Wednesday, 27 February 2013


The food in Jamaica was better than I expected, partly because the ladies who cooked for us at Green Castle had some MAJOR skills in the kitchen. One night, they made us their special chocolate cake, and when we asked for the recipe, all they told us was that they used cocoa and that "the rest was all us". They later agreed to show us how to cook this cake, and welcomed us into the kitchen on our last day at the estate.

Here's the recipe!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Last few days

Our time at Green Castle Estates has come to and end but many plan  to return. After working at Green Castle for over a week, both projects have been completed and Elaine couldn’t be happier with the work the students have put in. Both groups did a phenomenal job and were able to learn a lot about the industry in the mean time.

Our stay at Green Castle ended with a fun and delicious dinner at a local Restaurant in Robins Bay. Our trips into the small village allows for a very cultural experience and to see what Jamaica is all about. The people of Jamaica seem to always be so friendly and willing to tell their stories.

We have now made our way back to the Riu resort for some relaxation before heading back to Ontario. My experience on this trip has been amazing and I can’t wait to come back to Jamaica to explore more of it. As students we all started out barely knowing one another, but after spending 2 weeks together we have all grown a lot closer. A trip like this is a once in a lifetime experience that I would recommend to everyone.

Friday, 22 February 2013

More than a degree, more than a trip!

The "REAL" Jamaica
Tubing on the river
Bridge over troubled waters??? lol
Professor Brown, Professor Piper, and I embarked on our journey of culture, knowledge, and nature, in true ecotourist fashion. We left the beauty of Green Castle Estates behind us and set our sights on the Jamaica few know about. We winded through the streets, through the hustle and bustle of the everyday lives of the Jamaicans, offered fruits at our car windows, and had a few laughs on the way. Our first stop in Trelawney was at a Jamaican cultural museum, a gorgeous property full of vibrant colours and with an even more vibrant culture for tourists to experience. We had a very in depth interview with management and heard all the glorious stories of how the establishment is trying to stay sustainable
in a culture used to " throwing" ( littering), a commendable feat! From there we traveled to my favourite Jamaican 
spot....Juicy Patti! Were we had beef pattis that truly melted 
in your mouth. I tried a Jamaican cake named "Bulla" that 
was delicious. We then traveled to a fantastic spot on a river with gentle rapids that tourists can tube down, raft, 
kayak, or boogie bored. There was a spot down 
the river where tourists could stop and swing in 
the river by rope. After the raft trip there was a 
great spot on the beach where tourist could grab 
some food, drinks and souvenirs. On my journey 
at the river I ran into two Jamaican friends I had 
met last year on my trip here who greeted me with open arms, it was like I had never left. 
Jamaica has truly become my second home, as 
Professor Piper says. I will be sure to see them again on my trip back in a few months. Both 
places showed the three of us that being "green" 
and being sustainable is very possible and can be 
profitable, it showed me that we can use nature in business without destroying it, and if we are lucky and work hard enough can even improve it. It felt good to know that the business students CAN help 
and make a difference in the world, we can make an impact on the environment, just not with our 
footprints. I feel this message is lost in the classroom, business students can make a difference, just 
like nurses, just like teachers, but we have our own way, we just have to go out there and find it, 
Jamaica is that place for me. I would strongly recommend any student to come experience this 
feeling. Anyways I digress, after the interview at the river we headed back to Green 
Castle Estates, where we reflected on the amazing day we had, had a few more laughs and examined 
the majestic scenery back up into the hills.

Property at cultural museum
One Love Mon

Thursday, 21 February 2013

More than a degree!

Moose song
      We have always been told that at Nipissing you earn more then a degree and today was one of the great examples of how this is true. Not only are we taking part in this amazing experience to travel to Jamaica and work with a local business but today we had the opportunity of teaching the local elementary school students all about Canada and the projects we are working on while visiting Jamaica.
     We shared with them some pictures of Nipissing and the cold winter weather we left behind only a week ago. They were very surprised that on any given day back in Canada the past week it has been -20 where here in Jamaica it has been around 30 and this is their cold. I put together a small power point presentation to show some pictures of things like a map of Canada, a moose and some other things that represent Canada. We sang the classic repeat after me camp song "There was a great big moose.." that all of the students loved.
John playing the the kids
     Some of the older students shared with us some of the ways they are conserving energy and making sure they are eco friendly. Some of the things they do on a daily basis include turning off the light when you leave a room, not throwing litter on the ground, recycling and many other day to day ways to conserve. Through my observations while here in Jamaica, I think they are already doing a great job of conserving and making the best of the materials they already have.

The students were so happy to see us and hear our stories but I don't think they realize how happy we were to hear about them as well. It was an amazing opportunity for all of the students and a highlight of my trip.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Historical Perspective

Today was a day full of learning about the historical roots here at Green Castle. I'm Kristen, in the red, and I'm a fourth year Accounting student at Nipissing University. This is my fourth international trip, and definitely not my last!

