Money grows on trees

After 8 weeks Participating members of the ECO Learning Program enjoyed their seed to harvest salad mix which included bak choy, arugula and mustard greens at St Maarten Agricultural Research & Development Center Foundation in St Peters.


St Peters – Its been an amazing past 8 months putting this project together. Every step of the way, everyday you face a challenge that allows you to exercise your mind and actions toward finding the right solution mentally, physically, spiritually or financially.

You can never tell the challenges you may face until you take your journey head on. Some of us may be faced with one of the above challenges, but today we will try to address those that are faced with financial challenges and perhaps offer an ecological solution.

Matshona Dhliwayo is a Canadian based Philosopher, Entrepreneur, and author and is credited with saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees, but grows on intelligent minds”. The phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” is a metaphor that means money is not an unlimited resource that can be easily accessed, like leaves on a tree. It often appears in situations where someone is asking for money without having put in any effort to earn it.

We can agree to a part of this paragraph and respectfully disagree to another.

What we can agree to is the fact that ‘’ it often appears in situations where someone is asking for money without having put in any effort to earn it. It also outlines that ‘’money grows on intelligent minds.’’ Which we believed should have been phrased more like ‘’ Money is cultivated from Intelligent minds. While respectfully disagreeing with the part of this expression  ‘’ Money doesn’t grow on trees”. Why? Well it’s really logical if we decide to put our rational state of mind to work.

Rational thinking is a process. It is just the ability to think with reason. It encompasses the ability to draw sensible conclusions from facts, logic and data. In simple words, if you allow your thoughts to be based on facts and not emotions, it is called rational thinking.

So let’s break it down a bit. In today’s society no matter the career status or job description, everybody must eat. This is a fact. As we teach our children to become doctors and lawyers, we forget that one of the most important professions on the planet is the job of the farmer. The farmer, while being one of the most undermined career paths we choose not to lead our children down, plays one of the most essential roles in today’s society, They keep food on our table, which in return allows them to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table.

Having a roof over your head costs money, doesn’t it? There is first the cost of developing that home, then Electricity, Water, Telecommunications, Household essentials and Clothes on your back  ect, that all cost what ? Money, Yes Correct!

The farmer essentially sows his seeds with patients, whether leafy greens, provision, fruits, herbs, shrubs or flowers which are all grown on a tree or vines etc, all in effort to make his way to the market and turn his harvest into what? Money…

In 2019 FAO estimates the gross value of global (primary) agricultural production at just over $5 trillion.The $5 trillion costs are equivalent to over 7 percent current global economic output each year – a bill that is simply too high for $8 trillion worth of food. Which is $2.43 Trillion spent on people under- and malnourished (3 percent 2018 global GDP) and another $1.62 Trillion  spent on people overweight and obese (2 percent of 2018 global GDP).

‘’ We can cut these health issues by cultivating our own healthy organic crops locally. Which in return, mean more profits in our pocket’’ Wyatte Expressed

The World Bank estimated (primary) agricultural value-added at about $3.2 trillion. The contribution of the food industry and food services sectors is difficult to estimate because of lack of reliable data , but we estimate that the food system generates 2 to 5 times as much value as farm production itself. – X

Since the post-farm to farm ratio of value in the food system is much lower in developing countries, we estimate the value of the global food system at roughly $8 trillion, or 10 percent of the $80 trillion global economy. – Worldbank

The global food and agriculture industry is worth around $8.7 trillion, which is 10% of the global economy. The food market is expected to grow annually by 6.58% from 2024–2028, reaching $14.78 trillion by 2030. The largest segment of the food market is meat, which was valued at $1.46 trillion in 2024. – Google

Now what is Unique for us is, as We still consider St Maarten to be a lower developing country, we still have a chance to tap into this thriving global sector while keeping our cost and impact to climate challenges at a minimum.

How do we plan to do that you might ask? Simple.

By educating, cultivating and outreaching to community members. We call it ECO.

The more community members that are willing to be educated and encouraged to grow their own food, may just be the driving force we need to lead the path to a brighter, healthier tomorrow. It is also a much more positive impact not only on climate change, but we also people of the community and the way we value ourselves the the environment surrounding us.

Who will be able to take better care of you then yourself?

They key to building resilient communities include a few components such as  Community Engagement and Participation, Social Cohesion and Inclusion, Strong Local Institutions and Leadership, Infrastructure and Built Environment, Economic Diversity and Livelihood Opportunities, Environmental Sustainability, Access to Education and Healthcare, Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Adaptive Governance and Planning, Information Sharing and Communication. Once we are able to put this under our belts, we can now find comfort in knowing that our communities will thrive. Keeping in mind, once our community is thriving we are also thriving.

The average person spends about $100 per year on just bell peppers, no wonder our yearly grocery bill is over $5000+, just to add the rest of the ingredients to your plate. Now Imagine planting those same bell peppers, some chives, some lettuce etc and everyday you use them just put one dollar in your savings jar. That is a savings of $182.50 – $365 a year.. Now, with rational thinking, You see how money grows on trees?

The more we plant will allow us to have quality wholesome food on our plates while the additional can be sold at a reasonable cost and may help toward bridging that lil financial  gap some of us may be faced with. The more capital we generate and have in our communities, the more we can stand resilient together.

With the support of R4CR, ( Resources for Community Resilience ) ECO SXM looks forward to making resources available to community members and the general public such as educational programs, soil, seeds, seedlings, plants, home gardening \ farming assistance and project development in every effort to keep the awareness and importance of Agriculture for our communities alive.

Interested in contacting ECO St Maarten Agricultural Research and Development Center Foundation for any of the above mentioned resources? Please feel free to email us at or visit our Facebook page  @

This project is funded by the Government of the Netherlands via the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The R4CR (Resources for Community Resilience) program is administered by the World Bank, implemented by VNGI, and overseen by the NRPB.