What is your name?

John Hunte

What do you do, and where?

I grow organic vegetables and fruits in the Scotland District of Barbados, am the secretary of a national organisation, The Organic Growers and Consumers Association (OGCA).

What are the biggest problems you are facing as a producer?

Encroachment by untended animals is a major problem in my area. Having a coordinated pack house facility with other organic producers would help to increase output by reducing wastage and streamlining marketing.

What does sustainability mean to you? How do you incorporate these ideals into your work?

Sustainability means having a succession plan for the management of the farm. Working with young people including my own children on the farm is one of the ways of incorporating the ideal along with growing the long term inputs that are useful for pest control, fencing or mulching.

How long have you been a producer/farmer?

27 years.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The fresh air, exercise, the sense of achievement, the great people I have come into contact with, the peace of mind that comes from eating, and seeing my family eat organically grown food, fresh from the farm. I enjoy the flexibility that farming allows me, to have the time to spend with my children, or help in charitable projects. Everything from planning the crops, Planting the crops and harvesting is enjoyable. I also enjoy being able to give people a parcel of veggies from the farm.

John teaching students at the Alleyne School

Most memorable/proudest moment as a producer/farmer?

So many, from my daughter saying she would like to be a farmer, to having the Governor General pay an unofficial visit to the farm, to meeting with Prince Charles to the OGCA being awarded the Governor Generals award for Agriculture. Having said that something that may seem insignificant compared with the rest, is a customer who had cancer telling me that she could taste the love in the food, that has stayed in my mind as a treasured memory.

Could you share with us a few fishing/farming traditions/culture/recipes/ingredients/varieties/species that have been lost over time?

At one time farmers would grow corn, have it shelled, dried in the sun and then take it to the local mill for grinding into cornflour which was then sold around November at independence and used in conkies as a preference over the cheap imported corn flour. I do not know of many farmers doing this any longer.

The culture of using arrowroot starch as a porridge meal and thickener is no longer with us, as is the tradition of using cow dung as coals for the cooking hearth. Most families have forgotten the use of the bot pot for soups and stews and I can remember in the early 90s eating cow heel soup, with a real piece of a cows heel in the bowl.

What is your favourite vegetable/fish/meat to eat and how do you cook it?

My favourite veg is raw Okra.

John Hunte and Ian McNeel - Slow Food Bdos co-founders

What do you think is the future of food in Barbados?

This depends on the availability of food. If we cannot afford to import much food then I think the possibilities are wide and varied as to how we adapt to suit the local consumption needs rather than desire. If we as a nation can afford to import cheap food and agro chemicals, I think the future will remain bleak where nutrition and healthy choice is concerned.