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AmHydro grower Richard Paris was born and raised on the island of Nevis in the West Indies of the Caribbean. He worked at the Four Seasons resort there for 9 years, 6 of which he spent working in the food and beverage industry. In their remote location, it was hard to provide fresh produce to their guests. All imported food has to be delivered via ocean freight in shipping containers from Miami which takes a week. Richard observed that produce with a longer shelf life arrived fine, but things like leafy greens would often arrive spoiled or wilting. 

That’s what gave him the idea to get into hydroponics. The sandy, island soil of Nevis was inhospitable to farming produce in many places, but with just a small backyard plot and a hydroponics system, Richard knew he’d be able to start growing produce just minutes from potential customers. He had no background in farming whatsoever, but that didn’t stop him. He saw a great business opportunity and pursued it. After spending a couple years researching, he chose to go with an AmHydro system, and began growing in his backyard. Richard attributes much of his success to that choice, and to the ongoing support provided by AmHydro sales rep Rudy Clark-Luera.

His business model targeted hotels and restaurants targeting tourists; selling them whole heads of lettuce for use in the kitchen. However, because of COVID-19, the tourism sector crashed and he was left with a greenhouse filled with produce and no market. At that time Richard was only selling on his own island. So he adjusted his approach, coming up with a new retail product: Resealable bags of cut loose leaf lettuce). As he began marketing it to local supermarkets on Nevis and across to their sister island St. Kitts, he was gradually able to increase production. 

Are you a hydroponic grower, or do you know someone who we should feature on #humansofhydroponics? We love chatting with growers who are working to bring fresh, local produce to their communities!

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