Agriculture in The Keys St Maarten
- Project: Agriculture
- Status: In Progress
- Location: The Keys Village
- Building Area: Approx: 6000 m2
Stichting Marlin Yard (foundation) mission is to stimulate the resilience and self-reliance of mainly island residents in the Kingdom of the Netherlands; something that is urgently needed after experiencing the hurricanes in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Our aim is to strengthen communities by building, encouraging, executing and supporting farms and community gardens where every person in Sint Maarten can grow healthy food in their neighbourhood and districts.
Join our mission to create a sustainable and resilient agricultural economy on Sint Maartenon DWI by establishing the following initiatives: CSA – Community Supported Agriculture and Greenhouse horticulture and Community Gardens.
What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?
CSA is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers within the food system more closely. This is done by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of the FFGA farm and or participating group of farms.
CSA in short: People buy “shares” of the farm’s harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they’re harvested.
Funding for the farms entire operating costs is acquired from membership fees submitted prior to the season’s start. Participating in the program each member receives either a weekly or bi-weekly box of produce or other farm goods. This includes in-season fruits, herbs and vegetables and can expand to dried goods, eggs, milk, meat, fish, flowers, honey, jams, pickles and or other preserves at overall lower food costs. The first CSA will be executed in The Keys village, creating The Keys Gardens FFGA. This location includes Greenhouse horticulture that also supplies the Community Supported Agriculture program.
What is a Community Garden?
Community gardens are common spaces where people of different demographics come together to create, develop and sustain a gardening space in their locality. Through community gardening, the gardening culture and a greater sense of civic ownership is manifested among the public and private estates, schools and organisation. Not only does it beautify our villages with blooming flowers, vegetables, spices and fruits, it is an opportunistic platform for your neighbors, peers and colleagues to come together for bonding and sharing of knowledge and experiences. Especially in our multi-ethnic society, community gardens nurture the values of cooperation, volunteering, respecting diversity and creating ecological awareness.
Allotment Plots for Gardening
Unfenced, each allotment plot consists of different sizes starting at 16 ft x 20 ft = 320 ft2 /5 m x 6 m = 30 m2 planter beds that can be leased for a period of three years at a charge of ANG 135,- / $75.- per year. The allotments sizes one can apply for are 30 m2, 50 m2 and 100 m2 of which each allotment has different lease fees. A household (applicant must be at least 18 years old) is able to ballot for a plot under this scheme. Assigned through a balloting system, a Letter of Offer will be sent to successful applicants within a month and you can expect to start gardening in your very own plot approximately another one to two months after. One applicant per household is allowed to take up a Licence of one allotment gardening plot at any one time.
Construction & Services
An 1.5 acre is reserved to provide at least a 50< plots with gardening sheds, water irrigation system, renewable energy system, a main Workshop & Security shed and more. While preparations of the Allotment Gardens will take place at the garden location in Sucker Garden, we feel compelled to preserve and restore the stone wall fencing also known as the historic “Slave Walls”. Construction is managed by and executed by Marlin Yard – experts in alternative construction and renewable energy sources – together with volunteers and 3rd party local suppliers.
Currently we are looking for donations or investors for small investment amounts that will help us:
- Provide all building materials and needed labor equipment.
- Create a local workforce who will be taught gardening.
Reliable & Experienced
Marlin Yard is fully responsible for the overall management, execution and marketing activities of this project.
We want to start preparations for at least 50 Allotment / Community gardens where locals on St. Maarten can come together to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruits, trees and flowers. For the start-up of creating allotment / community garden plots we seek your help!
Support & Incentives
Donation $6 – Supportive ring – “beer opener”
Support our project and receive our campaign bracelet that shows your support for this good cause.
Donation $20 – Supportive beads bracelet
Support our project and receive this ring that shows your support for this good cause.
Donation $50 – Supportive T-shirt
Support our project and receive our campaign T-shirt that shows your support for this good cause.
Donations $100 and more – Stays at Vicky’s Keys Eco Hostel
In return for supporting this plan you are invited to stay at our St. Maarten partner – the only Eco Hostel called Vicky’s Keys – whom is a great supporter of this mission. In addition you get to witness the project progress of modifying shipping containers into market stalls and or “Work & Live Units” at the local market. If you like you can help sell locally made stuff at the market, or help make furniture out of pallets and or help sell great smoothies made out of fresh fruits and herbs from out the perma-cultured gardens.
Donations $800 and more – Come and Test the 1st off-grid Eco Container Home
In return for supporting this plan you are invited to stay 5 days in the first Eco Home to be created soon.
Risks and challenges
By implementing our 4xR motto = Reduce- Reuse- Recycle and Repurpose, we minimize investment risks. The challenges and risks to complete this project are mostly climate and area related. St. Maarten lies in a hurricane zone. Hurricane periods are from 1 June throughout 30 November peaking in August, September, and October with higher temperatures, drought and occurring tropical storms which are common making it a gamble if a hurricane would hit St. Maarten.
It is crucial to start preparation construction activities in December until May. Although hurricane and earthquake challenged construction is carried out we cannot forecast the destructiveness of a hurricane or nature related phenomenon. It’s possible building materials could get damaged or lost in such cases. But nevertheless we put damaged building materials back to good use!