Our Story

Bala farmhouse

“You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers"

Farming has been in the Foster and Reid families for three generations. In 1976, Harry and Tina Foster fell in love with a fifty-acre farm in the hills of Balaclava, St. Elizabeth - a stone’s throw away from Harry's birthplace. "The Farm" became the passion of Harry, a Mining Engineer and graduate of Jamaica School of Agriculture (JSA) and Tina, a Registered Nurse. Every Saturday, the family would journey down to "Bala" with their three children (this trip was not voluntary for the children). After a day of plucking chickens, pruning coffee, or harvesting oranges, the children would "drive" the dilapidated Morris Oxford or the farm hand’s handcart.

Over the years, the family planted coffee, citrus plants, apples, passion fruit, bananas, plantains, coconut and ackee. In the late 1990s, Harry invested in five colonies of Italian bees. Grace, the youngest child and an MIT-trained Engineer, got involved with the bees in 2010 after she lost her income when local bauxite plants were shuttered. She had a vision to create 100 Jamaican jobs through innovating honey. The vision took on life after a near death experience involving a bicycle accident in 2011. She registered EcoFarms® and launched the first product – Buzz™ HoneyStix™ in 2011, followed by the award winning Buzz™ Honey Wine in 2013.

The company has been blessed with many awards and honours including:

  • National Bakery Bold Ones in Manufacturing
  • National Commercial Bank (NCB) Nation Builder Award
  • Manchester Chamber of Commerce (MCOC) Entrepreneur of the Year

 

Furthermore, Grace was selected as a Vital Voices Fellow in 2013 and has received extensive training in the operating as a social entrepreneur. In 2016, Grace was selected as a VV100 Fellow – this group includes 100 women worldwide who have a high potential for success in their field.

In 2016, EcoFarms® partnered with Jamaica Deaf Village (JDV). EcoFarms® has engaged two deaf youths and is training them as our beekeeper. One of these youngsters attended a two month training in China in 2017.  The company is setting up a factory at JDV and will hire more deaf people to produce our Buzz® products as we slowly but steadily realize the vision of creating 100 Jamaican jobs among at-risk and marginalised groups.