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MARKETING AND FARMING STRATEGY ASSISTANCE PROVIDED FOR ORGANIC FARM 
Source Farm Foundation (SFF) requested assistance for local farmers they are working with to help the farmers establish best practices for proper land preparation that meet organic standards, strengthen their ability to develop crop plans and budgets, and improve the farmers market that provides their main marketing outlet. Alex Hitt, of Peregrine Farm, Graham NC and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Farmers' Markets, Inc. was selected to provide technical assistance based on his 33 years of experience in all aspects of horticultural crop production and in teaching and training new farmers in sustainable farming techniques, and his service on the board of Directors of the 35 year old, farmer run and U.S. nationally known, Carrboro Farmers' Market for 29 years.

 

During his volunteer assignment from November 2-17, 2014, Alex met with 12 individual local farmers in the Plantain Garden River (PGR) Agro Park, the Rowlandsfield Community and various other locations in St. Thomas Parrish. He also conducted a training on organic farming to faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture Science and Education(CASE). On the marketing front he met with the leadership of the Jamaican Culinary Federation and evaluated the Ujima Farmer's market. 

 

During his assignment he had contact with at least 90 people. The farmers gained valuable technical support on appropriate crop and site plans and developed an increased understanding of farm design, nutrient management, crop rotation and soil preparation. The SFF gained valuable insight into how to improve the Ujima farmer's market, which should result in improved function and increased income.

 

INNOVATIVE AGRICULTURAL DESIGN AND PRODUCTION STRATEGIES
While the demand for organic crops has expanded rapidly over the past 20 years in developed nations, Jamaica is just beginning to see significant on-island demand.  The Source Farm Foundation (SFF) has been working for the past two years to provide training in Permaculture, organic farming, crop budgeting, and markets. The project was mainly focused on the Parish of St. Thomas which is the most forgotten and underdeveloped parish in Jamaica for over a century. In order to help this parish catch up with the market, FAVACA sent volunteer Tony Kleese who is an Organic Farm Business and Certification Educator and Consultant at the Earthwise Organics. 

From March 31 to April 14, 2014, Mr. Kleese was able to develop an excel spreadsheet for an organic demonstration plot that included: ten year cash flow budget, crop plan for nine crops, three year crop rotation, enterprise plans for nine crops, equipment and irrigation planning tools, an overhead budget, and a yield and spacing chart. He was able to conduct a training for farm leaders on how to use this excel sheet in order to better understand organic production practices, increase income, and improve in farm management and profitability through the use of crop planning and budgeting tools. The purpose of the assignment was to train the producers in innovative design and production strategies that will provide solid yields and improve the soil biology and biodiversity of the land they farm.  Mr. Kleese formally trained a total of ten (10) people, and assisted a total of thirty-one (31) people. 

ORGANIC FARMING AND PERMACULTURE PRACTICES TAUGHT IN JAMAICA
The Source Farm Foundation is a non-profit NGO working within the Parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica whose mission it is to create opportunities for community economic development within the parish to facilitate sustainable development initiatives around organic farming, land stewardship and permaculture.  The Source Farm Foundation works in conjunction with the Source Farm Ecovillage & Farm which operates a 5 acres teaching farm where students and travelers can learn about agriculture. Agriculture in Jamaica, especially in the Parish of St. Thomas, has struggled due to worldwide economic difficulties, increase in prices for inputs such as fertilizer and insecticide and lack of opportunities for small rural farmers in Jamaica. The help reduce the reliance on and cost of fertilizer and other inputs for farmers, the Source Farm Foundation requested the assistance of FAVACA to provide an expert to provide training on organic agriculture and permaculture to small farmers and young individuals in the parish. FAVACA, in collaboration with Partners of the Americas, recruited veteran FAVACA volunteer Chuck Marsh, permaculture specialist and teacher with Useful Plants Nursery in Black Mountain, North Carolina, to travel to Jamaica from January 16 - February 17, 2013. 

