Hydroponic systems can improve food security
by Marlon Madden
One of Barbados’ newest entrepreneurs is on a mission to crack the island’s massive food import bill and help improve food security. By using new and innovative technologies, Candyse Griffith aims to help Barbadians eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables.
In May of this year, the 35-year-old St. Michael resident founded GreenGrub Barbados, a tech-savvy dropshipping shop for indoor and outdoor gardening supplies. GreenGrub Barbados specializes in hydroponic systems and technologically enhanced hydroponic greenhouses. There is also an advisory service.
Griffith told Today’s business While she wanted the systems in every school across the country to teach children about farming using modern technology, she also wanted to see one in most households on the island. She said there has been a high level of interest from individuals so far in the systems, which are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
“You can grow anything with these systems. Anything you can think of, even strawberries and flowers. So there are a number of industries they can be used in, ”she said, adding that some of the structures were built to withstand a category five hurricane.
“I would like the residents to grow their own food to help them with the rising food prices. We import so many different things, but having some things to do in your house by yourself will help with prices due to the falling demand for these items.
And we can then move on to export when we grow our own food and have our greenhouses here. They won’t be in every household, but it will still be a little easier if the supply is distributed through the local market, ”she explained.
After completing her online MBA at the University of Edinburgh in business administration with a focus on human resource management, Griffith immediately wanted to find a new field to put her theory into practice. She had her sights set on the burgeoning medical marijuana industry, but after her research, which began in September 2019, Griffith found that it was very difficult to source greenhouse technology in Barbados. That was when the idea for GreenGrub Barbados was born.
“So instead of trying to just do my own project, I decided to sell the greenhouses here so people could access them instead of going through what I went through – trying to get suppliers for every single thing find and do everything in the end. “Above the square,” she said.
Griffith works with a corporate consultant in the United States who researches advances in hydroponics. She is the broker for three companies, two innovative home and outdoor garden supply stores and the other supplier of farm stalls, which are available in various sizes to enable indoor and outdoor agriculture with nutrient-rich water.
The systems grow plants completely organically and do not require the use of pesticides or herbicides. Some of the systems are capable of growing the plants up to three times faster than normal farming at controlled temperatures, she explained. Pointed out that many schools around the world are using these type of systems to help students learn how to grow crops, Griffith said she has already reached out to the Department of Education in hopes of seeing them in schools in Barbados to be set up.
The mother of one said she believed the modern designed systems, which eliminate the hard work known to be associated with traditional farming, will be crucial in encouraging more young people to get involved in farming
Sector. “This will help kids understand the importance of growing their own organic food, how to grow it scientifically with technology, and it can also teach secondary school students how to build their own systems. We need to get into the advances in the smart farming industry, ”she said.
she said Today’s business She also believed the use of hydroponics and aquaponics could help the country cut its massive food imports, which can reach as much as $ 700 million in a year. She said that while the upfront cost for such systems may seem high, the payout has been substantial. “It’s good for people who want to start a business. It’s fully automated so you don’t need a lot of work or help. You only need one in two people in the greenhouse, ”she added.
“These greenhouses, if we are successful with the National Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture Plan, will get you there with low running costs,” she said, pointing out that they are best powered by solar energy systems because of their high reliance on energy.
Her advice to anyone currently looking to own a business is “research it before you enter” and “let the internet be your friend”. Griffith said while doing business in Barbados remained a very costly endeavor, she was ready to make the trip.