From PRI Intern To Caribbean PRI Master Plan For Barbados!
To say the very least, I enjoy a good challenge and a thrilling adventure, but my visit to Barbados was a magical journey beyond my wildest expectations. But before I get there, let me take you back a bit.
My career has mostly been an entrepreneurial one, but there came a time in the Autumn of 2008, when the hustle and bustle simply wasn’t for me anymore. So what was there for me I wondered? I knew I loved being in nature, eating healthy food, ornamental gardening, and I especially knew that I had compassion for mankind and wanted to positively impact the world in one way or another. Then my prayers were answered the day I randomly searched the web seeking inspiration. Within minutes of tuning in to a live-stream webcast hosted by David Wolfe, he announced an opportunity to win 1 of 10 one-week spots to participate in a permaculture retreat in Hawaii. And by simply submitting a one page essay describing why I should be chosen, I found myself on a plane headed to that retreat in mid January 2009, to discover the wonderful world of permaculture. And if you believe in love at first site, this was it! OMG I thought…"where have I been all my life"!
Upon my return home, I immediately registered for a very interesting PDC course offered in Washington State, U.S.A. It was given over a duration of six months to allow for a biodynamic farming experience during the natural successions of spring, summer and autumn. Then the PDC course ended and I felt both filled and empty not knowing where exactly I could take this knowledge and although, permaculture stayed close to my heart, life went on as I continued to post and paste my aspirations onto my vision board.
By mid 2011, the time was right to finally make the move and register for the Winter Internship at Zaytuna Farm in Australia with Geoff Lawton, but not without first being put on a waiting list. And then I received the good news that a spot had opened up for me. Learning from experts like Geoff, Nicolas Huggins, Paul Taylor and the solar master Christopher Darker, was for sure going to be life changing. The program was intense and Zaytuna Farm offered a memorable learning experience which I highly recommend. In addition, Australia’s country is not only strikingly beautiful, but its people are truly the highlight. What an amazing country!
Within days of arriving back home, I began to focus on my next move. Will it be the Bahamas or will it be Barbados? Geoff, encouraged us to sign onto the Worldwide Permaculture Network (WPN) and so I did. I then followed the project of my respected classmate Theron Beaudreau, and this is were my adventure heats up.
Allow me to explain. As I finished posting a comment on Theron’s website, a very unexpected Barbados WordPress Blog popped up that seemed kind of familiar to me. As I took a closer look and scrolled down to the very bottom, I noticed in awe my single post dating back to 2008. The topic was on growing food and my post read,"if I knew how to grow food gardens, I’d be down there helping out in a flash". So I posted a second comment just beneath,"full circle ahead, here I am 3 years later qualified to come down to actually teach you". Before you know it the owner of the blog contacts me with helpful information and within days, I had reached out to the Barbados Minister of the Food Crop Research, Mr. David Bynoe, and Nicole Garofano, of The Future Centre Trust.
To make a six month adventure short, I arrived in Barbados in March 2012 and departed September 2012. During this time, I made contacts and networked with amazing people. Doors kept opening up for me and the path felt divine. How about being in the right place at the right time? One person in particular who had contacts beyond ones imagination was a very well known and respected Barbadian gentleman, Mr. Keith Laurie OBE, who is also Ambassador to Haiti, and together with Mr. Andre Alleyne and Mr. Allan Marshall of Friends of Graeme Hall, helped bring this project forward. A lunch meeting was arranged to meet Mr. Michael King, the Permanant Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and as quick as a blink of an eye, I was presenting a power point to the Department of Agriculture, introducing permaculture and my goal of creating the Caribbean Permculture Research Institute (CPRI) for the region. During my visit I was honored to meet with the Canadian High Commission, the head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), collaborated in a town meeting with Dr. Chelston Brathwaite head of the National Commission on Agriculture, Mr. S. James Gardiner the Australian Honorary Consul, and worked as a mentor with two students from the Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University, Canada’s only teaching and research facility in the tropics, on a project to evolve the permaculture garden at the Future Centre Trust whereby I received a certificate of recognition.
What I can say about my efforts is this. My project has real potential and strong support. Believe in your dreams, stay focused, endure and I am confident that whatever your goal, nothing is too small or too big when it’s driven from a passionate heart.
My goal now is to put together a strong and dynamic PRI team and seek financial grants to lift this project off the ground. The project needs a qualified PRI teacher and a qualified administrator, and if you would like to be a part of this 3-year Master Plan Project in Barbados, please check out my employment post.
Here’s to the freedom to dream, permaculture and a healthy green planet.