Eeden Farms produces 15 acres worth of crops within three 40-foot shipping containers, uses solar power for their grow lights and expends 99 percent less water than a traditional farm, according to its principals, who said yesterday that hydroponic container farming is the future of sustainable leafy green crop development.
Eeden is the brainchild of entrepreneur Lincoln Deal, along with his partners Delphino Cassar and the owners of Bron Limited, Scott Blacquiere and Carlos Palacious.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis officially opened the containerized hydroponics operation located at Bron Business Centre yesterday, and said in his remarks that the country has failed to sustainably grow food locally. He remarked, though, that there have been varying degrees of success in farming over the years.
“I hail with great enthusiasm the efforts of the principals of Eeden farms for the role they intend to play in producing more agricultural products,” said Minnis.
“We all know the value of having access to fresh, high quality food, especially if it is organic.”
The company is being described as a technology firm that grows greens, given that the grow operation can be controlled through a mobile phone app and it uses the latest in hydroponic technology.
Vegetables are grown vertically in containers and subjected to a climate-controlled environment.
According to Deal, Eeden can grow about 500 different leafy greens, herbs, small fruits, flowers and specialty crops that might need specific growing conditions, all year round.
Palacious said the company is the authorized distributor for Freight Farms – the developers of the container farms – in The Bahamas.
And while the company will eventually sell the containers as a retail product, Deal said for now, they are selling their organic greens wholesale to hotels and restaurants such as Manuelo’s, Lois & Steen’s and Cafe Channing Noelle.
“We are looking at the retail market,” said Deal.
“We do have retail packaging called Junkanoo Mix, however, our main focus is the wholesale market.
“In the near future we also want to provide opportunities for Bahamians to utilize the technology as well, especially the more remote islands… the Biminis, the Inaguas and the other islands that may have an interest in these containerized systems.”
Deal explained that while there is an interest by hotels in Eeden’s container farms, the company is waiting for the tourism industry to stabilize before going full steam ahead.
“With the tourism industry a bit unstable right now, we’re waiting for when they’re ready,” Deal said.
“But we have been approached by a few of them and there is a keen interest in the technology, so we hope that once the business picks up in the tourism sector that we would continue those conversations, and of course execute.”
Farm Manager Latesha Gibson said there was a bit of a learning curve with the Freight Farm technology, but explained that the company has a wealth of information and excellent client services.
She added that Eeden was the first in the world to receive the newest generation of Freight Farm’s container technology and the greens that have been grown so far are tastier and more vibrant than imported greens.