While in Jamaica, Marsh worked with the Source Farm Foundation to create the first small farmer training program called the One One Coco Project which provided extensive trainings on permaculture, agroecology, soils, erosion control methods, farming and gardening, and hillside farming innovations.  Marsh also visited four farms in the parish and provided an assessment to farmers on how best to implement certain methods of permaculture which could result in new crops being grown in previously unused space on the farms. The farmers at each site visit all expressed their interest in participating in a parish wide organic farming cooperative. Marsh also worked directly with the Source Farm Foundation on issues of cooperative development strategies and helped the foundation lay the groundwork for the foundation of a local organic cooperative. The foundation has been marketing their organic farm produce in Port Antonio and the demand is already more than the current production capacity.  Lastly, Marsh traveled to Kingston to provide a workshop on urban permaculture which provided hands on activities for topics on garden bed construction and building vegetable gardens out of recycled materials. Classroom lectures on urban farming and food gardening were also provided. Throughout Marsh's trip, the participants and farmers he encountered showed widespread enthusiasm for permaculture and organic farming practices and Marsh is committed to seeing that farmers in Jamaica have the appropriate resources to being to increase organic farming in Jamaica. 

 

VALUE ADDED BEE PRODUCTS HELP JAMAICAN BEE INDUSTRY
The Jamaica Federation of Commercial Apiculturists Ltd (JFCA) is a producer's organization owned, controlled, and managed by bee farmers.  JFCA's main objective is to facilitate growth, expansion, and development of apiculture in Jamaica through large scale commercial bee farming enterprises.  The organization is in the process of expanding into value-added products like creamed honey, beeswax, candles, soaps and other cosmetic products.  JFCA requested FAVACA's help to provide expertise on creating these value-added products.  FAVACA recruited volunteers Doug Corbin and Rob Horsburgh - both have extensive knowledge and experience in beekeeping, honey production and value-added products and are with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Plant Industry Bureau of Plan and Apiary Inspection.  They traveled to Jamaica June 17-23, 2012 to train JFCA members on developing value-added honey products and marketing the products locally, regionally, and internationally. Corbin and Horsburgh visited local honey enterprises Queenbee Honey Products, Thomas and Sons Family Bees and Royale Honey Enterprises' factory and bottling operation. They provided insights on ensuring top quality honey in the bottling process and increasing the amount of honey entering the factory from multiple sources. Corbin and Horsburgh also held a seminar at Medallion Hall Hotel on developing and selling value-added products to the participants' customers.  Lastly, Corbin and Horsburgh met with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss recommendations on further advancing the beekeeping industry in Jamaica.  Jamaica has the potential to capitalize on the value-added products industry and will need the Ministry's support to ensure extension agents are available to assist with regulations of these new value-added products.

CARPIN IMPROVES POISON INFORMATION TO THE JAMAICAN COMMUNITY

Each year the Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) holds their poison prevention week.  The first few days of poison prevention week are dedicated to outreach programs geared to inform the public on specific poison information.  While CARPIN's poison prevention week is successful, the organization wished to reach more of the Jamaican population and update its outreach with the most recent scientific information; therefore CARPIN requested the assistance of FAVACA to provide experts to help train staff and participants on poison prevention.  Phyllis Bell-Davis, Media Relations and Education Associate of the Florida US Virgin Islands Poison Information Center in Jacksonville (FPIC/Jax), traveled May 29 - June 3, 2012 and Dr. Dawn Sollee, Associate Director of FPIC/Jax, traveled June 1 - 3, 2012 to Kingston Jamaica to provide a number of different educational lectures and presentations.  During Poison Prevention Week, the two women facilitated workshops on poison control and management to provide a base understanding of the dangers of poisoning and methods to mitigate disasters if they occur.  The volunteers also participated in interactive community outreach sessions and provided CARPIN with additional recommendations on reaching a broader audience with their message.  Bell-Davis and Sollee also conducted scientific training sessions emphasizing scientific components of poisoning, including chemical reactions and the viability of chemical materials.  Lastly, the volunteers presented information on designer drug abuse and the dangers of medicinal abuse and other illegal narcotics.  In the five days filled with informational sessions, the volunteers highlighted the importance of including poison prevention in early childhood educational curriculum to ensure that information on poison prevention begins at an early age and fosters safe practices and behaviors.  Bell-Davis and Sollee noticed the need for additional training in poison prevention education for childhood practitioners and hospital pediatric staff and hope to follow-up with the partner in the future.

