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Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsAg Commissioner Announces Upcoming STT Farmers Meeting

Ag Commissioner Announces Upcoming STT Farmers Meeting

Petersen says an upcoming cistern project will benefit Bordeaux farmers. (Source file photo)

Improving resources and boosting productivity at Bordeaux Farms will be the subjects of a meeting between farmers and officials at the Agriculture Department. Commissioner Louis Petersen named two matters he’d like to discuss with those farmers at an event held over the recent Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Petersen addressed the crowd from the stage at the 25th Annual Bordeaux Farmers Rastafari Agriculture and Culture Vegan Food Fair on Saturday. The commissioner announced his intent to meet with members of We Grow Food, Inc. within the next month to discuss an upcoming infrastructure project.

Farmers have long expressed the need for more water in order to bring more locally-grown produce to the market. If the infrastructure project succeeds, a new 100,000-gallon cistern will operate alongside the existing cistern, which holds 60,000 gallons.

Increasing storage capacity by adding a cistern will also increase the productivity of the Bordeaux pavilion roof where the annual ag fair is staged. The roof serves as a catchment for rainwater that feeds the existing cistern.

“We want again to have the input of We Grow Food, Inc. as we move forward, as opposed to working in a vacuum,” the commissioner said.

The meeting will also include a discussion of creating a fruit orchard as part of Bordeaux Farms. It’s a subject that has been discussed between Agriculture and We Grow Food, Inc. According to a 2022 article posted to the BDO Eastern Caribbean web page, there is great market demand for tropical fruit grown in the region.

”For a very long time we have all been discussing the potential for fruit orchards in Estate Bordeaux. The second agenda item for that meeting within four weeks is going to be about the steps that we will take collectively to establish those fruit orchards,” Petersen said.

The commissioner credited Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. for committing resources to increase the likelihood that projects like these can come to fruition.

The upcoming talks may also find a willing ear from Elridge Thomas, a former Agriculture official who is now part of the leadership of the St. Thomas farm group.

“This is important. We have to start treating it as important as it is and (sic) stop wasting time,” Thomas said during the St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture Fair at the Fort Christian Parking Lot. “Now is the time to get agriculture back on its feet and producing food on a regular basis.”

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