On Wednesday, Sail Caribbean students traded in sand and sea for soil and a lush garden. Students from the Tango fleet, along with ten YEP students, took a trip to Good Moon Farm, an organic farm owned and operated by local artist Aragorn. Located on a steep hillside on Tortola’s fertile north side, Good Moon provides fresh, delicious produce to local families and the charter boat community.
At Sail Caribbean, we do our best to “leave no trace” when it comes to the natural world, and as an organic farm, so does Good Moon. So what does it mean to be organic? Farms like Good Moon use only natural techniques to fertilize, grow, and protect their plants. Deep pits at the end of terraces collect rainwater and prevent the precious soil from washing off the mountain in the rain; compost from plant cuttings is used to make rich soil rather than trucking in factory-made fertilizer; no pesticides are used – instead ladybugs keep unwanted bugs away. This means that it’s safe to simply pick fruits and vegetables from the Earth and eat them!
The resident farmer, Drake, gave students a tour of the terraces and raised beds, explaining the different techniques employed to keep the farm producing spices, herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, exotic flowers like frangipani and bromeliads, and of course delicious fruits like bananas, mangoes, and passion fruit. Students even got to shake mangoes out of a tree, peeling the skin and eating the sticky sweet fruit as a snack. The YEP students showed Tango students how to open the passion fruits and suck out the sour little seeds inside, and at lunch everyone got to taste some freshly picked bananas. All are grown on the farm almost year round using sustainable techniques similar to traditional Carib farming practices.
Then it was time to get down to business! Students weeded three of the raised plant beds, being careful to pull out the plants from their roots, shaking off valuable soil. Along the way there was time to admire earthworms, caterpillars, and other creepy crawlies that are important to the garden’s health. By the time the students finished, two large bins were filled with weeds ready for composting.
It was a rewarding day outdoors for both Good Moon Farm and Sail Caribbean, and provided many examples of how we can peacefully coexist with the natural world while keeping both ourselves and the Earth healthy and strong!
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.