A local Rastafarian group has come out on top of the Social Enterprise Approach to Eco-Tourism project facilitated by the Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW).
The Ichirouganaim Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR) project is fully organic with no chemicals or toxins being added to the environment and with alternative sources of energy being used to reduce the carbon footprint.
Today, during a ceremony at the Marcus Garvey Institute, Errol Barrow Park, Wildey, St Michael, The Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, presented ICAR’s representative Janette Trotman, with a financial contribution on behalf of his ministry which assisted in sponsoring the PWC programme, to further develop the organic eco-farm on 20 acres of land leased from Government.
Pinelands Chief Executive Officer Sophia Greaves said the project stood as a direct response to the emerging interest in the area of ecotourism and sociocultural tourism by challenging participants to reimagine Barbados’ tourism product in the face of global and environmental challenges such as climate change.
Greaves explained that the project was developed to pilot a social enterprise training model which will target new eco-tourism projects that focus on the Blue Economy, combining the principles of sustainable entrepreneurship with the agenda of Blue Economy, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Under funding support by the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEFSGP) implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with further support from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, PWC introduced the project to seven Non-Governmental-Organizations (NGOs) including ICAR.
The NGOs underwent an intense 10-day training process, following which they presented their social business ideas to a three-member panel, and the best two concepts were chosen to receive additional development support provided by the Barbados Youth Business Trust. ICAR and Sade Deane of Step Up Sustainable Solution presented the two successful projects.
Minister Humphrey, who lauded the two successful projects, indicated that at a time when Barbados is experiencing social, environmental and economic challenges, programmes such as the Social Enterprise Approach to Ecotourism project, are needed to encourage innovation among the population.
Humphrey said the idea of being innovative, entrepreneurial and caring for the environment, must be implemented.
“The Blue Economy is about production and both of these projects will lead to production. It is about finding sustainable ways to produce from the ocean, sustainable ways to make the things that were once waste brought back into a whole circle so that we have a circle economy that reduces waste. It is about reducing the amount of carbon in our environment because unless we get that right all of this is going to come to naught. It is also about preservation and protection,” Humphrey said.
Deane, who has participated in programmes facilitated by PWC in the past, spoke highly of the training experience and noted that she saw the sessions as an opportunity to present a solution to climate change by merging her areas of specialty with her civil society background.
Deane’s project the Carbon Credit Service, proposes a climate change solution through engaging travellers and businesses to invest in climate action by working with change makers such as educational institutions, civil society and community groups.
Meanwhile, Trotman who said she was new to participating in programmes offered by PCW said she was impressed with the attention given to each participant as well as the freedom with which facilitators shared information.
Trotman said she now has a greater sense of clarity about what was needed to achieve the projected outcomes for the farm, and noted that the training he received has significantly equipped her with relevant knowledge as it relates to the business skills needed for making a 3-year projection for ICAR’s project, including the implementation of a sustainable eco-business and educational arms.
“Coming out of it ICAR decided that we needed to establish a business arm to the organization because it is a non profitable organization. And the proposal that we came up with is to establish an organic eco-farm. We were awarded land in Bath, St John and that is the ideal point for the establishment of the eco-farm. In establishing the eco farm we are looking to use only sustainable farming practices, chemical free, using a variety of different techniques of mulching, water harvesting, and we are looking to improve biodiversity by planting a range of different crops. We are establishing an orchard and we are going to also have a plant nursery for the production of the seedlings. Blackbelly sheep farming is another area that we are looking to develop,” Trotman said. (AH)