JAMAICANS LEARN HOW TO RUN A POISON INFORMATION CENTER

Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) is a multi-agency institution that aims to reduce incidents of poisoning in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and make poison information readily available to the public.  Since 2006, FAVACA has provided CARPIN with seven volunteers to establish a poison information center, expound on philosophies in poison management, respond to events involving chemical and biological weapons, and set up an emergency clinical toxicology center.  Due to lack of funding and few specialists in the area of toxicology, CARPIN requested FAVACA's support for two of its members to visit the nationally recognized Florida Poison Information Center in Jacksonville to learn about managing and sustaining a poison center.  The visit would help acquire information on poison prevention programs, daily operations of a poison center, cost effective ways of managing accidental poisoning, sustainable fundraising activities, and management of poison cases.  Sherika Whitelocke-Ballingsingh, CARPIN Poison Information Coordinator, and Jean Johnson, Emergency Physician and Secretary of the CARPIN Management Committee, traveled from Kingston, Jamaica to Jacksonville, Florida February 19-22, 2012 to meet with a team of experts of the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center of Jacksonville (FPIC/Jax).  FPIC/Jax is a 24-hour poison emergency treatment and information resource for health care professionals and the public in the northern and eastern coastal counties of Florida.  Whitelocke and Johnson toured the facility with past FAVACA volunteer Dr. Jay Schauben, Director of the Center.  He recounted the center's 20-year history, detailed contributors and major stakeholders of the Center, explained certification, accreditation and reaccreditation for a poison control center, described the communication system and types of professionals needed at the poison center to offer quality services, and provided firsthand training on the database, which offers real-time information and can be accessed by various stakeholders.  A similar database for the Caribbean region would have a large impact on the public health system and increase research for health professionals.  The two volunteers met with the Education Coordinator and Media Relations to discuss public awareness programs, school education programs, trainings for mothers, babysitters, and volunteers on preventing poisonings in the home.  CARPIN was also offered an overview of the center's daily operations, emphasizing the policy, protocol and procedure manual that guides staff.  As a result of the meeting, CARPIN felt they needed to improve their manuals, especially in increasing quality of work from their staff. Lastly, Dr. Schauben arranged a call with the Executive Director for the American Association of Poison Control Centers Debie Carr, which resulted in the development a funding proposal for CARPIN and the Caribbean region.

JAMAICAN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS INCREASE CAPACITY AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Since 2000 the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) has been spearheading reform in deaf education through the implementation of a bilingual approach.  These efforts have been positively impacting the thirteen schools for the deaf on the island. To help implement this approach, FAVACA has been providing volunteers to the JAD for over ten years to guide implementation of a bilingual approach to deaf education. A national conference on deaf education was being held in Kingston and 150 deaf and hard of hearing persons were in attendance. To allow for full participation in the conference, JAD requested the help of FAVACA volunteers to provide translation services and sign language interpreting since the capacity of interpreters in Jamaica could not accommodate such a large conference. Nationally certified sign language experts Terri Bugler of Atlantic Beach, and Melanie Clemons of St. Augustine, traveled to Jamaica July 1-10 to work with JAD to increase the capacity of and confidence in the sign language skills of interpreters and teachers.  The volunteers were able to provide instruction on sign language linguistics, bilingual instruction, storytelling and behavior management.  As a result of this training, Jamaican interpreters' skills were upgraded to ensure their skills meet international standards.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS PREVENT GANG ACTIVITY

In May 2009, FAVACA in conjunction with United States Agency for International Development's Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) project and the US Department of State's Narcotics Affairs Sections in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic held a regional gang violence reduction strategy workshop and study tour. As a result, the Jamaican Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Constabulary Force identified the need to enhance the training of School Resource Officers (SROs) in crime prevention in schools, violence reduction, and the dismantling of gangs. SROs are police officers trained to operate in schools and provide assistance to leadership in dealing with incidents of violence, drugs, and gangs.

