to me. I’ve been playing around with it for a few years; doing consultancy and I’ve finally decided to create this platform to help it grow new branches. 

Previously I shared my work but I was encouraged by mentors to share myself with the world.

I recently got married entering a new stage of growth. The environment and agriculture is embedded in my DNA so we did a tree planting ceremony.

Planting a tree represents putting down deep roots, longevity, resilience, and strength for future growth. Plants and humans blossom and thrive when under the care of a Master Gardener.

I’ve spent 4 years in the field of horticulture and landscaping gaining new insights and experiences. Currently i’m almost completed my MSc. in Food Security and professionally working as a Field Officer where I interact with Food producers daily. These experiences are now in the past of which I’m grateful. But don’t be misled. There have been rough times, time of failures, rejections, disappoints, low self esteem and past hurts. As I grow I truly pray that my experiences can benefit you both as food for sustenance and food for your spirit man so step out and sow a seed that will come back to you.