Students from the University of Pittsburgh

Being an organic farmer and meeting the strict adherence to standards required for inspection for re certification annually is only a small part of of what “living organic” means. Equally important is living up to the principles of the organic movement. There are four expressed this way by IFOAM – Organics International – the only international umbrella organization for the organic world.

The Four Principles of of IFOAM

Healthy soil, plants, animals, humans = a healthy planet.Emulating and sustaining natural systems.Equity, respect and justice for all living things.For the generations to come.

Part of my commitment to ensuring that Rowan’s Royale- the farm, my farm team and I live by these principles is to focus on the principle of fairness and the principle of care through our partnership and sharing with our neignbouring farm communities.

This year we have bonded with the Cascade-Gren Hills group 15 women and men who are coffee farmers, not yet organic farmers but striving for sustainablity. We have shared some training, ideas, support and they in turn have supported and encouraged us.

We want our beautiful part of the Blue Mountains to be visited and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. We want them to sample our food, our fruits, our coffee, our trails and waterfalls and we want them to see how we protect and respect the beauty we have been gifted and how we produce with that mind-set.

We had a visit this year of 20 students from the Engineering Faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and staff. They drove up into the mountains, stopping at Newcastle in St Andrew, formerly a military hill station for the British Army it is now a training centre for the JamaicaDefence Force then at Holywell, the Centre for the Blue and John Crow Mountain National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Then on to Rowan’s Royale, climbing the top of the farm to rest, discuss needs of small farms, organic farmers, the role of coffee in the history and economy of the country and to sample, sugar cane, mulberries from the farm. They also were interested to know what were the technologies that might make our lives easier and our farms more productive and could they contribute to this?

We then went down the hill to Cascade, stopping en route to visit another small farm belonging to one of the group.

Ann McLarty wife of the Group Leader, Percy, led the cooking team and prepared a sumptuous feast of a thick vegetable soup, jerked or escoveitched rabbit and chicken, vegetable stir fry for vegetarians and vegans and salads for all. A favourite was Ann’s fruit drink a heady mixture of the fruits and berries of the mountains. Dessert was Rowan’s Royale Coffee Shortbread and RR coffee.

We want to do more of these tours and encourage visitors to enjoy the wonders we savour everyday. The Cascade group is getting ready and with RR exploring other enticements we can offer. We plan to partner with the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Businesses which assists communities to develop lifestyle experience programmes

Let us know when YOU want to come… we know you won’t want to leave!