Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taking cruisers to the farm

The Coffee and ice cream fund helped mobilized the cruising children to the Jamaican Farm here in St. Maarten.
We were lucky to have a private tour of this awe-inspiring place. The children learnt about the different types of trees and plants that are grown in the Caribbean. Also what verity of fruit are good to eat and what is poisonous (always good to know). 

Our lovely tour guide was very knowledgeable about the different aspects of the farm she so loved, and was delighted to instruct us on irrigation and the difference between natural wells and huge black containers that catch water. Things we take for granted in the "real world"... like water, are scarce on most islands. All of the water here in St. Maarten is desalinated from the ocean and therefore very expensive... it's almost cheaper to buy Evian at the supermarket than turn on a hose.

The property that she works on was a gift to the Jamaican ethnic group to help bring agriculture back to St. Maarten. This is needed since everything is shipped into the country and caters more to the resorts and rich boat owners. The locals find it harder to afford produce as the island becomes more successful so there is a concerted effort to "grow your own" which also helps retain more green land as the condo developments spread concrete scars cross the island.

This concept of going back to local farming seems to be getting more popular back home. Shipping everything was a good idea when fuel was cheap, but there's nothing like the amazing flavors of locally grown "fresh" food... I think many people have forgotten how good food really tastes.

We all just enjoyed the day and the young cruising kids got an fun "school day" messing around with agriculture... maybe one or two will be inspired to reclaim some land in a far off place and build a farm... this is a common dream for boat people.

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