Bahamian company Organic Solar grows microgreens at hydroponic farm
News > The Caribbean
Nathan Redhead | Posted on May 19, 2020
Organic Solar is a hydroponic, solar-powered microgreens farm, that was founded by Mr. Cerone Dean, and is located in the Bahamas.
Hydroponic agriculture is the use of a water-based nutrient solution to grow plants. This type of farming usually has higher yields and uses less water than soil-based systems. Yahoo Finance reported that the global market for hydroponic systems was estimated at USD 8.08 billion in 2019 and projected that it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.1%, reaching USD 16.03 billion by 2025.
Organic Solar made its start as a means to provide locally grown organic livestock feed for the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute. In an interview with STEM Caribbean, Mr. Dean stated that after seeing the amount of livestock purchased by the Government, he did some independent research.
“Motivated by what I read, I made my way to Iowa farm country, in the United States,” said Mr. Dean, during which time he was able to learn from some of the best farmers in the world. Once returning to the Bahamas, he birthed the company now known as Organic Solar and quickly went to work on producing the livestock feed.
Mr. Dean reported to have produced a total 365,000lbs of organic feed for over 600 sheep and goats. Unfortunately, he mentions, due to changes in administrations, Organic Solar ceased operations after losing their largest, and at the time, only client. After the massive hit that Organic Solar took, Mr. Dean then decided to adjust his business model. He built a crop box to begin production on organic microgreens.
Despite the recent pandemic affecting various businesses, Mr. Dean was, fortunately, able to partner with a locally known farmer’s grocer by the name of Solomon’s Fresh Market to increase the push of healthy and organic fruits and vegetables. In the interview, Mr. Dean stated: “We realized that an opportunity had open with the need for healthy immune boosting foods, so we came up with a solution.”
To date, Organic Solar has been able to package and sell their products to every major grocery chain in Nassau. Staying true to the name “Organic,” the company has been using patented biodegradable containers that are made 100% out of corn starch and corn fibers and can decompose within 90 days, turning into usable soil.
When asked about the difficulties the company has faced, Mr. Dean told STEM Caribbean, that funding has been their biggest issue, as the majority of accomplishments the company undertook were possible, largely in-part thanks to loans that he received from family and friends.
He further mentioned that “in times of crisis, the Government is the first to remind us about the issue of food security, but make very little investment into the Agriculture Sector.” The solutions to this issue, as Mr. Dean states, are that concessions should be available to farmers—because while they may not have to pay customs duty, they do have to pay Value Added Tax.
As for the future of Organic Solar, their mission is to raise the best tasting and finest quality fruits and vegetables for the local community, and to have the farm run completely on renewable energy, as their name ‘Organic Solar’ implies. According to Mr. Dean, about 20% of the farm is currently powered by solar power. The goal is to become 100% solar-powered.
Other goals the company has include educating people on the benefits of healthy eating, reducing production cost so their products can be more affordable, and increasing their market presence so their products can be found regionally and eventually, on a global scale.
You can follow Organic Solar on Facebook.
Nathan is a Grenadian writer and a graduate of the T. A Marryshow Community College in Grenada, where he earned an associate’s degree in sociology and psychology. While obtaining his associate’s degree, he was exposed to the world of poetry and expository writing as a member of the Writer’s Association of Grenada. He’s an avid lover of literature, and as a child, he spent the majority of his free time either watching the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet or trying to dismantle his toys to rebuild them into something that sparked his interest. As a Junior Writer, he hopes to reignite his passion for science and inventing, as well as improve his creative writing ability.