Who Am I?
My name is Josanne Arnold, 27, from the beautiful twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). I was born and raised on Tobago and hold a BSc in sociology with a minor in criminology. However, having grown up in a family of business, it is no surprise that life channelled me towards entrepreneurship. I have been relentless in my pursuit of entrepreneurship for the last three years and my passion lies in the field of sustainable agriculture and aquaponics.
My main goal is to establish the innovative agricultural enterprise named GOT Greens as the local agri-food marketplace which connects local and tourist consumers to nutritious fresh produce at all food service outlets in Trinidad and Tobago.
My project is called GOT Greens. It involves the aquaponic growth and distribution of organic fresh produce items via a grow-to-order online platform.
GOT Greens will provide customized grow-to-order services for the different players in the hotel, food service, and restaurant industry.
All food-service businesses or personnel (chefs, caterers, hotels, restaurants, cafes, food carts, etc.) will have access to an aquaponic farmer and distribution portal that is both environmentally friendly and conducive to their particular needs.
We will provide these businesses with customized growing orders on a continuous basis, delivery, online ordering and produce that is local, organic, rich in nutrients, and environmentally friendly.
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is the marriage between hydroponics and aquaculture. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.
The aquaponic-integrated system minimizes the production of wastes by turning the wastes of one process into resources for another. Using fish waste to sustainably grow food plants and reduce the overall environmental footprint of crop production is creative and we believe that aquaponics is the viable solution to food security and environmental sustainability worldwide.
The Birth of GOT Greens
My vision for GOT Greens was birthed when I began doing research into greenhouses in an attempt to find a solution to some of the transportation, price and quality issues faced by my step father’s green grocer.
My idea soon pivoted from regular greenhouse production to aquaponic greenhouse production once I became knowledgeable of the environmental and economic benefits associated with aquaponics.
I did not want to open another traditional fresh produce mart, so I began searching for a business model which focused on providing for a crucial segment in the market whose needs weren’t being adequately met.
Our target market
The food and beverage industry is the largest in the non-manufacturing sector of Trinidad and Tobago, and our country suffers from a very high food import bill. The food service industry locally is an untapped segment in need of solutions. These are the businesses which provide our local and visiting consumers with food on a daily basis and they should be able to provide consumers with a variety of healthy and affordable food.
In Trinidad and Tobago, there is a growing demand for healthy and sustainable food produce. A large segment of the food market are demanding organic produce as they’re increasingly becoming aware of the harms caused by agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic food processing additives.
In order for us to take care of our consumers, we first have to take care of the businesses which feed them. These businesses can trust in knowing who the grower of their food is, how it is grown and where their produce is coming from with GOT Greens.
I intend to establish an aquaponic greenhouse and eco-classroom in Tobago which will provide wholesale fresh produce for food service businesses and workshops, research internships and tours to persons within the community.
I’ve self-invested monies into the development of a small scale aquaponic shade house for the sale of leafy greens and I’ve acquired land for expansion. We also received sponsorship for a website and currently working on constructing it.
This project will be strategically implemented in phases as we scale the size and output of the greenhouse as we aim to have a sustainable product/market fit.
Success for GOT Greens would be measured by the successful establishment of a commercial aquaponic greenhouse, a steady supply chain to 50% or more of the food service businesses in T&T, the promotion and activism of aquaponics in my local communities, and the development of agri-products for export.
The USD 5,000 grant would be used within one year of its receipt to fund:
- The expansion of my current aquaponic shade house (USD 1,500)
- To purchase aquaponic related supplies and equipment (USD 1,000)
- For marketing (USD 1,000)
- For e-commerce development (USD 1,000) and lastly,
- For research and development (USD 500).
I am a young female agripreneur who is ready and set to launch GOT Greens and take fresh produce to another level not only in Trinidad and Tobago but also worldwide.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Josanne Arnold (Trinidad and Tobago): j_arnold2[at]yahoo.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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