Homes & Gardens
Sunday, 22 March 2009 05:55
By Simply XQuisite
André Hughes is one Antiguan who strongly believes that the key to survival in these tough economic times is the ability to feed oneself; and, as such, we should return to the earth… to agriculture. In keeping with his beliefs, he started his own landscaping business: Dré’s Landscaping.
Growing up he enjoyed working with his hands; he enjoyed creating things and so he became a highly skilled carpenter. Over the years, he has indulged in some backyard gardening and today, produces enough limes, lemons, oranges, papaya and tea-bushes to supplement his income.
Dré’s Landscaping, however, became a reality for André when the government offered its separation package. Not only was he free to “do his own stuff” as he puts it, he had the funds to purchase all the necessary equipment and tools, and was still able to put something aside for a rainy day.
Dré’s Landscaping provides a complete range of professional and affordable lawn and garden services, and Dré prides himself on being dependable. Because of his love for the land and everything that can be grown and eaten, he places strong emphasis on ensuring that each job is done to perfection.
The business is run from his Cedar Valley home and all administrative support is provided by his wife. Dré’s Landscaping owns its tools, equipment and vehicles so overheads are minimal. More than 75% of its clients are on contract and business is usually repeated because of the high level of customer satisfaction and referrals.
Dré encourages his clients to plant as many fruit trees and vegetables as possible. He says, “Flowers and plants may beautify your property. But, if and when hard times come, you won’t be able to eat them”. He strongly believes that in addition to adding aesthetic value to your property with plants, everyone should indulge in some backyard gardening instead of running to the supermarket for everything they need to eat.
He adds, “There are so many benefits that can be gained from vegetable and fruit gardening. It is a stress reliever and provides exercise. Gardening can also be a means of escape and relaxation. It also gives you an outlet to be creative. For me, it is my personal link to nature, to the soil and to the Earth itself. And, at the end of the day, once you have planted fruits and vegetables, you will reap all the tasty and nutritious rewards.”
Dré finally concluded that he is in a win-win situation: he is self-employed; he is doing what he loves; he is helping his family to eat healthy while adequately providing for them, and, in the process, he is helping his clients to recognize that as time gets harder and jobs become scarce, being able to grow your own food will be the only solution. He is hopeful that the government will continue to place increasing interest in agriculture and that also those who are now unemployed will start a backyard garden as a means to earning an income.