The SRO program is the link between crime prevention in communities and crime prevention in schools. FAVACA, the Ministry of National Security and COMET held the training in Ocho Rios, Jamaica September 24-27, 2009 to train best practices in dealing with the prevention of youth gang activities. First time volunteers, Ian Moffett and William Taggle, Miami, are Police Officers with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department along with first time volunteer Renee Parker, a Project Coordinator from the Miami Partnership for Actions in Communities Task Force (MPACT), provided three days of training to help SROs to recognize potential at-risk youth, methods to reduce gang presence in schools, and methods to involve the community in keeping schools safe from drugs and gangs. As a result of the training, over 20 SROs were trained from across the country who will in turn train SROs in their local communities.

4th ANNUAL POISON CONTROL CONFERENCE A SUCCESS IN JAMAICA

The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) is an organization with the goal of increasing awareness throughout the Caribbean on poison and poison prevention strategies. In order to achieve their goals, CARPIN embarks on a weeklong poison prevention campaign which includes a two day scientific conference. The theme for this year's conference is: "Are We Poisoning Ourselves?" CARPIN Program Manager Yvonne Reid contacted FAVACA to request several experts to present at the 4th annual scientific conference and to train staff members of CARPIN and Jamaican regulatory agencies in a variety of poison control and laboratory safety issues. FAVACA volunteer Bart Bibler of Tallahassee, Florida is the Bureau Chief at the Bureau of Water Programs for the Division of Environmental Health traveled to Kingston, Jamaica May 29-June 2, 2009 to provide a presentation on "Is the Water Safe" and to serve as a facilitator at a post-conference workshop with Jamaican regulatory agencies for safe water. Janice Dodge of Tallahassee, Florida is a Laboratory Safety Officer from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at Florida State University traveled to Kingston, Jamaica May 29-June 4, 2009 to also facilitate post-conference workshops as well as to provide training on laboratory safety to staff at CARPIN and Jamaican regulatory agencies.

GANG VIOLENCE REDUCTION STRATEGY AND TRANSNATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION WORKSHOP

FAVACA in conjunction with United States Agency for International Development's Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) project and the US Department of State's Narcotics Affairs Sections from Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic held a regional gang violence reduction strategy workshop and study tour May 5-7, 2009 at the Mayfair Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida. Security officials from Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well as US federal and Florida law enforcement agencies participated in the workshop aimed to help create gang violence reduction strategies in the region, enhance existing community policing programs, and discuss policies and procedures to help prevent, interdict, and suppress gangs. Participants included: Florida Attorney General's Office; Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney; National Gang Intelligence Center and Gang Tech; Florida Division of Victims Services; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); INTERPOL; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Miami-Dade Police Department; and Broward County Sheriff's Office. A study tour was conducted for regional participants who visited the Miami-Dade Police Department Gang Unit, a school gang prevention program, and a juvenile processing center. Law enforcement and other experts discussed transnational security, crime and gangs, the role of community policing in gang reduction, and regional cooperation between participating countries to combat gangs.

LOCAL NONPROFITS RECEIVE BOOST IN INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING, BOARD DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

