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Give & Take: Why Responsible Land Use is Key to Establishing Climate Resilience

Here at Secret Bay, it’s always been our mission to give back much more than we take. Whether we’re constructing buildings or growing food, we’re thinking about how we can simultaneously protect, preserve and even improve the land we’re taking from.

Target number 18 in Dominica’s Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan is for organic and sustainable agricultural land use to reach 60% by 2030. For our part, Secret Bay is committed to sustainable food sourcing and organic gardening on our property. Learn more below.

Dominica’s Path to Climate Resistance: Organic & Responsible Land Use

When it comes to natural disasters and extreme weather events, agriculture is one of the most disaster-affected sectors in Dominica. Because crops often require stable or precise conditions to grow and thrive, a lot of factors contribute to finding that delicate balance. From hurricanes or drought to gradual erosion or contamination, the agricultural industry has to account for any potential disruptions.

And, while some events are impossible to avoid, there are ways of planting, farming and harvesting that will leave a vital industry less vulnerable in the long run. This is where Dominica’s climate-resilience target comes in. By 2030, Dominica’s goal is for 60% of agricultural land to be cultivated organically—which will support the larger agendas of environmental protection and sustainable development. 

Organic has certainly become a buzzy term in more recent years, but aside from providing us with healthier food options, how, exactly, does organic farming support climate resilience? Organic farming practices contribute to healthy soil, can help combat major land issues like erosion, may help reduce carbon dioxide, and use less natural resources (water and energy) than more commercialized agriculture production.

Secret Bay’s Contribution: Farming, Sourcing & Land Use

As a business that relies on the wellness of this island to thrive, Secret Bay has always been committed to preserving, appreciating and giving back to the environment however we can. That includes the way we construct and refresh the resort, as well as how we source and grow food.

The Secret Bay Green Team—composed of our Owner, General Manager and led by our staff—constantly assesses operations, implements incremental improvements and sets goals moving forward. This team is responsible for conceptualizing and carrying out our Sustainability Covenants: environmental action plans that guide the development, ownership and stays at Secret Bay, all aligned with Dominica’s overall national objectives. Within these, we’ve outlined the following pledges regarding farming, food sourcing and land use:

  • Implementation of water conservation strategies to reduce waste and encourage reuse
  • Making farm-to-table dining and local organic produce available for guests to support the environment and deliver a six-star guest experience
  • Supporting local farmers and organic growers 
  • Purchasing in bulk where necessary to avoid excess packaging
  • Disposing of biodegradable waste through composting
  • Following responsible land use guidelines when expanding Secret Bay

One such example is the care our team takes when building new villas at Secret Bay. Built across 33 newly-assembled acres and in accordance with a conscientiously phased master plan, Secret Bay will become an even lower density product than what it is today—decreasing from nine percent to less than seven percent of the property allocated for development. As such, the tangible sense of intimacy and seclusion for which Secret Bay has become renowned will forever stay intact. Construction and land use practices have included reuse of cut wood and sawdust along with sargassum seaweed to both reduce construction waste and produce nutrient-rice compost for regular landscaping needs, as well as detailed assessments to ensure minimal damage to the ecological systems on and around the property.

In 2020, Secret Bay planted organic gardens outside of each freestanding villa, which are available to each guest as they please. We also grow an increasing amount of produce and herbs for use in our restaurants. Additionally, our farm-to-table concept pairs nicely with sourcing fresh, organic, sustainable ingredients from local farms—reducing transportation costs, supporting the local economy and ensuring the highest quality foods for our guests.

To learn more about our ongoing commitments regarding land use and more, view our Sustainability Covenants.

Secret Bay: Where Sustainability Meets Luxury

Renewable energy is just one pillar in our quest for better, more environmentally-friendly operations. Here’s a holistic view of what the intersection of luxury and sustainability looks like at Secret Bay:

  • Eco-friendly construction: Our villas are made of sustainably-sourced Guyanese Greenheart hardwood and built without heavy machinery, allowing us to preserve the surrounding trees.
  • Sustainable food sourcing: We’ve recently installed organic backyard gardens outside of each villa as well as an organic farm to supply fresh food to our restaurants. We even offer guests an opportunity to catch lionfish—an invasive species that threatens the natural marine ecosystem (and happens to taste delicious when prepared by our chefs).
  • Zero tolerance for single-use plastics: We provide our guests with reusable glass water bottles, which they can fill up with filtered water from their villa during their stay.
  • Opting for energy-efficient appliances: Our villas are equipped with fully-stocked kitchens, complete with state-of-the-art energy-efficient appliances for convenience without the impact.
  • Green cleaning: Our staff operates using green practices and EPA-approved products, using biodegradable or reusable tools and resources when appropriate.
  • Coral restoration: Another hands-on experience available to guests is our Coral Restoration Project, in partnership with Project Lead, Donna Mitchell, the Dominica Fisheries Division and PADI. By rehabilitating and planting new, healthy coral, we’re supporting the local fishing economy, the underwater ecosystem and our shorelines.

For these operational standards and our ongoing commitment to the planet, Secret Bay has been recognized as a Green Globe Certified property — one of the highest standards for sustainability worldwide.

Come revel in ethical luxury with us. Inquire here.

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