Beacon Farms: Agricultural Innovation & Community Care
Beacon Farms works to provide local produce and farming services for the Island’s inhabitants, but that’s not all they’re doing...
In recent years, focus has shifted from relying on imported goods to creating self-sufficient ways to achieve food security here in Cayman. Islandwide, local farmers and fishermen are working to make our home a more sustainable and more self-sufficient island. One of these organisations is Beacon Farms, located in North Side. Here, the team works to provide local produce and farming services for the Island’s inhabitants. But that’s not all they’re doing.
Beacon Farms, supported by the Beacon of Hope Foundation, is a registered non-profit organisation which offers job opportunities for those Caymanians who seek them as part of a “Continuum of Care” for recovery from drugs and/or alcohol abuse. The organisation provides a structured and supervised sober living environment and helps develop positive life skills and pro-social behaviours for their employees. Interestingly, most of the workforce have never worked on a farm before! Many have an interest in agriculture, some favour this simplistic way of living, and others desire to help feed Cayman’s community. But what all the farmers share is a common desire to remain clean and sober while improving their life through innovative farming and agricultural practices.
Beacon Farms does not only provide a social recovery programme. The organisation is also leading the way in agricultural innovation on the Island. In 2022, Beacon Farms harvested its first crop of Swiss chard and mangelwurzels, a large root vegetable from the same family as red and sugar beets. Commonly used as cattle fodder, both leaves and roots of the mangel beet are in fact edible by humans. Although mangelwurzels are typically grown in temperate climates, the Beacon Farms team successfully trialled a winter crop in their research and development garden in 2022 and have plans to plant more extensively in their commercial fields this year.
After investing in a state-of-the-art static aeration composting facility, Beacon Farms can accelerate the production of natural composting. Their goal is to triple the size of their composting facilities so that they can produce and supply compost to farmers, developers, landscapers and homeowners at a fraction of the price of imported fertilisers.
Additionally, Beacon Farms recently launched a new programme, titled Beacon Farming Services, which offers other farmers in the community the option to hire Beacon Farms’ equipment to improve soil quality and create commercial growing fields. Using their rock crusher, farmers can break down rock and earth which, when mixed with compost, becomes fertile soil. Beacon Farms has prepared five acres of fields in this way and wants to make this service available to the wider community to help increase crop yields, turning focus away from imported goods and instead increasing agricultural literacy and food security for Cayman.
The Beacon Farm Shop is open Monday-Saturday, 8am-5pm at their beautiful location at the northern end of Frank Sound Road, before you reach Jack's Esso gas station. There is delicious produce on sale, plus their popular coconut products such as oil, flour, lip balm and soap. As a non-profit, all the proceeds support the programme at Beacon Farms which provides jobs in agriculture to Caymanians in recovery.
Inspired by Beacon Farms? Think you could play a role making this social and agricultural experiment a success? Their team welcomes all who are interested in helping to advance projects and care about assisting Caymanians in recovery from substance abuse.
Support local, visit the Beacon Farm Shop, or donate to this worthy foundation to support Cayman's community.