Monday, December 6, 2010

USAID Volunteer Appreciation Event

Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer volunteers to be recognized at the
USAID Volunteer Appreciation Event

USAID is hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Event on December 7, 2010 in Washington DC to honor Farmer to Farmer volunteers. The event is part of USAIDs continued dedication to global food security and the launching of the Feed the Future Program. The Farmer to Farmer Program is one of the many USAID Programs that compliments these efforts and directly contributes to agricultural development and economic growth. Two of Partners’ Farmer to Farmer volunteers will be in attendance and recognized at the Volunteer Appreciation Event.

Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Honorees:

Dr. Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak is a veterinarian, farmer, and development practitioner who has traveled 10 times to Haiti as a specialist in rabbit production with Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Program. Dr. Kaplan-Pasternak has focused primarily on helping Makouti Agro Enterprise establish a successful rabbit production microenterprise system. Myriam and her husband Mark (also a Farmer to Farmer volunteer) own and manage Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio, California, a diversified family farm where they raise sheep, pigs, rabbits and wine grapes for high end restaurants and wineries as well as educate children about nutrition and food production. Her experience in international development began in Niger where she served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer from 1983-85, focusing on nutrition.

Dr. Thomas Evans is a Full Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. Dr. Evans has traveled four times to Jamaica and twice to the Dominican Republic with Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Program. In Jamaica, Dr. Evans and his team worked to implement new greenhouse production practices and integrate disease management programs in vegetable production and maximize quality and value of greenhouse-grown tomatoes, melons, microgreens and sprouts.  Dr. Evans has a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Botany and Plant Pathology where he did research on the contribution of asparagus virus to the decline of asparagus in Michigan. He is the treasurer for the International Society for Plant Pathology, has over 70 scholarly publications and has been invited to speak at numerous professional presentations.

The guest speaker at the Volunteer Appreciation Event is Gregory Gottlieb, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Food Security and in attendance will be all the Farmer to Farmer Implementing Organizations. The volunteers will receive Presidential Volunteer Service Awards and they will present about their Farmer to Farmer experiences.

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