CEO, Farm Up Jamaica, USA
Neil Curtis is the Air Rights Specialist at Douglas Elliman’s Curtis Group who is making high-rise development possible in New York City. Although he is very dedicated to the development of New York City’s architectural landscape, he has decided to pursue a long-time, heart-felt objective and help tackle the current economic crisis in Jamaica through the revitalization of agriculture through climate-smart, organic farming. With a strong family history in Jamaican farming, Neil understands the value and tradition of farming-to-live.
He recognizes the current issues being faced by Jamaica and its farmers. Even while working on various business ventures in the US, Neil continually kept the fire burning- with an urge to assist in the rebuilding of Jamaica, but never knew quite how.
In 2013, during the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, Neil met Diasporans from the USA, UK and Canada who shared a common heart-felt concern regarding the underutilized agricultural sector. In contrast to Tourism, which represents 60% of the Jamaican Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Agriculture only represents 6% of the economy. Together, the Diaspora organized to form Farm Up Jamaica Ltd., a non-profit organization with the common good of Jamaica at heart, which would work to help safeguard job & food security in addition to reducing crime through large-scale cultivation of organic produce. When combined, these efforts help balance the Jamaican economy and improve the socioeconomic climate throughout the island.
Neil has decided to dedicate his energies to fundraising within the Jamaican Diaspora, working hands-on with small, local farmers and students in order to help remove the stigma associated with farming in Jamaica. Mr. Curtis is diligently helping to ensure that the next wave of growers is environmentally-conscious agri-entrepreneurs. By using a measurable and transparent approach to this non-profit effort, there is no doubt that his passion for the betterment of Jamaica will be successful and serve as an inspiration for Jamaicans both at home and abroad.