Gardening is no longer a pastime solely designated to retirees seeking a fun hobby in their golden years. Young people in Jamaica have been discovering the benefits of gardening and some have learnt to start a business in Jamaica using this cherished hobby. Jamaicans are poised to jump on the gardening gravy train with our tropical climate and looming food security concerns in the face of global climate change. Efforts from the Ministry of Health’s Jamaica Moves campaign to get Jamaicans to adopt healthier lifestyles have been reaping success. It’s just a matter of time before the country will start to explore all avenues leading to a healthier lifestyle. So let’s get going growing ‘green’ with gardening in Jamaica.
I love gardening! My love affair with growing what you eat and eating what you grow stems from growing up on a farm and watching my parents work the field. I don’t know about you but there is something magical about going outside to harvest something and cook it right away. My parents would often send me into the garden to pull up a root of escallion, a piece of thyme and ‘two scotch bonnet peppers to season the bubbling pot of manish water soup.
I fell even more in love when I was at the University of the West Indies (UWI) learning about climate change and how it threatens global food security as an Earth Science and Geography undergraduate . That’s when I truly realized the importance of and the potential for growth in home gardening in Jamaica. I would often think that promoting home gardening in Jamaica, especially in urban areas, would not only be great for the environment but could also alleviate growing food security concerns. My thoughts have even extended further to consider how to start a business in Jamaica using home gardening.
From an economic perspective, home gardening not only chips out a chunk of the monthly budget, it can be turned into a fairly profitable side business and even a full blown entrepreneurial endeavour. Here are some ways you can save big and even earn cash while gardening in Jamaica.
How Home Gardening Can Benefit Those Who Start a Business in Jamaica
Savings on Your Food Bill
One of the most challenging aspects of eating healthy is being able to afford farm fresh produce. Eating healthy does not have to cost an arm or a leg; with gardening it can be virtually free. We are a tropical island with sunshine all year round that we can use to grow our favourite greens. City dwellers and those short on space will not be left out because in much the same way you can grow a houseplant in a container, there are many veggies that can be successfully grown in containers.
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and carrots can be successfully grown in containers with the right materials. With some vegetables reaching up to JMD $500 in times of drought or prolonged rainfall, the idea of having veggies on your veranda instead of house plants is starting to look much more appealing.
After a stressful day on the grind, going home to your garden may actually be the answer to unwind and be ready to get working again. A study showed that gardening not only relieves stress but also restores a positive mood even after only 30 minutes at the task. Reducing stress can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills as numerous ailments and lifestyle illnesses can be partially blamed on extended periods of elevated stress levels.
Home Gardening Business Ideas
YouTubing is big business and even home gardeners have carved out a niche on the platform. I subscribe to some home gardening channels and find it so therapeutic to watch these videos. I can only imagine the euphoria I’d get from getting down and dirty with gardening myself. YouTube channels with notable follower bases can earn some cash on the side from ads or sponsored posts.
MIgardener by Luke Marion and OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening by Patrick Dolan are just two of the many channels I follow. They are based in North America and show you everything from growing specific vegetables to how to make compost. I am amazed by what these gardeners can do with a relatively limited growing season compared to Jamaica’s year round sunshine. Avid gardeners can follow their example here and create gardening content that will definitely appeal to gardeners or anyone interested in gardening in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Online Garden Store
A novice entrepreneur can definitely cut start up costs by creating a virtual home garden store. Small scale home gardeners may not necessarily require an entire pack of seeds for one vegetable but may instead prefer a mix ore seed collection of vegetables that they can grow in a small backyard or container garden space. Seeds can be purchased in bulk and packaged to suit the varying needs of gardeners across the island.
Many YouTube gardeners earn even more by having an online store and an active social media presence where they can promote and advertise products. One such Youtube personality is CaliKim from CaliKim Garden and Home DIY. She sells anything from seed collections to growing guides. An online gardening store would definitely be a good choice for anyone looking to start a business in Jamaica.
Seedling starts and Potted Plants
Not all home gardeners get green thumbs on the first go. It takes practice and patience to grow fruits and vegetables from scratch. A home garden enthusiast could make some extra cash from selling seedling starts to friends and neighbours looking to grow green. Others my just want earlier harvests of their favourite veggies and seedling; you will soon see your eager customers growing goodies for your favourite meals in half the time!
Jamaicans love their potted plants and the right one can fetch a decent price. Believe it or not, there are dozens of veggies that are edible and have ornamental appeal. Multicoloured cayenne peppers and tiny cherry tomatoes are just some of the veggies than can ‘pretty up’ your veranda and ‘season’ the pot all in one go.
Gardening and Landscape Design
An avid gardener with a knack for design can help hopefuls by sharing his or her expertise at a cost. Formal training in landscaping will be an asset but a true gardener at heart will know exactly how to cater to the needs of someone who is looking to start a veggie patch without the hassle of starting the entire process from scratch. The only thing better than having a garden is having one designed by an expert who can get you growing in record time.
Start a Business in Jamaica Using Home Gardening
Jamaicans have always had a history of eating what they grow and growing what they eat. I believe that the widespread promotion of healthy living is beginning to take root in the society. As we consciously make choices to live healthier, business minds should also stay ahead of the game by starting home gardening businesses. Home gardening could very well be the next new trend to track as you seek to start a business in Jamaica.
Are you interested in starting a business in Jamaica? Pre-order a copy of The Business Playbook: A Guide for Jamaican Startups. It is the first book of its kind that is reader-friendly and offers a comprehensive look at everything necessary to start, fund and maintain a healthy business in Jamaica. Books will be available in November so pre-order a copy now by clicking here!