Mission Statement: Growing Alliances for Sustainable Agriculture cultivates global networks and local initiatives towards self-reliant food systems that enhance the quality of life for communities and safeguard the well being of their shared natural resources.

Growing Alliances was founded in response to a growing concern about the negative impact of conventional agriculture methods on water quality, biodiversity, and human health.  After living and traveling in the Bahamas, Heather Tiszai, the founder of Growing Alliances, recognized and responded to the increasing need of environmental awareness in regards to economic and food security for island communities.

Growing Alliances is currently focusing on Andros and Eleuthera Islands in the Bahamas.  The Bahamas imports approximately 80% of its food resources, making them particularly vulnerable to rising food costs and global food issues.  Furthermore, commercial agriculture in the Bahamas relies on heavy use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, all of which need to be imported and have long lasting side effects.  The agro-chemicals easily leach into freshwater lenses and surrounding waterways, thereby negatively impacting water quality and the biodiversity and health of fisheries and other natural habitats.  It is time for a new agriculture paradigm in the Bahamas, one that promotes the sustainability of island resources, the local economy, and community health.  

Andros, the largest island in the Bahamian Archipelago, is steadily becoming the epicenter of agriculture in the Bahamas.  Andros has a large fresh water lens and is home to one of the world’s largest barrier reef systems, both of which are particularly vulnerable to pollution from agro-chemical use.  There is currently no exposure to sustainable agriculture methods within the Andros farming community.

Eleuthera Island is also home to a large farming community.  With an already growing awareness of environmental issues present on the island, Eleuthera Island has the opportunity to be a leader in the shift towards sustainable farming initiatives in the Bahamas.

Growing Alliances hopes to enable Bahamian farmers and citizens with access to the necessary information and resources to grow food sustainably and create a more localized food economy.  These actions should also enhance the vitality of other industries in the Bahamas, primarily tourism and fisheries.

Programs and Activities

Growing Alliances for Sustainable Agriculture:

  • promotes an agriculture system that enriches the biodiversity of our food supply, the resilience of surrounding ecosystems, and the health of local communities.
  • organizes and facilitates educational opportunities for farmers, residents, and schools.
  • provides support and information for farmers interested in transitioning to sustainable methods.
  • develops mentorships and alliances among farmers and between emerging and existing programs.

Working with Farmers
Growing Alliances works directly with farmers to initiate a shift to sustainable agriculture.  First, Growing Alliances establishes relationships with local farmers to gain knowledge about their existing practices and the issues they face.  After learning about the needs of individual farmers, Growing Alliances hosts meetings for groups of farmers to offer presentations and facilitate discussions about the negative impact of conventional farming on water quality, fisheries, and human health and the positive impact organic and sustainable farming methods can have on the resilience of the local economy, tourism, and fisheries.  As farmers become interested in adopting sustainable farming methods, Growing Alliances strategizes with them to formulate a plan to reach their goals and offers continued assistance to ensure the success of their efforts.

Learning with Children
Children are our future.  Establishing a relationship with growing food early in a child’s life provides an awareness of food resources that is crucial to promoting self-sufficiency, food security, and health.  In addition to providing school programs about sustainable farming, Growing Alliances assists in the creation of traditional Bahamian permaculture gardens on school properties and the establishment of sister school programs between Andros and Eleuthera Island to create inter-island communication.

Growing with Community
It takes a community effort to shift towards sustainable living and eating.  Community outreach programs that promote buying locally grown food and establishing home gardens are vital to the success of this shift.  Working with residents, government agencies, and churches are also important components to creating community awareness around food issues in the Bahamas.

Links to Additional Information

Project Leader Biographies: Growing Alliances
Growing Alliances web site (coming soon)
Executive Director's blog

Contact Information

Heather Tiszai, Executive Director
1319 Raymond Street
Bellingham, WA 98229
360-594-1307
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