I am part of the group researching farming projects here at Green Castle and today we interviewed Robin, a man who has been living on the estate longer than John Knox has been alive! (Maybe not that long, but close). Robin worked as the manager of the estate for 40 years, and is currently retired and living in a house right behind the estate house we are staying in. He provided us with a wealth of knowledge, telling us stories of the highs and lows of the land, including when they were the largest exporter of papaya, producing 12,000 boxes a week for 7 years. At this time there was a two year period where they were British Airway's largest cargo flight from Jamaica to Europe.
The Old Windmill

Robin also told us about the coconut, pimento, banana, and the recent production of cocoa throughout the 1,600 acres, as well as his fight with hurricanes (Gilbert and Sandy) and pests which set out to ruin all of the hard work in the fields.

As the ownership of the land changed, Robin's job here changed as well. When Robin was the manager, the owners were driven by the need for employment in Robins Bay and was focussed on the agriculture and export business. The current owner is more focussed on Eco-tourism and is developing an eco-village on the land. He made an agreement with Robin and the other workers who were farming the land and leases the land not being used by the eco-village to them. Robin leases much of the land and raises cattle and is working on growing peppers.

On top of Davey Hill Trail

After our interview with Robin, a few of us took advantage of the beautiful day (which have been few and far between here surprisingly) and took a hike up Davey Hill, a small mountain here on the estate. Elaine, the current manager, told us that there was a archaeological site up the trail so Tim, Marissa and I set out to find ourselves some bones!

Bones we did not find, but beauty we did. On top of Davey Hill there is a lookout, where we sat for around 20 minutes and just took in the view of the coastline. We also had a great view of the orchid greenhouses in the flatlands of Green Castle from the hill. However, nothing really prepared us for the strangest of discoveries at the top the hill.

What we assumed to be remnants of an archaeological dig, turned out to be four pools created by the previous owner where he allegedly "brought his girls". We tried to touch the bottom of these pools with stick we could find, but even when we used an 8 foot branch, we still could not touch the bottom.

Our discovery at the top of the trail
On this trail we also found some of the damage left from Hurricane Sandy. A large fig tree had fallen over the trail, and according to Elaine, is so large that the workers are having issues clearing it without causing drastic erosion of the trail.

One of the biggest things I have discovered on this trip is the impact that nature can have on the Earth. We hear in Canada about these hurricanes and then forget about them the next second, but people here are still trying to recover from the damage it caused. All along the coastline there is debris littering the beaches and the greenhouses on the estate which held a booming orchid farm were destroyed, and took the orchid production with them.

Thanks for reading through this long post! Hoped you learned something!

Jammin' in Jamaica,
            Kristen :)

Hard at work

Talking to Mr. Pringle about his goats

Over the past couple days both groups have been working hard conducting interviews of various people at Green Castle Estates. Through interviews they are gathering information to further their knowledge on the way that Green Castle functions so they can gear their recommendations accordingly. After taking another hike back to the main office area, we were able to view the Orkids, goats and the newly started ginger test area. The government has started to branch into different agricultural areas as many diseases and insects have started to destroy crops that once did well in Jamaica. This proves to be very difficult for farmers as they may lose their entire crop in a short period of time. Farmers on the estate are now looking into farming peppers, ginger and a possibility for Banana as well.
Exploring the Ginger crop

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Views of the Estate

     Today students presented their research with the Estate Manager, Elaine. She was very surprised of the amount of work students had put into their research and some of the various suggestions they had for her. Both groups were able to narrow down their projects to what would be best for the Estate and what she was looking for. This will give them more insight as to where their projects should go from here.
  Brittany, Kayla and Kristen enjoying refreshing coconut water 

     We then put our running shoes on and set out for a long hike around the property.  We had a chance to talk to some of the farmers who lease the land and hear what they plan to do in the future as well as current projects. The estate produces some products including Honey, Orkids, Coconut oils and other products. We were also able to see some stunning views along the way.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Arrived at Green Castle

Hi everyone! My name is Shannon and I am a 4th year business student on the Jamaica expedition.

We have arrived at Green Castle Estates! The weather is a balmy 38 degrees and we've been at the pool. Tomorrow we will be taking a walking tour of the estate where we will see the coconuts, orchids and goats (which I'm most excited for!!)

We have 2 groups for this course. There is a group of Eco-certifiers and farmers. I am apart of the farmers and were planning on setting up the management with a small vegetable garden to sustain guests and workers.

Jamaica isn't known for being a fancy place, but the warmth of the people and the beautiful scenery more then make up for it!

Irie (Jamaican word for everything is amazing!),


Friday, 15 February 2013

We Have Arrived

After a long day of traveling we finally arrived in Jamaica around 5:00pm Wednesday evening. A bus took us straight to the Riu resort where we have spend the past 2 nights. The weather has been gorgeous since the moment we landed and we hope it continues to stay like this until the moment we leave.

Kristen, Tim and Aaron getting some work done
Today students spent some time preparing for their first day working with our client at Green Castle Estates. They will be presenting to the Estate Manager tomorrow as we move from the Riu to Green Castle Estates. The bus will be picking us up at 9:00am where we will begin a new adventure!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pre Departure

Our bags are packed and the excitement is growing. 11 Students and 4 Professors are gearing up for our adventure to Jamaica to take part in research and projects with a local Jamaican business, Green Castle Estates. Green Castle is a a small estate property located in St. Mary Jamaica. We will be working with Green Castle to make them Eco Certified as well as Micro Farming. Although these are new areas of expertise for the students, everyone has been working hard to educate themselves on the issues in order to better help the business.

Continue to follow our blog for daily updates on what we are working on and the adventures we are taking place in.