A Garden Grows in the Bahamas

04
Mar 2013
The idea of living on an island has always filled me with romantic notions. I’ve had a Robinson Crusoe fantasy since I first read the book as a child. Reality, however is not always wrapped up in such a pretty picture. While many tropical islands have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, such was not the case on this sandy cay.

The residents of Great Harbour Island have delicious seafood to put on their plates, but fresh fruits and vegetables are few and far between. There are stores on the island well stocked with canned provisions {and information about BPA has me eating as little canned as possible} but anything fresh and green was brought with us over from the mainland. A new program on the island working towards self reliance is changing all that. Begun by a few home owners in cooperation with the Bahamian government, a farming project has been started at the local school. At home, I’ve seen first hand how involving schoolchildren with the growth of fruits and vegetables piques their interest in actually eating the finished product, so I was anxious to learn more.

This exciting endeavor has everyone talking about food. When I chatted with a young girl from the school, she told me how her friends liked to pick off leaves to munch on during the day. Another friend loved working in the dirt and picking weeds. It was obvious the project had made an impression and her enthusiasm for the garden beamed in her smile.

Composting will become an active part of the cycle, with residents using bio-degradable bags for kitchen waste to turn into a nutrient rich additive for the soil.

Hydroponics is another method being used to grow some of the vegetables without soil.

That evening we had just picked collard greens sautéed with garlic and drizzled with balsamic. The Island was definitely onto a good thing.

Now they just need a scarecrow to keep out the mischievous garden thieves!