The Value of having a Farmers Market Within the Community

Organic Caribbean Urban Farms
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Everybody benefits from supporting their local farmers market. It’s easy to do, especially when the market has multiple vendors offering a good variety and is close to your home. When you support your local farmers’ market, you are supporting something much greater than you imagine.

The Fiber of the Community

Local farmers markets have the unique ability to bring locals together by providing a lively, family friendly environment that everyone can enjoy.

Local produce; crafts; vegan, vegetarian, and mainstream food options; desserts; clothing and more can be found at your local farmers market. In a way it should be called a Community market as it represents a segment of your town coming together offering their best products for everyone to consume and enjoy.

Business Incubators

Building the local economy begins at the farmers market. New small businesses often begin their journey here in order to test the market with their products. The level of success many of them find at the market will decide if they go on to open a local store front. The merchants that move to a brick and mortar space will look to hire local help. This is something that often gets overlooked but is very important to keep in mind as you support your local farmers market. The success of the small business merchants will spill over to the economical success of your town.

Tourist Attraction

Tourist will come from far and wide to visit your town because of your beautiful beaches, your beautiful rivers or your grand mountains. One way of exposing tourists to the local people and culture is through the farmers markets.

Tourists often look to find the local farmers markets and see for themselves the produce and arts that are not necessarily available at your traditional malls. These folks want to take as much as they can from their experience in your town and what better way to do so than at the local, friendly farmers’ market.

One more attraction for tourists are local farms which gives your guests a refreshing perspective on how food is grown locally. We wrote a blog post on the tours we offer of our urban farm and we were amazed on how many great friends we made thanks to them.

Better Prices

Way too often the price point is overlooked. Local products, especially produce are immune to the price shifts in the general market as they are transported a very short distance to arrive at their destination.

Read Full Article on RossiNaturals.com

Hotels in the Caribbean Go Green!

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“So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.”

Today businesses across all industries require certification to provide independent assurance that their enterprises operate sustainably. For more than two decades Green Globe has been providing sustainability certification for the various sectors that make up the international travel and tourism industry. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainability has been applied to a great variety of business types from accommodation and hospitality, to transport and tour operators, conference venues and meeting planners, as well as management and public relations firms.

At Green Globe we know that to truly do good we must all do better. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism has been developed over decades of research and development. It is the original Standard that all tourism eco-labels are based on. So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.

View list of all ‘Green Globe’ Caribbean Hotels

New Hub Launched to Increase Transparency of Climate Action in the Caribbean

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UN Climate Change News, 21 February 2019 – Measuring, reporting and verifying climate action under the Paris Climate Change Agreement is being strengthened in the Caribbean region with the help of a new hub, with support from UN Climate Change.

This month, a Caribbean Measurement, Reporting and Verification “MRV” Hub was formally launched, a unique collaborative technical institution where countries in the region can share expertise to foster regional excellence and generate stronger policy-relevant carbon accounting.

The MRV Hub provides a mechanism through which country experts will function as a true learning, mentoring and resource-sharing technical cooperative

At a meeting of ten countries from the English-speaking Caribbean region convened at St. George’s University in Grenada, UNDP’s Damiano Borgogno delivered a call to action.

“You cannot control what you cannot measure,” he said, noting that countries must be able to measure and track emissions to make informed decisions that result in climate change action.

Read Full Article

‘Not so fast on the weed’

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Some members of the clergy believe that Barbados should approach the legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes with a greater degree of caution.

 Head of Mount Zion Missions, Reverend Dr. Lucille Baird, condemned what she called the sudden introduction of medical marijuana legislation as Barbadians were grappling with economic challenges. She accused the relevant authorities of “slipping it under the radar” while Barbadians were otherwise distracted.

 “While Barbadians were under the aneathesia of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme, and anxious about the layoffs and the other issues associated with that, they got injected with legalised medical marijuana.

 “What is worse is that this measure was introduced without any national referendum, town hall meetings or any other public discussion, and it can potentially cause long-term devastating effects on this nation, as other much bigger countries have experienced since making similar moves,” she charged.

Read on

Beach and Bar-Hopping in Saint Thomas, USVI – the Party is Back On!

Catamaran Sailing & Snorkeling in Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands
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CHARLOTTE AMALIE, SAINT THOMAS, USVI. It’s been just about a year since two witches smashed their way through the Virgin Islands. You know their names – hurricanes Maria and Irma. As you know, the thrashing was particularly bad this time with various houses, businesses and lives completely destroyed.

