Teen farmer says Bermuda is food insecure
Bermuda could one day be a sustainable utopia and a beacon to other countries, said one local entrepreneur.
But Zayne Sinclair, of edible gardening business Sinclair’s Seed Sowing, stressed that first we need to tackle the island’s growing food insecurity.
He spoke shortly after a warning from the grocery industry that inflation in the food sector was now running at about eight per cent.
“Bermuda is food insecure,” Mr Sinclair said. “We import everything.”
The 19-year-old wants to inspire more people to grow their own food.
“There are not only financial benefits to growing your own food, but also dietary benefits,” he said. “It is easier than people think but requires constant and steady love.”
He started Sinclair’s Seed Sowing while still in high school. Three years later, it has grown and evolved so much, that in September he hopes to hire his first employee, preferably someone aged between 16 and 21.
“My focus was always to construct and cultivate home gardens,” he said. “Now I am also cultivating seedlings from a greenhouse in my front yard. I have also partnered with grow.bm. They provide me with fertiliser.”
He said working in agriculture in Bermuda sometimes had a stigma, but there was much opportunity to be found in it on the island.
“There are 370 acres worth of unused arable land in Bermuda,” he said. “There is so much space that goes unused and unnoticed. This is a sector that could employ thousands of people. I want to encourage any Bermudians who want to get involved. It is a very fulfilling economic sector and a fulfilling trade watching something grow.”
He is working on a key goal to purchase his first truck or van. At the moment he is dependent on his parent’s car or his motorbike. To transport small tools and seedlings he carries around a backpack similar to those used by local delivery services.
“Once I get a vehicle, I will be able to do larger projects,” he said.
Last summer he took part in Ignite’s entrepreneurial internship programme.
“It was amazing,” Mr Sinclair said. “It opened a lot of doors for me.”
As part of the programme he was mentored by Chris Faria, founder and managing director of Agra Living.
“That was an amazing partnership,” Mr Sinclair said. “I learnt a lot about sustainable agriculture. He also gave me the entrepreneurial mindset.”
Now he is in the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s 12-month entrepreneurial business accelerator programme.
He has just finished his first year at the Bermuda College doing an associate degree in business and administration.
“It was a unique experience having your first year of college online,” he said.
But he plans to take a year away from the programme and take professional development courses at the Bermuda College.
“I am going to get a certification in project management,” he said. “It has been proven time and again that you don’t really need a full college education to run a successful business. There are so many non-traditional methods in education. As long as you are building your portfolio and learning, that is the key.”
He felt lucky to have a strong sense of direction so soon after high school.
“It has been an amazing journey and I feel like I want to follow my heart,” he said.
He is grateful for his clients who have stuck by him over the years.
“They have been my number one supporters,” he said. “They have motivated me on my bad days.”
This summer he will focus solely on the BEDC programme.
“I will not be taking on any new jobs at this time. However, I will be doing consultations for any clients interested in starting a garden when the season begins again in September,” Mr Sinclair said.
For more information, see Sinclair Seed Sowing on Facebook or e-mail email@example.com.