May 2019

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FFA's Farm Sale

Passion fruit, cassava, pineapples and chive, on Thursdays the campus community enjoys a bounty of fresh produce at the Faculty of Food and Agriculture’s (FFA’s) Farm Sale.

“I want everyone at UWI St Augustine to see the benefits of the healthy foods that we produce on our farms. I want them to benefit from more nutritious foods,” says Dr Wayne Ganpat, Dean of the FFA.

The fruits and vegetables come from UWI’s 200-acre farm in Orange Grove, headquarters of their Agricultural Innovation Park. The Park uses intensive technologies and methods that reduce the need for labour and land, minimise the use of pesticides and increase yields.

To the West in Valsayn is the University Field Station, where in addition to growing crops the FFA rears livestock for meats and their extremely popular University Field Station Cow’s Milk. In 2018 they launched their University Field Station Goat’s Milk.

Apart from producing and selling meats, milk and produce, UWI farms are teaching farms, educating the next generation of food and food production professionals. And as the technologies, techniques and business of agriculture have changed, so has the education the FFA provides.

“We have to create a new type of graduate,” says Ganpat.

He means graduates who can create their own opportunities instead of looking for employment. And with ever-evolving practices such as protected agriculture – greenhouses, shade houses, and freight farming – practices that require much less land and labour, farming has become more efficient than ever.

But for those not interested in the work of farming there is always the fresh produce, usually on a Thursday.