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The Permaculture Research Team has been busy over the past academic week in its progress towards Parents Weekend! The team has continued collecting and comprehending data, visited a local farm in Palmetto Point, harvested a wealth of radishes from The Island School’s on-campus farm and has planned a locally sourced Parents Weekend meal.

First, the students dropped by Island Farm, a local farm and food stand on Queen’s Highway in Palmetto Point, where they investigated another form of Bahamian farming. Island Farm is a hidden oasis west of Queen’s Highway, humbly advertised by a large, unassuming wooden sign. Ostensibly a simple farm stand, Island Farm is actually an extensive (roughly 15 acre) operation—the gross majority of its products fueling its storefront. The physical farm stand is populated by various value-added goods: jams, jellies, hot sauce, pesto, hummus and more. Behind the storefront lies the nursery plants (also for sale) as well as the agricultural fields. The sheer amount of greenery is pleasantly overwhelming and lush in comparison to previously visited farms.

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The Permaculture Team has really valued visiting a variety of farms over the semester as well as being able to compare the ways in which different agricultural systems create, maintain and irrigate their soil. In the case of Island Farm, more specifically, the students were able to see how other types of agricultural enterprises use compost as a major soil amendment to produce healthier and more productive soil. Island Farm is unique in that the business also operates on the income of several separate “side hustles” (like the farm stand products and a landscaping business branch) which provide a monetary cushion for the actual production of fresh produce.

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On the Permaculture Team’s farm on The Island School campus, the team has managed to pull 5.75 pounds of radishes from the raised beds. The second of three radish harvests for the 2018 growing season, this most recent harvest went straight from the campus farm to the kitchen, where it was quickly chopped and added as a delicious bonus to the salad bar for the community’s lunch. The third radish crop—which was planted during the first expeditionary rotations—will be ready for harvest just in time for the Parent’s weekend lunch in approximately two weeks.

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The Parents Weekend meal, one of the Permaculture Team’s original projected goals for the semester, is quickly approaching. In preparation for this locally sourced lunch, the students have been in discussion with Jacquel, the head chef at The Island School, regarding the coordination of this meal as well as the creation of its menu. In investigating the origin and distance of the various foods we seek to place on the Parents Weekend menu and conversing with Jacquel about her food-acquirement process, we gained a deeper understanding of the campus’ food shed. We hope that our lettuce, peppers, and cucumbers turn out as well as our radishes, and we can’t wait to serve our farm-to-table meal!