23-year-old Jahnai L. Caul has his eyes completely focused on business and other sustainable ways to encourage food production in the Virgin Islands (VI). While he is involved in the ancient art of beekeeping, Jahnai still finds time to run an agribusiness, along with a local youth organisation.
Mr Caul says he has lived his entire life on Virgin Gorda, and having attended the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Primary and Secondary in 2011 and 2017 respectively, he found a passion in science. This made him the top graduating science student in the secondary division.
Currently, he said he has started his tertiary education with single courses such as sociology, human health, and nutrition, as well as other general courses where his academic intentions are to complete degrees in environmental sciences, agricultural sciences, or political sciences.
Mr Caul said he is currently at the ‘The Edible Schoolyard Project’ where in In 2019, he traveled to Berkeley California to enroll in the Edible School Yard Summer Programme where participants were trained to understand curriculum integration of the concept behind Edible Education. He said the programme centres on the connections between the classroom, the school garden, and the cafeteria.
This is especially important since all of Mr Caul’s core ventures are connected to food. “I am currently self-employed, operating two businesses within the Agricultural sector; named ‘Caul Greens Agribusiness’ (CGA) and ‘Humble Buzz Honey Works’ (HBHW), as well as a Youth Organisation named ‘Green Sprouts Eco Club.”
He said CGA is missioned on administrating sectoral development and rural agricultural system promotions across the Virgin Islands and is currently operating an organic farm located in North Valley, Virgin Gorda.
HBHW is a local agricultural company missioned on advancing the honey industry in the Virgin Islands and Caribbean, along with promoting food security through sustainable and ecological Apicultural/Beekeeping services.
He said the most challenging and ironic part of being in business is having to put all of his time into the venture. “My biggest life lesson so far is that “you are the speaker of your vision. I overcame by understanding that no one can advocate for the change I seek like I can, therefore I must be the change I seek for my territory,” he said.
When questioned on how he got into the field, Mr Caul said he grew up in a household of ‘Natural Levity’ and so, he always had a connection to the natural world, nature, and the environment.
“However, my high school teacher named Ms Johnson, actually inspired me to direct my aspirations into the careers of the agricultural sector,” he said,
Jahnai said he previously worked at the BVI Tourist Board from 2018-2021 as the environmental officer where he assisted in the facilitation of the Seeds Of Love Campaign – an environmental resiliency initiative launched to replant trees after the hurricanes of 2017.
“Together, we replanted and distributed over 3,000 [trees] across the territory. The campaign featured a pilot initiative for voluntourism where visiting guests to the territory participated in exclusive planting activities, gaining an opportunity to contribute to the recovery, whilst vacationing at our destination.”
He also did a job at the National Parks Trust as a Terrestrial Parks Warden to preserve and manage designated natural and cultural areas from 2022-2023.
While Mr Caul said his current business is the one that he always desired, he said he desires to start a business initiative focused on alternative medicine as well as pursue a career in politics.
“I am currently a programme partner at the Green Sprouts Eco Club, an environmental youth club in the British Virgin Islands focusing on educating and empowering our youths on sustainable practices, providing eco-educative youth outreach programmes in environmental accountability, youth leadership and marine development.”
He said GSEC was launched in 2012 by Programme Founder Ms Julie Swartz and has been active in all schools throughout the Ninth District (Virgin Gorda and Anegada).
He also spoke about BVI Bees which is a Virtual Facebook Platform that was created to help spread awareness towards the protection of Bee species throughout the [British] Virgin Islands. The platform serves for reporting swarms, unwanted bee colonies on properties as well as connecting with beekeepers and sharing bee experiences.
“BVI Teas (Virtual Facebook Platform) – serves as an interactive platform created for participants to share daily, uniquely infused teas and coffee specials, as well as traditional bush medicine and remedies for illnesses and alternative treatments.”
He said the advocacy platform also serves to strengthen the relationship between Agriculture and the Virgin Islands’ Healthcare Sector through featured diversified product offering and subject studies in the fields of alternative medicine, facilitating open discussions on such subject concepts to advance and expand the availability of healthcare services to our people.
When questioned on how his business is funded, Mr Caul said the youth organisation is funded through donors amongst the community, and outside of that, he is the proud recipient of the Farmers and Fishers Stimulus Funding distributed amongst the industry by the government of the Virgin Islands.
Mr Caul said; however, there is a challenge in getting financial/ funding from the government of the day to support and assist the continued operations of the youth organisation.
“There seems to be a challenge in mobilising the finances acquired through the Financing and Money Services Act that allocated a percentage of the finances towards agricultural development in the territory. This creates a hardship for farmers in obtaining the assisting capital needed for investment at a national level,” he shared.
Jahnai said his ultimate career goal is to be the leading progressional of sustainable development of the Virgin Islands; building relationships between tourism, culture, agriculture, our natural environment, and our people, and to be a Legislator in the Virgin Islands, specifically the Legislator of Food Security and Environmental Sustainability.
“I would advise young people to be brave about declaring their aspirations before the territory and gather amongst those that encourage your successive growth.
In parting advice, he encouraged youths to always strive to be a leading professional within their field of work and keep the people of the territory at the source of their passion.
“This formula has been my fuel since joining “deh adult life”. Follow me on all social media platforms, join me on my mission to invoke sustainable change; to donate and support my journey, please,” Mr Caul encouraged.