Garden Pool has joined an international team with IICA, CARDI, and the Ministry of Agriculture to help the island of Barbuda with agriculture recovery. Due to hurricane Irma, the island is still without electricity and running water and is a complete food desert; residents have little to no access to fresh, affordable food.
The hurricane, which hit early September 2017, was estimated to have damaged or destroyed approximately 95% of Barbuda’s structures, leading to the evacuation of the entire island. This included most of it’s agricultural infrastructure, with there being no storage systems to allow farmers access to food after the hurricane, according to IICA national specialist Craig Thomas. The goal of the international project is to not only aid in supplying the recovering nation with food, but to help it build resilient agricultural systems, adaptable to climate change and capable of withstanding future natural disasters.
The project will be complete in phases due to a lack of services and materials during the on-going rehabilitation, the first being the construction of a greenhouse structure at the Sir Mc Chesney George Secondary School, designed by Garden Pool.
From there, there will be further activities over the course of the next four to six months. Garden Pool’s present and future contributions, in technology and systems, will be an integral part of restoring and re-establishing Barbuda’s agricultural sector after Hurricane Irma.
Understanding that there will be more hurricanes in the future, Garden Pool is dedicated to strengthening the school as a center for Barbuda’s recovery through a variety of methods, including the installation of solar panels and a 3D printer, and the use of Garden Pool’s Climate Smart Farm. This farm system is not only resistant to saltwater intrusion, a particular threat to Barbuda’s water resources, but its drought tolerant, uses 98% less water than conventional farming methods, and is adaptable due to the structure of its garden rows, which can be moved by hand before future hurricanes strike. These features contribute to a farm that is 10-18 times more productive than conventional farming methods. It will be aided further by a adaptive propagation and cloning station, which will produce thousands of plants a month without needing to start from seeds. Garden Pool seeks to completely restore the agriculture sector of Barbuda, in as short a time as possible.
September 5-6, 2017 – Hurricane Irma strikes Barbuda
September 8, 2017 – Barbuda is evacuated
September 20, 2017 – Garden Pool begins working on proposals for partnering with IICA for hurricane recovery in the region
October 2017 – Plans are set in to motion to build Garden Pool’s Climate Smart Farm, or CSF, in Barbuda with partners IICA, CARDI, and the ministry of Agriculture of Antigua & Barbuda
November 14, 2017 – A location was selected for the project in Barbuda, Sir McChesney George Secondary School
December 3-17, 2017 – Garden Pool arrives in Barbuda and begins construction on the CSF with a crew of 4 workers. There is no grid electricity or running water and widespread devastation on the island. A few roofs are being built by Cubans and a few Barbudans are moving back and rebuilding their homes and businesses. Our team camps at the primary school in tents and uses a tractor as transportation. The build is difficult due to the circumstances, but we manage to build 30% of the CSF. Garden Pool covered transportation costs for our two person team and donated all of the hydroponic fittings, net pots, neoprene lids, tubing, and commercial air pumps for the CSF.
February 3-10, 2018 – Dennis of Garden Pool returns to volunteer with a larger team of up to 12 for a few days to finish construction of the CSF. The Red Cross has set up their tents and begun distribution of supplies, including drinking water. Our team still camps on the outskirts of the school. Power is restored to 20% of the school via a new generator, but with gas rationing. Garden Pool installs solar panels and donates the first 3D printer on Barbuda to the school. We print fittings needed for the build on the first night with electricity at the school since September. We also worked all night preparing the bucket lids for cloning. Once again, Garden Pool covered our transportation costs and donated more supplies. The greatest asset has proven to be our experience in building and our amazing Ryobi cordless power tools that help get the job done.
February 22, 2018 – Fish are delivered to the school to restock the system. Tilapia fry are shipped via plane to Barbuda.
March 4-11, 2018 – Garden Pool is returning to start the Climate Smart Farm and train how to operate and troubleshoot the system. We will also teach the instructors how to 3D model with SketchUp to 3D print any item needed in the future. We will also setup the advanced propagation system designed by Garden Pool, so that the school can clone plants in the biology lab in mass. Our team will be camping once again and there is still very limited electricity and running water on the island.
Summer 2018 – Garden Pool has begun work to bring a chicken hatchery to the school to integrate with the fish hatchery and CSF at the Primary School. We also aim to start a pilot program for recycling plastic bottles to 3D printer filament so the students can learn sustainable manufacturing. We believe that the primary school will serve as a beacon of resilience and innovation.