Turning Passions into Business: Reshma’s Story
Reshma Jagon grew up in rural Bunker’s Hill, Jamaica with her grandaunt and uncle, working the farmland. The family owned chickens, cows and a donkey, and grew plenty of crops to provide for themselves. Every day, Reshma would make the three-mile journey from her home to the farm and enjoy the time she spent there.
After graduating high school, Reshma studied food and beverage service and pursued a career in the hotel industry. With hard work and determination, she got a job as a waitress and worked her way up to becoming the hotel’s manager. Despite her success, Reshma found she needed more income to support her two daughters’ education. She recalled her childhood on her uncle’s farm and turned to her great-grandmother’s farmland, untouched for years, with an ambitious vision to help provide for herself and her family.
With the help and advice of friends and family, Reshma cleared the farmland and purchased 500 chickens. She made a profit by selling eggs and meat to the Good Hope hotel as well as Caribbean Producers Jamaica, a company that services the hotel industry.
“…we got a goat…now we have 25. And one sheep and cows and four pigs! We always grow some vegetables… You can’t go wrong—people need food.”
Encouraged by this success and the training through INMED’s Jamaican Adaptive Agriculture program, Reshma made the decision to expand the farm beyond chickens. As she recounts, “…I start thinking how I love animals. So we got a goat…now we have 25. And one sheep and cows and four pigs! We always grow some vegetables… You can’t go wrong—people need food.”
Through INMED, Reshma received an aquaponic system, which has further improved her farming. She continues to sell produce at local markets, shops, and Good Hope, and has formally registered her farm with Jamaica’s Rural Agriculture Development Agency. “The farm is set up legally and I keep the books,” Reshma says. “I like the maths part of it, I like figures.”
With the growing success of the farm, Reshma is now confident that she can provide a proper education for her daughters and plans on sending both to college.