Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Before and After: Organic Farming in St. Kitts

Three months after FTF Volunteer Tom Syverud traveled from Wisconsin to St. Kitts to assist the Community Achievers Project's (CAP) Riches of the Earth Farm in implementing organic production practices, the fruits of their labor are beginning to show. Thanks go to Victoria Baucom of CAP for sharing these photos and stories.

These youth are receiving vocational training through CAP to allow them to go back to high school with the hopes of graduating and having a better future.

The farm was not currently producing, so Tom (right) and Sydney Berkeley (Riches of the Earth farm manager, pictured with colorful hat) taught the participating youth about composting and how to set up their own individual gardens. Nine square meter gardens were established.

They also taught the younger kids about cultivating the land, while planting seeds together.

Conducting soil tests provided instruction on the necessary soil nutrients.

3 Months Later:

Quotes below are from Victoria Baucom, CAP Coordinator:

"We have expanded our farm and are now growing peppers, squash and watermelons. On Friday, Sydney has broccoli, bananas, papayas, and greens to sell."

"We just harvested the broccoli and greens and we are waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. The students from 5 A Ganar [Partners of the Americas' Sport for Development Program in St. Kitts] are harvesting their crops today."

"We have started our program with our little ones (about 19) who come from Basseterre and they come from the country every Tuesday after school. They are cleaning the area where they will start their square meter garden and another project."

"Sydney is grateful for the lessons he learned from Tom. As a result we are experiencing success in further teaching our youth about agriculture.  Our young children are simply fantastic and the older ones are slowly becoming more serious. They realize they will be on their own soon and that the economy is suffering here in St. Kitts. As unemployment rises and the cost of living increases, our youth are now feeling the effects. Whereas before, it was a struggle, they are now working with Sydney learning how to graft trees, reproduce banana trees, making organic pesticides, identifying pest and adding carbons and nitrogen to the compost piles."

"Thank you for selecting CAP to participate in the USAID Farmer to Farmer program. Just learning a few new techniques have strengthened our program. In fact, several other programs in St. Kitts are now asking CAP to send them our youth to participate in their programs. Tom's visit was a success for CAP in St. Kitts. The knowledge we have acquired will certainly be passed down to the youth. Youth in St. Kitts will determine if agriculture will become a viable industry in St. Kitts."

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