Mark Harrison and an example of a hydro farm

Residents of Kentish and surrounding communities in St. Catherine are being introduced to an increasingly important method of farming known as hydroponics or hydro farming.

It is simply a process of growing plants without soil, but in nutrient-enriched water.

“If you are not doing this kind of farming, you’re going to get left off the farming train,” said Ricardo Chambers, an expert hydro farmer.

He added: “We are trying to educate the people of Kentish and surrounding communities about the advantages of hydroponics, or why they should use hydroponics technology. Some of those advantages are that you use 90 percent less water, the crops grow faster, you have better yields, and you will use less pesticides.”

The importance of hydro farming and best practices will be further explained during a Zoom meeting at 2PM on Sunday, November 28.

Persons can join the meeting free of cost using the following information:

MEETING ID: 883 3536 4391
DURATION: 45 minutes
PASSCODE: hydrofarm

“People in the meeting will be able to ask me any question about hydro farming,” Chambers noted. “I will also show a lot of power-points of some topics that will be covered.”

Chambers is also giving meeting participants an opportunity to physically tour his hydro farm. For more information in relation to the meeting, persons can call (876) 305-2131 or email chambershydrofarm@gmail.com.

In the meantime, the main man behind the push for hydro farming in and around his native Kentish, Mark Harrison, is convinced that farming method is ideal for the area.

He reasoned that Kentish and many of its neighbouring communities don’t have a steady supply of water, and that is among the reasons hydro farming is important there.

“Kentish farming community lacks water supply, which adequate traditional farming methods require…,” said Harrison, who migrated to England in the late 1960s. “Hydro farming is enabling a path for further success for everyone – whether their interest in agriculture is hobby or commercial based,” he added.

His hydro farming sensitization initiative in Kentish has the backing of the West Indian Families Association, which he serves as chairman.

Since inception of the association in the mid 1950’s, it has been providing information to its community on matters relating to economic, educational, and social welfare, Harrison said.

Using technologies now available, the association has been able to extend its reach to struggling rural communities in Jamaica.

So far, it has helped Kentish farmers to establish a consensus-building and sustainable development group, which has short and long-term objectives.

“The group’s main purpose, however, is the pooling of resources with accrued benefits being reinvested within the local community. That helps to create new income sources for addressing complex rural community needs such as education, health, water supplies and job retention especially among the youths,” Harrison added.

He said an hydro farming facility is being established in Kentish to, among other things, facilitate expert ongoing training and a partnership network of support. The facility will also offer local tours and farming demonstrations, Harrison disclosed.


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