Getting to Know the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council: Kenney Manning

Farm Manager, St. Kitts Eco-Park

Growing up in St. Kitts in a family rooted deep in agriculture, Kenney Manning has always felt a deep connection to the local environment. Now, as the Farm Manager at St. Kitts Eco-Park, Kenney’s day-to-day life combines this love of nature with the island’s booming tourism industry.

Founded as a joint effort between St. Kitts and it’s sister island of Taiwan, Eco-Park is an ‘agritourism demonstration farm’ that provides a unique opportunity for visitors and locals alike to learn about the crops grown on the island. The park includes sugar cane fields, a greenhouse full of exotic flowers, herb and flower gardens, and tropical fruit orchards. In addition, an exhibit about the St. Kitts sugar industry offers a glimpse into the island’s agricultural past. There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase locally-made handicrafts and products.

Kenney speaks to Destination Guardian trainees at the St. Kitts Eco-Park during a study tour in February

Kenney’s background in agriculture helped him understand the importance of sustainability and long-term planning, particularly for a small island like St. Kitts. Natural resources have been a big part of Kenney’s life in St. Kitts and he wants to make sure that they continue to exist for future generations as well. “I live in St. Kitts, its my home” says Kenney, “And I believe it is part of my responsibility to ensure there is something left for the coming years.”

Serving on the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC) is one way that Kenney is able to help do his part. He sees the value in what the SDC is doing and feels that it aligns closely with both his own priorities as well as Eco-Park’s.

In addition to fostering stakeholder collaboration, Kenney says that the SDC helps raise awareness of sustainability issues and the solutions. One of the SDC accomplishments that he is most proud of is the role the council played in creating the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation.  “The Foundation has been doing a lot over the year it has existed,” says Kenney, “It’s really getting the word out and making change possible.” Kenney has become highly involved in the Foundation and even volunteered to take on a larger role in its management going forward.  

Kenney proudly wears his Heart of St. Kitts Foundation T-shirt, while lending a hand during a local beach cleanup.

The SDC was also involved in getting an award specifically focused on sustainable tourism added into the annual St. Kitts Tourism Awards. Kenney believes this has helped raise awareness and recognition of sustainability on a national level.

Kenney is proud of the progress that the SDC has made so far, but acknowledges that there’s still a long road ahead. “We have a lot of great ideas and passion and we need to make them happen,” says Kenney. “The work we are doing will benefit the entire country, now it’s just a matter of getting everyone to realize that.”

This post is part of the “Getting to Know the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council” blog series. View the series here to learn about some of the other members of the SDC.  

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