By anguillian April 18, 2016 11:33 Updated




“Ever been to my farm?”
Michael (Dumpa) Martin, Steel-pan Music Teacher, in the Education Department, posed that question to The Anguillian newspaper during one of his early morning free periods at the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School.

“All of this I do here,” he told the newspaper, sweeping an arm across his road-side cultivation in the luminous farmland in The Valley Bottom. “See, I have this plantation of banana, plantain and fig trees, sour-sop, and other fruit trees. They are lined on this side by coconut palms and on the other side by kale, cucumbers, chives and other vegetables. It is a little of everything including lemon grass for my bush tea.”

Excited, and hardly giving a chance for questions, Dumpa went on: “I call myself a ‘Musical Farmer’. You see music in school, in my church, and farming, are close to me. They go together. I have been in farming in Anguilla for over twenty years. From a young boy – back home in Piggotts Village, Antigua – I have been doing the same thing. Steel-pan music and farming are all part of my home village. I born, grew up, and met it all there and it has become part of me. I worked with my grandparents and other family members tending cattle, working the ground, cutting sugarcane and playing steel-pan music. That’s all part of my background.”

Dumpa, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday, said that for him, farming, like pan music, is a delightful pastime. “The Anguilla Government gives farmers water for drip irrigation at a special price,” he gratefully stated. “When I have a lot of produce, I sell some to Best Buy and Proctor’s Supermarkets. The only problem with farming is that there is too much stealing. I had a bunch of bananas, for example. When I looked for it one day, it was gone: stolen by somebody. This is not good.”
Not discouraged, Dumpa is continuing his farming while praying for rain. He has even hired a Dominican Republic national to assist him with weeding and other caretaking chores – but he does the bulk of the work on his farm himself.
What advice is he offering other persons?

“Get into farming the land, irrespective of the thieves,” he advised. “You know what you are planting and eating; but the things you buy in the shops, you don’t know where they are coming from and what you are eating. So plant more and eat local. It is very important.”

By anguillian April 18, 2016 11:33 Updated


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