Paintings by Louise Brooks showing salt-picking.ANGUILLA–Anguilla’s Salt Festival 2020 kicked off on Thursday, July 23, with an art, photo and product exhibit at the St. Gerald’s Catholic Conference Centre, Wallblake, in the Valley.The exhibit was hosted by Clemvio Hodge, President of the local entrepreneurial marketing company What We Do in Anguilla (WWDIA) and his aunt, renowned artist Louise A. Brooks, who guided guests around the numerous displays while simultaneously providing a wealth of information concerning the history of Anguilla’s salt industry.Anguilla’s salt ponds were once a major producer of salt and played a significant role in the island’s livelihood. Salt was harvested and exported throughout the Caribbean region and even as far as the United States and Canada. It is reported that in the 1700s and 1800s, over 90,000 barrels of salt were exported annually. The Road Bay salt pond located at Sandy Ground was the predominant source, and although it continues to produce salt organically today, the salt is no longer harvested or exported. The tourism industry introduced in the early 1980s replaced salt as a source of income.Anguilla’s younger generation is beginning to re-discover the salt ponds and their rich cultural and economic history. Organised tours for adults as well as school students and visitors are becoming a common sight at the ponds as participants learn the history of salt-picking and if lucky, get the opportunity to pick a handful of salt. In addition to gaining a cultural appreciation of salt-picking, many are elated with the therapeutic benefits of wading through the waters.The Salt Festival’s showpiece will take place on Saturday, July 25, at 6:00am, when registered participants will be led through the pond in small groups accompanied by knowledgeable guides to pick their own salt. Hodge said, “We pass the pond all the time, we look at it, smell it, but we aren’t aware of the ongoing yearlong process that culminates in formation of salt at the bottom of the pond during the months of May through August.” He said the tour will explain the science of the salt formation as well as the collection and shipping distribution process.A breakfast, already sold out, and music on the beach will follow the tour. Additional tour information can be accessed on the websitewhatwedoinanguilla.com.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/anguilla-celebrates-salt-picking-history