St. Kitts-Nevis’ lack of agricultural activity results in a severe food vulnerability problem because it forces the country to import most of its produce at inflated prices. Moreover, climate variability hinders the country's ability to grow needed crops.
Our hydroponic shade houses mitigate seasonality and grow vegetables unsuitable to the climate using fewer resources. We train local farmers by employing them and helping them become owners of systems that provide consistent, inexpensive food.
A graduate of Indiana University, Keane spent a year as a consultant for his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, before moving to the island. He now leads on-the-ground Kittitian Harvest operations. In his spare time, he runs a community fitness class and gives talks on healthy living at local gatherings.
Lucien graduated from the University of Central Florida and decided against pursuing a career with the U.S. State Department in order to launch the farm in St. Kitts. He now splits time between Kittitian Harvest and the Harvard Kennedy School, where he is a Master of Public Policy candidate.
With our backgrounds in agriculture, economics, and nutrition, witnessing food vulnerability in St. Kitts came as a shock and a challenge. As college students, we worked with Kittitian community farms and helped construct bucket-system shade houses in impoverished areas. We made lifelong friends and grew attached to one particular family that housed 14 people in their 300 square foot home and came to rely on their new shade house for vegetables. We quickly realized the immense benefit sustainable agriculture could bring to St. Kitts,
...to full-time farmers.
and the idea to launch a hydroponic farm refused to leave our minds. After corresponding with Kittitian friends, we returned twice more to work with other farming cooperatives and meet with professors, grocery store owners, smallholders, and hotel managers. As we delved deeper into the culture and details of the local agriculture sector, we were completely hooked. St. Kitts was no longer the home to distant problems, it became our second home and its problems were ours to face.