Speaking at the recent launch event on Tuesday, July 12, James McAnally, General Manager of Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos, said while the company strives to protect the environment and meet the needs of its guests , it is equally important that Beaches Resorts build the capacity of surrounding communities.
“This Compost and Grow program aims to strengthen food security in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It will introduce farmers to composting; build their capacity to increase product yields; and reduce solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
McAnally continued, “Educating today’s farmers is essential, but sharing that knowledge with the next generation will be essential to ensure sustainability. We are thrilled to have our Beaches team members leading this effort and sharing best practices with communities.
Sandals Resorts International, the operators of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, already sources more than 90% of its food supply locally and is increasing its investments in agriculture and institutions, training the next generation of producers.
The Turks and Caicos Islands have a wide variety of soil quality and quantity spread across its many islands and cays. This has resulted in the concentration of commodity farming on some islands more than others.
Courtney Missick, a well-known farmer from North Caicos, expressed the potential impact this program will have on food security and communities.
“If we continue to invest in the agricultural sector here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, I am sure that one day we will be able to feed the entire population with our locally grown natural products,” Mr Missick said.
The Honorable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism and Agriculture, who was present at the ceremony, spoke about the national policy directive to build the capacity of citizens to eat more of what they grow.
Minister Connolly added that the new Compost and Grow program will have many benefits for the island’s food security.
“The program will be two-pronged, providing opportunities for students and farmers from surrounding communities to learn, participate, and share the knowledge and practices gained with their communities,” said Georgia Scarlett, Environmental Coordinator at Sandals. Foundation.
“The first phase will see organic waste in the form of fruit and vegetable scraps separated in the resort’s kitchen. These will then be collected by the Grounds team to complete the compost production process by adding sand, as well as ‘periodic mixing and water,’” Scarlett said.
Compost produced by the all-inclusive family resort will be used to fertilize the property’s gardens, adding nutrients to ornamental plants like ixoras, hibiscus, bougainvillea and more.
Schools to Join Compost Training
In addition to workshops aimed at building the capacity of farmers to produce and use compost, the program will also involve a number of schools in the practice of waste management.
“The second phase of the project will see members of the Grounds team training students and farmers. Theoretical and practical principles of compost production will be shared with the trainees to increase organic farming production on the island,” said Kyle Brinovcar, Assistant Grounds Manager at Beaches Resorts.
The Compost and Grow program builds on the islands’ Farming in Schools program, reducing not only solid waste but also greenhouse gases caused by carbon sequestration.
The Honorable Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, highlighted the importance of the environmental education component of the program as a key element of sustainability.
Agriculture and agricultural support is one of the six main focus areas of the Sandals Foundation, which is implementing 40 key sustainable community projects in honor of its parent company’s 40th anniversary. Other areas of focus include conservation efforts and touring, support for local artisans, small business and community market support, hospitality training and certification, and music education and entertainment.
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