When you think of St. Thomas, you might have a nice resort, beach and lounge chair reserved for yourself in your head. Yes, resorts (and jewelry) have been the main business here of late. In terms of resorts, whichever type you may like, they had it pre-hurricanes. Post-hurricanes – as you can imagine – the well-known ones are not the same anymore. But the blessing is, there are some new and old ones with new facelifts:

The Ritz Carlton took a helluva knock. After one year there are still renovations in place, although, some rooms are available. The beach and wonderful pool are still there, if that’s all you’re after – by all means book in.

Bolongo Beach Resort (you might know Iggy’s as a party spot at this resort) is almost in full operation, and all the rooms that are operational are fully booked! That’s a good sign if you take that as an indication of popularity.

Frenchman’s Cove, a timeshare location, seems to be back in full swing. Seems, because the various buildings on the property don’t show any sign of injury. The pool is fabulous, the shop, bar and restaurant in working order and they have many guest activities and live music to liven up your visit to the island. What’s more, one can take a sunset cruise from here with The VI Cat (thevicat.com) and enjoy a dinner and cocktails on the luxury catamaran. Day cruises are also available.

The VI Cat daily sailing & snorkeling excursions at Frenchman's Cove
The VI Cat daily sailing & snorkeling excursions at Frenchman’s Cove

Things are on the up and up too at the brand new Margaritaville Resort on the other side of the island. It looks nearly as good as new, post-hurricanes.

The Marriott Hotel at the Frenchman’s Reef is completely closed as it suffered severe damage.

Lindbergh Bay Hotel and Villas are operational again too with restaurant Oceanside Bistro in full swing. They host theme parties there, this month it’s the Halloween Costume Party on 27 October 2018, sure to be fun! Their pool is being fixed as I type this blog. This is a very convenient location for tourists, as it is walking distance from the St. Thomas airport.

Oceanside Bistro at Lindbergh Bay walking distance from St. Thomas airport.
Oceanside Bistro at Lindbergh Bay walking distance from St. Thomas airport.

Emerald Beach Resort is great as it’s right on the beach. This is one of our favorite swimming spots and the ocean truly has an emerald color here (especially through some good Polaroid sunglasses!) Great views from every room and many resort activities (like karaoke) at the beach bar and water sports: including jet ski’s, kayaking and SUP-ing with Jetskivi.com. This beach is also very suitable for sunset wedding ceremonies with beach goers respecting the space. Chances are high that these blissful unions have been organized by Heart And Soul Unions.

Heart And Soul Unions Wedding Planners in St. Thomas USVI
Heart And Soul Unions Wedding Planners in St. Thomas USVI

Sometimes a big natural disaster also brings new life to a town. Although, many people have suffered severe loss emotionally, financially, morally and physically, other people’s lives are now better than it was before that fateful September of 2017:

Downtown St. Thomas has seen a few businesses closed down, but there is a new high-end supermarket called Moe’s (also one in Red Hook) next to FirstBank in Charlotte Amalie.

Café Amalia is still where it has been for many years in Palm Passage. Food is still lovely, the people friendly and a nice cool breeze sweeps through the plants and other businesses located in the well-designed, old Danish building that has stood the test of hurricanes for hundreds of years. This is a good restaurant to stop by if you’re shopping downtown, sometimes the heat can be a drain on your energy, especially in summer time in the Caribbean. www.amaliacafe.com

Amalia Cafe Spanish Restaurant in Palm Passage, Charlotte Amalie
Amalia Cafe Spanish Restaurant in Palm Passage, Charlotte Amalie

Barefoot Buddha, at Havensight Mall, is a cool oasis to visit for great healthy food (real fruit smoothies, love their veggie wraps and organic cuppa Joe) and to try on the latest fashion at their boutique. Lots of yoga mama’s hang here because right next door, at Breathe, there are now yoga classes offered for free – donations welcome. barefootbuddhavi.com

Coffee Shop, Deli and Fashion Boutique in Havensight, St. Thomas USVI
Coffee Shop, Deli and Fashion Boutique in Havensight, St. Thomas USVI

Tap & Still – discovered this bar and grille at two locations on the island. One is located at Havensight Mall and the other in Red Hook. It’s a burger and beer joint with a modern flair and you can watch the latest sports events on big screens all around the bar. Love the open plan design and fresh breezes cooling the place through no windows, in true old Caribbean style.

Tap and Still Bar Restaurant Havensight, St. Thomas, USVI
Tap and Still Bar Restaurant Havensight, St. Thomas, USVI

As you can see, a lot of good times are still to be had on this island, so don’t wait too long to book your next vacation here. There are so many resorts and restaurants to choose from, not to mention beaches, scuba, snorkeling and sailing trips to explore.

