Youth of the Soil: GrenFarms

Eat what we grow and grow what we eat has be a local mantra for years and though it’s easy to say not everyone has caught the vision. But for those who have, they have also carried it the distance and deserve recognition for the fruits of their labour. I want to recognize them on this platform in a new series called Youth of the Soil.

October’s Youth of the Soil

 Kenroy George of Grenfarms

 

KR: Introduce yourself to our readers.

KG: I am a designer, developer, and marketer born in Grenada. Moved to New York at age 10 for 18 years. Love to travel, photography, archery, and most recently, sailing. I spend a lot of time breaking things apart and finding ways to improve them. Startups are my life.

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*Photo compliments GrenFarms*

KR: Was farming always a career goal and if not, how were you introduced to it.

KG: Farming was never a career goal but I was exposed to it from a very early age. My uncle owned a pig farm (can see in photos) when I was younger and I always helped early in the mornings before school. My family also grew a lot around the house so I picked up a few things here and there.

Hydroponics intrigued me from an engineering standpoint. It is also a very efficient way to do something labor intensive and I love efficiency.

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*Photo compliments GrenFarms*

KR: What do you cultivate and what are the some of the techniques that you employ?

KG: Lettuce was my first crop and I grew four varieties: romaine, iceberg, salanova, and adriana. We will grow other items in the future so keep an eye out!

My section of the farm is strictly hydroponic. We plan to test aquaponics in another section soon.

KR:  What inspired those choices?

KG: Efficiency and year-round production yield were the top motivations for picking hydroponics.

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*Photo compliments GrenFarms*

KR: Can you share with us one struggle or challenge that you’ve encountered during this process and how you overcame it?

KG: One persistent complaint you hear is how difficult it is to get capable workers for projects and it’s true. You can work with someone for a couple weeks and they might disappear one day and never return. When you’re starting off a project, you will most likely have to bring all the necessary skills with you and train someone eventually to take over. Building and maintaining my hydroponic system was a solo endeavor but I’m slowing making the move to find someone to take over for me. They best way it seems is to asking around and get recommendations from someone who’s had a long lasting relation with a person capable of doing what you want.

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*Photo compliments GrenFarms*

KR: What would you said to anyone considering farming as a career.

KG: Like anything else, you have to really love farming in order to stick around for the long haul. It is not something you will get rich overnight doing BUT there are huge opportunities waiting to be capitalized on when the right skills and resources come together. Do your research and talk to as many people you can, especially those who’ve done it for a long time. Build a wide network because you never know where the next great idea or collaboration will come from.

KR: Where do you see Grenfarms in the next five years.

KG: Grenfarms in 5 years will hopefully be a combination between a traditional farm and a service provider. A service provider in the sense we will help other farms or individuals adopt new farming practices, automate receptive tasks using tech solutions, and offer ready to assembly systems. Gathering and processing data from multiple sources will also be a huge component of what we do

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*Photo compliments GrenFarms*

KR: In your opinion, how can Grenada’s Agriculture Sector been improved?

KG:

1. We need to make better use of our terrain; Terrace farming would greatly increase our overall capacity on the island.

2. We need a centralized repository where anything farming (equipment, buying and selling, rentals, etc.) can be found with ease. This would simplify the process for both the farmers and potential customers looking to buy what they need.

3. Farmers get the shitty end of the stick. Compare what they are paid for their produce and the price they are sold, it would be demotivating anyone.

4. We need to stop with the cloak and dagger methods of information sharing. It hurts everyone! We need an Open Data Policy across all government agencies.

5. We need more value-added products that can be exported! The agricultural sector will NOT grow if this does not happen since we already have massive wastage with produce on the island.

Find Kenroy here:

Website: http://grenstart.com/

Email: kenroy@grenstart.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kengeo/

           https://www.instagram.com/grenfarms/

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