Today’s Editorial for April 14: The market develops a market

One of the things accomplished by
the previous government, and in particular former Minister of Agriculture Kurt
Tibbetts, that doesn’t get as much notice as it should is the establishment of
the Market at the Grounds.

The weekly Saturday morning market
gives local farmers, artisans and craftspeople a chance to sell their products
and gives residents a chance to buy fresh produce.

Other attempts at establishing a
farmers’ market on Grand Cayman have failed, partially because the quality of
the produce wasn’t good enough on a consistent basis.

Several things have changed in
recent years to make the Market at the Grounds a success.  First, there’s a bigger demand for fresh,
locally-grown produce than ever before.  
More residents and restaurants want to buy fresh produce, partially
because it tastes so much better than products shipped in from elsewhere.

Price is also an issue, especially
in tough economic times such as these.  Unlike many places in the world, locally-grown
produce is usually less expensive than imported produce, not because of the
economies of scale, but because it doesn’t attract shipping costs and import

Another important reason the market
has succeeded this time is the core group of farmers and gardeners who have
committed to supplying good quality produce on a consistent basis.  Since a trip to Lower Valley early on a
Saturday morning isn’t necessarily convenient for a large portion of Grand
Cayman residents, it’s important that the farmers’ products meet the
expectations of the public that does go. 

The market also draws tourists
interested in seeing the local produce and local crafts.  It is a wonderful showcase for visitors to Grand
Cayman, a place where they can meet and talk to Caymanians in a friendly,
inviting setting.

Mr. Tibbetts, who is an avid
gardener himself, had a dream of seeing agriculture expanded to the point where
Cayman would be less reliant on overseas imports.  With the Market at the Grounds, he laid an
excellent foundation for the future.

We only hope that every government
supports the efforts at the Market so that it can continue to grow and flourish
into something even better.