With the Cayman Islands’ beauty comes a challenging food supply chain. The islands only produce about 1% of their own food, with the rest of the food they consume sourced from Jamaica, Honduras, and, largely, the United States. Relying on shipped produce results in precarious food security. To make matters worse, there are very few direct shipping lines from food-producing Caribbean islands to the Cayman Islands. With lengthy shipping routes, the fresh food that the Cayman Islands ultimately receives is no longer very fresh … and it’s also very pricey.
Enter Freight Farms’ vertical shipping container farms. Codi Whittaker, a young recent college grad, and business partner Kerry Lawrence purchased three container farms from Freight Farms to launch their business, Primitive Greens, with the goal of increasing the sustainability of life on the Cayman Islands.
The three Freight Farms allow Primitive Greens to defy the very things that make fresh food so scarce on the island: a lack of arable land, extreme weather which makes farming near-impossible, and those long shipping lines. Instead, Primitive Greens grows right near consumers, inside high-tech shipping containers right on Grand Cayman island. They work the container farms’ perfectly climate-controlled environment to their advantage to grow beautiful, coveted produce. This, they sell to grocery stores and restaurants on the island at a competitive price — offering island establishments and residents reasonably priced, long-lasting, quality produce.
To increase the sustainability of the business, Primitive Greens plans to install a solar and energy storage microgrid that will fuel the farms with 100% clean energy. Energy cost is up everywhere, and the Cayman Islands are not immune. Currently, Primitive Greens pays the equivalent of $0.40 USD per kilowatt hour of electricity — mostly from dirty diesel fuel offered by the local utility. (By comparison, the current average cost of energy in Los Angeles is about $0.26 USD per kilowatt hour.) The solar project, which features solar panels floating in the water of an old quarry, will not only make growing food more sustainable. It will also provide resiliency to the island, through power that is available 24/7 and independent of the electrical grid.
“We’re basically selling the community cheaper, healthier, more sustainable, locally grown food; we’re providing power for less than half the cost of diesel; we’re creating food security; we’re creating jobs; and we’re not clearing any land.” — Codi Whittaker, Co-Founder and Operator of Primitive Greens
Primitive Greens intends to send Freight Farms to each of the three Cayman Islands, to alleviate food security for the entire territory. Ultimately, they strive to be the providers of fresh produce for Cayman.
Primitive Greens was recently featured in a webinar hosted by Freight Farms on the potential for indoor farming in the Cayman Islands. Watch the conversation at https://www.freightfarms.com/visit-freight-farms/primitive-greens-live-webinar.
Freight Farms has seen incredible growth in the adoption of their technology in the Caribbean islands, many of which face challenges similar to the Cayman Islands’. From Turks and Caicos to the Bahamas, islanders are discovering the power of controlled environment agriculture to revolutionize food quality and access for themselves and their communities.
About Freight Farms:
Founded in 2012, Freight Farms debuted the first vertical hydroponic farm built inside an intermodal shipping container with the mission of democratizing and decentralizing the local production of fresh, healthy food. Since its inception, Freight Farms has refined its product offering to arrive at the Greenery™ S container farm. With global customers ranging from small business farmers to the corporate, hospitality, retail, education, and nonprofit sectors, Freight Farmers make up the largest network of connected farms in the world. AgTech Breakthrough named Freight Farms the 2022 “IoT Monitoring Solution of the Year” for its farmhand® IoT automation software.