Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Volunteers Are Saying about Farmer to Farmer

One goal of the Farmer to Farmer Program is to expose Americans to the people and farming systems of developing countries. Below are some quotes from volunteers, as they share personal reflections on Partners'  Farmer to Farmer  Program and the difference it has made in their lives.
Girls perform traditional Nicaraguan dance for FTF volunteer
“Well, last full day here in Guyana and I've got to say it's been an amazing trip and the Farmer to Farmer program appears to really be making a difference here in Georgetown and the surrounding areas. In fact, speaking with people from the American and Canadian embassies, it appears to be one program that really stands out as being affective and 'well worth the time and effort of the US Government.'” 

- Derek C., Environmental Services Analyst with the City of Sioux City, FTF-Guyana volunteer (Crop Nursery Management)

"I thank the Farmer to Farmer Program for connecting me with the people of Nicaragua. The exchange of knowledge, the work we did together, the information they shared about the land, the produce/food, and the culture was amazing. I learned more about Nicaragua, the people and the land, in two weeks than what I have learned through books and TV educational programming over the years. Working, teaching and learning together is always a more fulfilling and productive experience!

...As a result of the trip to Nicaragua and the nutritional and food safety needs I observed while working at different communities, I decided to create a recipe book for these communities that will also include some food safety tips. The book will consist of recipes that will include the produce they are growing in their gardens and the produce available in Nicaraguan grocery stores and markets. It will focus on the implementation of fruits and vegetables on their daily diet."
- Batya S., Extension Nutrition Educator, FTF-Nicaragua volunteer (School and Community Gardening)
Volunteers work together with local Technicians

"Working directly with producers was a valuable experience and much was learned while making site visits. However, some of the most effective use of our time was spent with regional Technicians. These individuals have a unique perspective on common problem areas and, working together, we developed several different strategies and suggestions to address key issues. Our efforts were greatly multiplied by interacting with the Technicians and we would encourage greater interaction where possible.

...Throughout our travels in the DR we were touched by the kindness and appreciation expressed by the individuals we worked with. These individuals were anxious to learn and open to new ideas, techniques and technologies. Although it is difficult [for us] to determine if we made a difference in their lives, it is quite certain they made a difference in ours."

-  Don W. and Sharon D.; Professor and Extension Specialist, and Past Senior Research Associate (nursery crop); FTF-Dominican Republic volunteers

FTF Volunteer strategizes with Haitian community leader
"My time in Guyana was a life changing experience. I am in love with the food, the people and the wildlife. I hope that one day I can share it with my family... [F]or me this trip was a lot of things, not only business and growth but also for me it was like a final exam... for hydroponic farming and I aced it."
- Michael D., Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran, Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) Program Graduate, FTF-Guyana volunteer (Hydroponics Shadehouse Production)

"I sure hope Congress and USAID renews the Farmer to Farmer program in their budget. The dedicated folks working in the program with the NGO's have had a huge impact on farmers around the world and have improved their livelihoods immensely. Also, it has really opened the eyes of farmers and ranchers like myself, and I have always learned something from the assignments that helps me understand the world and agriculture better. After the elections, I hope to get in to talk with our congressional delegation or staff in NM to ask for their support for the future of the program."
- Scott S., Rancher and  FTF-Haiti volunteer (Micro-enterprise business planning)

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