Branson’s Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean

Branson's Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean
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Virgin Group’s BMR Energy announced Tuesday that it bought a 4-megawatt solar plant from NRG Energy, Inc. in St. Croix that was badly damaged during Hurricane Maria.

BMR Energy will take over the power purchase agreement and restoration efforts of the solar farm, the company said in a press release.

BMR Energy, which develops and operates clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, was purchased by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2016.

“The world needs to find ways to introduce more resilient clean energy,” Branson said in the release. “The Caribbean has an abundance of clean energy sources, and BMR are taking great strides towards helping create zero-carbon energy supplies for years to come.”

Rebuilding the storm-wrecked region is a cause that is close to the Virgin founder. The billionaire businessman owns a private island in British Virgin Islands where he rode out both hurricanes Irma and Maria in the space of two weeks.

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like Hurricane Irma,” Branson said in an Instagram video in September. “It literally devastated the British Virgin Islands.”

My experience of Hurricane #Irma

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on


Continue reading full article by Lorraine Chow on  www.ecowatch.com.

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean's Coral Reefs
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The Nature Conservancy is launching a revolution to save our coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Joining forces with the world’s best scientists, we are developing and deploying groundbreaking techniques to grow new corals and bring dying reefs back to life.

Learn more about how we’re fighting to save these unique and essential ecosystems before our oceans are irreversibly damaged. The Year of the Reef! Keep up with The Nature Conservancy’s latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter (twitter) and Facebook (facebook) Text NATURE to 97779 to join The Nature Conservancy on text.

To sign-up for nature e-news visit:  support.nature.org

Antigua: Sargassum forces hotel closure

Caribbean Sargassum
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Antigua Observer:– For the second time in recent years, the St. James’s Club has been forced to close after losing the battle against the dreaded sargassum weed.

The all-inclusive resort will be closed temporarily from July 1 until October 1. Chairman of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association Alex Debrito confirmed the information on Sunday.

An official at the hotel also told our newsroom that guests who are currently staying at the hotel will be transferred to other properties.

In recent days workers reached out to OBSERVER media, lamenting the situation and the impact it would have on their families, the business and the tourism sector on a whole.

Read full article online at stluciatimes.com

Cayman Islands – a Hell of a Place

Grand Cayman Caribbean Travel Info Network
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CAYMAN ISLANDS. You might know the Cayman Islands from a famous movie line, like The Firm – starring Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise. Yes, this is probably THE off-shore banking haven outside the USA. Maybe the fact that they have more registered businesses than people (population is around 60k) has something to do with so many banks – one on nearly every street corner – here. In fact, it’s all linked – the government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation: there is no income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax. Henceforth, based on income, Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean and every second person you meet is a banker or finance expert of some sort.

CoolestCarib Caribbean Network
Pic of Grand Cayman from Royalcaribbean.com

Most people find themselves in George Town – on the biggest island – when they visit Grand Cayman. The other ones are called Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but very few people live there. Maybe you dream of living on a tropical island for a while?

So what is it like to live in Grand Cayman?, you ask. Some locals complain that there’s little to do, but we beg to differ. First off, this island was frequented by many pirates, including the famous Captain Blackbeard. If you don’t believe us, you can go scuba diving in the swimming pool-clear water of the ocean and visit many ship wrecks from this bygone era, amongst others. You can see what the ships looked like in those days and maybe even endeavor to find treasure down there, although that’ll be your own little fantasy trip, nothing we suggested… While you’re at it, you may see amazing sea turtles and stingrays in these deeps. In fact, there are some specific locations on the island where you can swim with stingrays. 

 Shipwreck in Grand Cayman waters from Caribbean360.com

This is not all. The beach is 7 miles long in Grand Cayman – or so the name of the beach says, but we have heard its longer! White, sandy and undulating into clear azure waters, which we already swooned enough about above. Whatever you want to do on this beach can be done – watersports, swimming, splish-splashing, drifting in the water with a cocktail in your hand, rolling in the sand like a kid, sunbathing with your toes in the water – you get it. Considering the big island is 22 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide, all at pretty much sea level, makes us think you can run around the island and that would mean you completed (nearly) a marathon. If you’re into that kind of thing or about to complain that there’s nothing to do on the island, that is.

Next, you can go to Hell. No, not being rude. There really is a place called Hell. It’s a sight to see – black volcanic, sharp rocks are the only landscape here. Quite different to the rest of the environment. What’s more, there is a little post office right in Hell where you can buy a “postcard from Hell” to send to loved ones to alarm them unnecessarily and cause your grandfather to preach about the evils of travel to foreign countries… But that’s thát story.

