Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from the Farmer to Farmer Team!

To celebrate Halloween, the FTF Team in Washington dressed up to represent our programs: a bee for our beekeeping project, a rabbit for our small animal project, a tree representing our forestry and tree crops project and a Nicaraguan producer (maybe even our Country Coordinator Ronald Blandon).  :)  Enjoy the holiday and volunteer today (costumes not required).  :)

Integrated Pest Management in Nicaragua

Recently the Farmer to Farmer Program in Nicaragua welcomed Julie Longland for a pest and disease control assignment specifically focused on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Ms. Longland worked with potato growers and field workers in the main potato production areas of the highlands near Jinotega, Matagalpa and EstelĂ­.  Farmer to Farmer began working with the potato growers in this area in January of this year as part of its horticulture country project.

IPM is an important area of technical assistance given that many growers use pesticides as the primary control method to managing pests and diseases.  Growers are often unaware of the safety hazards to themselves and the environment. Often times these growers don’t know the other tools that are available that may be both safer and less expensive to use.  As Ms.Longland expressed, “With all of the recommendations, it was emphasized that any positive change, even if only a small adjustment, would be a real improvement in their management and/or safety”. In addition to IPM training, Ms. Longland also provided technical assistance on pesticide safety, beneficial insects, monitoring using yellow sticky traps, storage and sanitation practices and crop rotations. 

Farmer to Farmer is planning other upcoming assignments that address the needs of IPM and pesticide safety for potato growers in Nicaragua. These assignments will build on the recommendations made by Ms. Longland and other horticulture volunteers.  Below is a link to a short article written by Julie Longland for the website of the Entomology Department at Purdue University, where she completed her undergraduate degree.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bonus Day for Donations to Help Improve Nutrition in Haiti!

Today, October 19th, is BONUS DAY on Global Giving! Donations to projects will be matched (at a 33% rate) by Global Giving - increasing the impact that your donation has in rural Haiti. Funds have already helped provide tools and seeds for the village of Lory.

Visit the "Vegetable Gardens For Improved Nutrition" project site today:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update from the field

From Robert Spencer, FTF Volunteer:  Here I am on my third volunteer visit this year and each one is great; as I put it “each trip is friends, food, education, and fun”. Field Officers Papy and Anderson are amazing hosts and always make sure we accomplish our mission while enjoying ourselves and serving the clientele. I have been coming to Haiti since 2006 and have become so accustomed to spending time here I consider it my ‘home away from home’. My travels continue to take my colleagues and I to villages further out from Cap Haitien (in the north) including the villages of Gran Pre, Caracol, Limonade, Lory, and Port Margot. And to the southwest part of Haiti which includes the villages of Aquin, Les Cayes, Asile, and Passe bois d’orme. As we make progress with increasing the people’s knowledge base, my presentations are further developed to cover more specific areas such as: animal husbandry, food safety as it applies to organ meat (i.e. liver), zoonotic and biologic concerns, home-style rabbit meat processing, and meat quality. Animal husbandry needs to be addressed since management styles tend to be lacking, and the people do not always comprehend the correlation between animal husbandry skills and how it can enhance (or destroy) animal productivity and profitability.

All this is based on suggestions from the field officers who work closely with me and receive feedback from the clientele.My participation in outreach programs in Haiti have taught me much over the years, such as how my “style or approach” to teaching is to gain interaction from the people. This applies to my programs in Haiti and the U.S. I figure if I can get people to interact with me in a country where I do not speak the language, processing the information. At the end of each seminar I tend to ask the audience then the people are understanding three questions: (1) Do you see the relevance of the information I have shared with you, (2) Do you see the potential to implement what you have learned, and (3) Do you believe this will help feed your families and allow you to generate revenues through the sale of this meat product? Their responses are a resounding yes, followed by an intensive thank you from the lead person in each community. This approach is working well within the U.S., and I have begun utilizing these same three questions in my programmatic evaluations to better assess impact.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wisconsin Volunteers Featured in News

Three Farmer to Farmer Volunteers from the University of Wisconsin-Stout recently appeared in a news article in the Chippewa Valley Post. Click here to learn more about their trips to Nicaragua!