ST CROIX — Once the main source of revenue in St. Croix, agriculture and sustainability has been reimagined at one of the island’s newest farms. Jungle James Cultural Tour and Petting Zoo is a sustainable, eco-conscious farm in Frederiksted, St. Croix that is committed to promoting sustainable farming practices and reducing food waste on the island.
Opened in October 2018 by Taj James and Daja Brooks-James, the husband-and-wife team hosted a Halloween event called The Field of Screams. This outdoor Halloween haunted house was set up in the surrounding bush area on the farm, attracting parents and children in the St. Croix community for an unlikely event. “People ran and left their kids behind,” laughed Farmer Taj James, “because the fear was real.” From there, the farm’s popularity took off. A lifetime farmer, James learned farming from his father, a livestock farmer, along with other older farmers he grew up admiring because of their knowledge of plants. With indepth independent research, James uncovered a way to promote and live harmoniously among the animals on the farm. He explored various permaculture techniques to make an entire ecosystem to eliminate purchasing animal feed. “One bag of feed could be upwards of $30, and an average farmer used 10 to 15 bags of feed per day.” Thanks to the techniques implemented, James has managed to cut his costs down to one bag of feed per week by studying farm ecosystems to find a balance between them without killing or hurting too much of anything. According to James, every animal and plant source on the farm works together to create a harmonious environment that minimizes their ecological footprint.
Farmer James shared his goal is to educate the younger generation and teach the community how to sustain as it pertains to food security. Being isolated from the rest of the world means hurricanes and other events that can halt shipments will mean we will constantly be in a struggle. It’s why they implemented the Food Waste Conversion Program that strives to “replace your waste.” With the program, anyone can bring any table scraps, old food, and perishables to the farm to be converted into materials that can be used on the farm. For every 10 pounds of waste, you get $5 Jungle James Bucks to be used for anything available on the farm: local juices, fresh fruit, farm tours, plant purchases, and more. James encourages families to bring everyone to the farm when stopping by with waste for the Food Waste Conversion Program. “When you bring the family along, the kids can see the farm and see where this waste is going.” They can feed the food waste to animals, see other farm animals in person, pick mangoes and other fruits, and explore the farm overall. “When they see what the farm can do with the waste they create, it helps promote recycling in other areas.”
Jungle James Cultural Tour and Petting Zoo is located at 239 Estate La Grange Road in Frederiksted. To learn more about their hours of operation, tours, activities, party packages, and venue rental, find them on Facebook or call 340.473.1015.
Written by Anquanette Gaspard firstname.lastname@example.org