Environmentalist Dr. Judlyn Telesford-Checkley has announced plans to set up a farmer’s market within a retail store that her relatively unknown company GrenadaGrows is planning to open soon on the island.
She made the discourse to THE NEW TODAY against the backdrop of an agreement reached with the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) to accept some of its waste and turn them into fertilisers.
She said the plan is to set up a store along the lines of Lowes and Home Depot in the United States in which most items related to agriculture can be purchased.
According to Dr. Telesford-Checkley, the intention is to give Grenadians what she referred to as “a different experience” when it comes to shopping for agriculture items.
“You want people to go in there and come out feeling inspired to go and garden,” she said.
Dr. Telesford-Checkley also said that GrenadaGrows is committed to using the retail store to make space for organic farmers to sell their produce along the lines of a retail and education centre.
“We are working with other organisations – Adult and Teen Challenge Grenada that do farming and rehabilitation programmes. So we will be working with them to even employ some of the people who have been rehabilitated. They also have a farm so they will need our products to use in their farms.”
She said the overall plan of GrenadaGrows is to show stakeholders working together “to really solve many problems” confronting the island like food security, waste management, and community level work.
“We want to encourage people to garden again,” she said.
The GrenadaGrows company has been identified as a Public-Private Partnership with the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA), the U.S-based Organilock and the Government of Grenada (GoG).
It will be engaged primarily in turning fish and chicken waste, and other organics into fertilizer and enhanced compost products that are directly sold, via a destination retail and education center to gardeners/farmers.
The local company will be using a proprietary technology system from Organilock that turns waste into organic fertilizer products.
Dr. Telesford-Checkley also expressed concern about the lack of involvement of the youth in the agriculture sector.
“I don’t know if you notice but our youths don’t even want to get their hands dirty,” she said.
She also said that a couple schools on the island have dropped Agriculture Science from the curriculum even though “agriculture science is our future.”
The environmentalist spoke of the intention of GrenadaGrows to work along with schools and to make sure that the island can look at creating some “little community gardens.”
“I have a garden here – it’s a container garden, I don’t have enough space to garden in the land but I lived in the U.S on the second floor and I had a container garden. So it’s also showing people that you don’t need to have acres of land to grow some food to eat.”
“You could have two little pots so you can have some vegetables for your family.”
She disclosed that the company will be working with the government to set up fish cleaning sites around the island since the fishermen will come in with their catch but lack a fish cleaning site.
Dr. Teleford-Checkley lamented the fact that the island has just a few fish cleaning sites and in most of these, the fishermen “come in with their boats and there is nowhere to clean their fish or throw it out, and again the fish waste goes back into the water.”
She said it could be a “win-win” situation as the fishermen will get a place to clean their fish, a place to shelter and we get the fish waste.”
“…Again win-win – it’s not just about us coming and make money and go with it. It’s about (us) creating that additional benefit for Grenadians,” she said.
According to Telesford-Checkley, the company has made a presentation to the Cabinet of Ministers in October and they seemed “to be fully on board” with the only thing left is for them to get “a Cabinet Conclusion in their hands to proceed with the project.
In its mission statement, GrenadaGrows said: “Our mission is more than just creating soil enhancement products to sell. Our mission is about driving community level action by showing that when stakeholders work together towards a common good we all can win. Therefore, the real innovation is how GrenadaGrows has built a coalition of island partners (GSWMA, GoG, Adult and Teens Challenge Grenada (ATCG), UWI, a commercial composting partner, the fish and chicken industries and farmers (consumers) to make it happen.”
GrenadaGrows is currently at its fund seeking stage and is engaging with investors.