There is only one choice for food security in Barbados and that is local organic production. Archers Organics, a collaborative initiative of Richard Archer and myself, is helping Barbados to achieve that objective by promoting organic growing techniques as well as assisting small to large farms transition to organic practices. We feel that it is our duty as farmers and ethical producers of food that we cannot spray poison on what we expect people to eat. We cannot spray poison on our soils. We cannot allow ourselves to be sold on the current global model of agro-chemical farming that destroys topsoil, microorganisms and the soil food web chain.
One of the main issues facing agriculture in Barbados is the number of myths concerning what can and cannot be grown here. Archers Organics has been working with a local seed purveyor company, ‘La Maison Verte’, to increase the biodiversity of what can be found on the market. With over 200 varieties of organic heirloom seeds available, we will have a bio-diverse offering that will allow us to supply produce that will satisfy the demands of any chef or consumer.
With our ‘pod system’ of farming we can create individual pods or combinations of pods to meet the demands of any client, from the smallest of restaurants to the largest of hotels. Our model allows businesses or individuals to invest in farm pods to stabilize their food cost, increase their food quality, and create an additional source of revenue to their core business through their farm investment. Through this co-investment model, Archers Organics will help your business to become food independent, more profitable and lead the way for Barbadian food security.
Education is always the key. At Archers Organics we promote any and all methods of growing organically. We have a learning centre which will be open to the public and where we will be hosting organic workshops for the individual homeowner so that they can take these simple and effective techniques home and start growing their own organic vegetables and fruit. In these hard economic times we need to understand that not spending money is the same as earning money. By growing your own and saving money as a family, now you are on your way to having enough funds to pay for that solar system for your house.
Ever heard of Foodscape? Foodscape is a branch of our operation that can design and install edible landscapes at your home. We can create turnkey food production systems that are both beautiful and productive. We provide design, installation and education, as well offering an ongoing resource for troubleshooting any issues or problems that may arise. We are here to simplify the process of growing organically in Barbados. You can come out with the family to learn at the farm and take care of your own garden; or send your gardeners to come and take a workshop so that they can maintain and grow food for you.
Have you heard of aquaponics? We will have a 4,000 sq.ft. aquaponics system that will be growing tons of vegetables and leafy greens by using natural bacteria that allow the fish waste from the system to become food for the plants. The plants in turn clean the water and the system recycles the water in a closed food loop system.
Have you heard of no-till farming? This method of farming rebuilds soil. In Barbados we do not have the best soils for growing and this rebuilding of the soil is key to organic farming. We build soil by adding layers of organic mulch, manures, microorganisms and volcanic ash to remineralize. This process builds up and feeds the microorganisms in the soil which are essential for healthy plants. Tilling and exposing these microorganisms to air kills them, petro chemical fertilizers kill them, Round Up kills them.
It is my philosophy that anything except building soil is fighting symptoms. If you do not have healthy soils then you will always have stressed plants. Insects will attack stressed plants because they do not want stressed or weak plants to reproduce seed for the next generation. Insects have evolved to allow healthy plants to live and stressed plants to be killed off. When you create productive food systems with healthy soils and bio diverse planting, sprays are rarely if ever needed and the sprays will only be made of things which feed the microorganisms to help boost the soils, such as molasses and compost teas.
We will also be promoting our organic heirloom seed diversity and seed saving to all the members of the Organic Growers and Consumers Association. This is a very important initiative in light of all the pro GMO, genetically modified seed information that seems to be going on in Barbados now. First we need to understand how and why these GMO seeds work. They are transgenic. The process of growing GMO crops has been proven to destroy top soils, biodiversity and water quality. On top of this there is no ability for a farmer to save seed for the next year’s crop, which means that we would have to be importing seeds for every crop, every year. GMO crops are sold to resist the application of poison that kills everything except for the crop with the transgenic genes or to contain a pesticide in the food itself in the form of BT toxin. I don’t understand the disconnect between seeing a skull and crossbones on a container and then spraying it on our food. In our search for food independence, it is madness to create a farming industry that is dependent on foreign imports of seeds and poison for its success. Every ounce that is shipped to Barbados goes into our soils, water table and reef system.
Archers Organics knows that the only way to achieve true food security and independence is through the use of organic practices with organic heirloom seeds, while promoting and coordinating with smaller farms that create a reliable and consistent supply of fresh, local organic produce. Archers Organics, as well as all the other members of the Organic Growers and Consumers Association, need your help. Support ethical, clean, organic food and come check out your local organic farmers at Holders Farmers Market, Hastings Farmers Market and at Archers Organics. With your help and support, we will grow.