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How Grenada Is Setting the Standard for Caribbean Sustainable Tourism

trees in background with farm in front

Grenada is a new sustainable tourism capital in the region.

On the plate is a mix of saltfish, fresh onions, peppers, and tomato. It marries seamlessly with a fresh coconut-flour “bake” and a glass of carambola juice. 

This is the late-morning table at T’s Eco Garden, a vibrant organic farm in the St David parish of Grenada, where Theresa Marryshow is helping to lead a dynamic new movement. 

If you’re enjoying a tomato or a mango or a salad at a top hotel in Grenada, there’s a very strong likelihood that she helped get it on your plate.

Marryshow is the president of the Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers, an alliance of more than 35 farmers (and another 15 or so processors) across the island that have been supplying local produce to many of the island’s resorts, hotels and restaurants, connecting Grenada’s agricultural industry with its travelers. 

About a decade ago, Marryshow retired from her job as an officer with the island’s Ministry of Agriculture to take over her family’s farm in the village of Bacolet in St David, transforming it into a thriving organic farm and a regular destination for farm tours and farm-to-table experiences. 

This farm is part of the network that helps supply many of the island’s resorts with the kind of high-quality produce chefs and customers crave — with demand continuing to grow so much that it led the women-driven organization to amend its constitution so men and younger people could join, she says. Many of them were husbands and boyfriends of existing members, drawn in by the growing demand for local agricultural production.

The effort began with the Sandals Grenada resort, and has expanded into hotels across the island, from the Calabash hotel to the soon-to-debut Six Senses resort in La Sagesse.  

“Right now I’m a full-time farmer,” Marryshow tells Caribbean Journal. 

T’s Eco Garden and Farm Tours in St David.

Marryshow is one of the biggest success stories of a buzzing sustainability movement in Grenada, a lush, fertile island in the Eastern Caribbean where crops from cacao to nutmeg to bananas have no trouble growing. 

The island, famous for its broad nutmeg production — is as verdant and green as any you’ll find in the region, a place where the local herbs and spices are so abundant they say even the air here has its own unique aroma (and they’re right). 

Now, it’s becoming famous for a sustainability drive that’s helping to create a synergy with local producers and reinvent the tourism paradigm. 

“Sustainability is becoming a bigger thing on the island,” says Tricia Simon, who runs an organization called Grenada Agro-Tourism. “It’s all about healthier living, about living off the land.”

Simon, a Grenadian attorney, was living in Toronto and visiting the island when the pandemic’s border closures kept her on the island. She never left, building up a farm called Mount Parnassus Plantation and, more recently, creating a totally sustainable eco-cottage on the property that she’s listing on Airbnb. 

Simon restored an old chattel house into a sustainable eco-cottage.

The drive for sustainability here is even more important given Grenada’s tourism economy. Ensuring that the island benefits in broad-spectrum ways from the vacations it hosts is an essential tenet of sustainable tourism. 

The garden at the Spice Island Beach Resort supplies the menu regularly.

Many of the resorts on the island now have their own garden, too, like the one at the Spice Island Beach Resort, which supplies copious herbs and vegetables to the hotel’s kitchen — some even finding their way into an outstanding house-made hot sauce. 

Sustainability has even found its way into the rum world, where Grenada’s new Renegade Rum Distillery has helped coordinate a network of local farms across the island for its sustainably-produced, cane-juice rum.

‘Sustainability is a growing trend here,” Simon says. “You have a lot of people, including those who came back to the island after the pandemic, who started getting into farming, into sustainability.”

In April, Grenada will host the first edition of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Conference since the pandemic, putting the island’s sustainability push in the spotlight again. 

Back in St David’s, travelers can enjoy their own farm-to-table experience at T’s Eco Garden, walking the grounds of Marryshow’s beautiful two-acre site bridged by palm trees and the sound of a rushing river, feeling the breeze and strolling by the water.

“I think God put his pleasure in every country,” she says, clutching a freshly-picked ginger root in her hand. “In Grenada, our pleasure was this — a fertile soil, our friendly people and the lush vegetation that we have.”

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