Of course, there are great restaurants and shopping on the island, even Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville franchise boasts a prominent spot if you want to get your or any Parrot Head doused in some rum. 

Not only does this place have a Hell, it also has crocodiles. Ever heard of crocodiles found naturally in the Caribbean? Well, hear again. That is where the island gets its name from – Caimans are a specific kind from here. Wait, they have indigenous reptiles – curly tailed lizard iguanas – but also crocs and sea turtles on and around the island!? Cowabunga!

As is known, hurricane season comes every year to the Caribbean. Last year’s monster season didn’t affect the Caymans much – for a change! Unfortunately these islands have the highest record of being hit by hurricanes of all Caribbean islands. In 2004, hurricane Ivan nearly tore the main island into two with severe flooding. Amazingly the locals rebuilt it within about two years. What a nation!

Talk about nation, did you know that Jamaica and Grand Cayman were once considered one? Cayman and Jamaica were governed as a single British colony until 1962, when the Cayman islands became designated a British overseas territory, one of 14 territories under the sovereignty of the UK but not part of the UK, while Jamaica became independent.

As you can gather, this is a Hell of a place. It’s only 400 miles south of Miami, or apparently known as “South Miami” by expats, so you can swim there, ha! Pack your bags and get there before someone else occupies your perfect spot. 

Barbados – Playground of the Rich and Famous

Barbados Travel Info Caribbean Network
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BARBADOS. We have been to many islands, and not only in the Caribbean. So far Barbados, St Barth and Virgin Gorda seem to be the main celebrity playgrounds here. Barbados is just as beautiful as any other island in the Caribbean, so what makes it so special?

There are probably a myriad of reasons why it’s such a favorite with A-listers, but it could boil down to just sun, sand, sea specifically combined with direct flights from major cities like London and New York and high-end hotels aplenty on the island. That is, mostly on the west side of the island where it is quite “over-developed”, some would say.

Sandy Lane is a famous hotel, often hosting clients that are much more well-known than its name. Though quite pricey, if you want to see the likes of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones or Hugh Grant and Simon Cowell (of American Idol) while having your sundowners, you’ll get your money’s worth. Bajan born music celebs often seen here include Rihanna and Shontelle.

Once, we saw Rihanna walk down the street in Holetown, Barbados, in a bikini – like only Rihanna can! In fact, you can take a stroll on a street named after her in Barbados – called Rihanna Drive. It is actually the street where she stayed on and her childhood house can be visited. You can’t miss it – brightly painted to commemorate a big star’s humble beginnings.

Unfortunately, if you want to view the house of Tom Selleck, Bill Gates, Cliff Richard or Elton John, you can only see the outside walls of their estates from the road.

The southern part hosts most tourist resorts, shops and restaurants, making it a very welcoming social scene. Its beautifully scenic and entertaining parts make it a must to explore these environs. Oistins, in particular, is an active fishing town, a hub of activity on weekend nights. On Friday nights it’s Fish Fry at Oistins Bay Gardens where the food is the main draw with excellent fish, (tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish), lobster, chicken etc. served in an informal setting. Your dish is cooked on the spot in front of you, and you can choose between grilled or fried depending on the vendor. Nice!

Should you be more attracted to the laid-back, tranquil section of an island, the eastern part is for you. People who love surfing and kite boarding frequent especially the Silver Sands beach area or Long Beach, minutes’ walk from each other. This is the Atlantic Ocean side, so the sea is a tad more wild, which makes for an interesting wave riding and wave jumping experience if you’re into kite surfing. Silver Sands in particular is 100% set for kiting with accommodations right on the beach. A kiter’s haven! Any given day you’ll see about 25 kiters doing their thing. Actually, it’s a spectacular sight having those colorful kites parked on the beach or speeding off towards the waves. You’ll see professional athletes among students who are being taught. Apparently it’s a highly disciplined sport and those who partake are very respectful – so we’ve heard.

For kitesurfing lessons in Barbados: www.endlesskiteboarding.com (in Silver Sands), contact Roland Boyce.

For day trippers from the cruise ship dock in Bridgetown, a taxi could cost you $75 for about 5 people there and back – not bad. But if you’re alone, get yourself to the taxi ranks, downtown, and ask for the number 11 Route Taxi. It’s a 10 minute walk from downtown to the route taxi ranks, but it’s ony US$1 (yes, one US dollar) for a forty minute ride to Silver Sands. If you want to meet the real locals and share the taxi with about 10 other Bajans heading in the direction of Silver Sands – do it – it’s a thrill ride.

Roland Boyce Endless Kiteboarding
Roland Boyce (middle)