SABA — Members of the Island Council visited the hydroculture facility of Gezondheid Farms at Rendez-Vous on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Members of the Island Council Carl Buncamper, Eviton Heyliger and Esmeralda Johnson received an update about the new agricultural project from CEO of Gezondheid Farms Jim Garza. They were able to see the progress that has been made and the view the development of the showroom where lettuce mixes are cultivated.
Island Council member Johnson asked Garza how long the plants stayed in the rack. Garza explained that the plants started in the germination trays and were then transferred to the rack system pipes after 7 days, where they remain for 27 days until they are fully grown.
Island Council Member Buncamper wanted to know how the farm contributed to Saba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Garza explained that the hydroculture farm contributed to Saba’s development in several ways, both direct and indirect. Every dollar spent on the farm rolls back 100% into the GDP tax base, said Garza.
Several other topics were discussed during the Island Council’s visit. These included the priorities of the farm to meet the deliverables of the funding provided by the Dutch Government, the crop production to make fresh, healthy produce accessible to the community, the creating of educational programs to inspire the youth to look at a career in agriculture, and the providing of awareness programs to help the community eat healthier to combat heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Garza said the visit was educational and informative, and allowed the Island Council Members to see firsthand the development of the project to date, the farm’s crop production in action, and its potential for growth.
Also present during the tour of the Island Council Members were Agriculture and Nature Management Policy Advisor Justin Simmons-de Jong and Head of the Agricultural Department Randall Johnson.