The Family and Parenting Center (FPC) is a small nonprofit organization in Jamaica that ensures that facilities across the country are utilized for the empowerment of individuals, families and communities with psychological and social needs. FPC held a conference last December to address the issues of child protection and child safety in homes and communities by effectively changing the attitudes of parents and caregivers across the island especially through changing the ways parents and caregivers interact with children under their care. FPC has been able to recruit specialist in this field to provide lectures but are unable to afford to hold multiple events which have such a large impact on the community. Therefore, Dr. Beverly Scott, Director of the Family and Parenting Center, requested FAVACA experts to provide trainings on grant writing, fundraising and institutional strengthening to allow the FPC and other nonprofit organizations in Montego Bay to become more financially independent and provide more social services to the community at large. Veteran volunteers Terrie Temkin, Gail Metzler, and Robyn Fern Perlman all of Hollywood, Florida and the three principals of CoreStrategies for Nonprofits, Inc., as well as first time volunteer Bentonne Snay, of Miami, Florida also with CoreStrategies for Nonprofits, Inc. provided a week of workshops from March 29-April 4, 2009 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In order to further develop the community organizations in Montego Bay, the volunteers provided a series of lectures and activities on developing dialogues with the community and other stakeholders in order to more effectively inform them of the issues and work that organizations are providing, engaging boards to work on issues that will help move organizations forward by accomplishing their vision and creating leadership, building fundraising success through grant writing and other proven fundraising practices. Participants of the workshop included: St. James Family Court, Child Development Agency, Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), Child Evangelism Fellowship, Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, Children of Faith, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Pregnancy Resource Centre, Jamaican Ministry of Education, and the Citizen’s Associations in Western Jamaica. The FAVACA volunteers have invited Dr. Scott to visit Miami in a few months to follow up on the materials learned in the workshops and to review any grants that the FPC will develop from the new skills learned.

AUTISM GAINS PUBLIC ATTENTION IN JAMAICA.

In the past three years, the matter of Autism and developmental and mental health disorders has just begun to gain public attention in Jamaica; however, there is a major lack of knowledge on how to treat the issues relating to autism. In order to help deal with the growing public attention towards Autism, the formation of a support group, the Jamaica Autism Support Association (JASA), was created and has resulted in more persons (parents, caregivers, health and educational professionals) seeking information on the topic. Yet, the expertise in the field does not reside in Jamaica, especially in the field of Applied Behavior Management. Therefore, Monica Bartley of the Rotary Club of Kingston and JASA requested from FAVACA a technical volunteer who specializes in behavior management. Longtime volunteer, Amada Keating, a consultant for the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida traveled to Kingston, Jamaica July 17-20, 2008 to focus on assessing Kingston's ability to begin developing behavioral personnel to address the needs of behaviorally challenged children who have autism or other developmental and mental health disorders. Keating visited several facilities serving children with autism for an interchange of ideas relating to best practices on issues raised by service providers. While in Jamaica, Keating spoke at the annual autism conference on the topic of Applied Behavior and Analysis in Children with Autism. Over 100 professionals and families attended the conference Keating has since received many follow-up emails from participants inquiring about places in Florida to obtain supplies, intervention, training or materials while visiting. Many of the teachers and caregivers have also expressed their interest in implementing many of the new techniques from the presentations made at the conference.

KINGSTON COMES TOGETHER TO LEARN ABOUT AUTISM

Monica Bartley, Chairperson of the Disabilities Committee of the Rotary Club of Kingston requested FAVACA’s assistance in providing expertise in behavioral problems related to children with autism spanning childhood to adolescence. The goal was to recreate the widely successful and informative conference on Coping with Autism from April of last year. As the number of children with autism increases, the need to educate teachers, caregivers, and the general public about children with the disability becomes critical. Return volunteers Amanda Keating, Tampa, and Bobbie Vaughn, St. Petersburg, traveled June 14 - 17, 2007 to present at the Conference and consult with participant organizations and family members coping with autism. Keating is the coordinator of human services at the University of South Florida. Vaughn works with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida where she does research focusing on children with disabilities entering pre-kindergarten special education. More than 100 special education teachers, parents, caregivers and health professionals participated in the Conference.

GUNS GANGS AND GOVERNANCE ROUNDTABLE HELD IN JAMAICA

Recent studies have named crime and violence as the greatest threats to democracy and sustainable development in the Caribbean and are having a particularly debilitating effect on governance in Jamaica. USAID/Jamaica's Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) project, which works on crime and violence reduction and civil society capacity-building in select inner city communities, held the first of a series of roundtable discussions on Guns, Gangs, and Governance (G3) in Kingston on June 11-14, 2007 and was convened by Bertrand Laurent, Chief of Party, COMET, MSI in Jamaica. FAVACA President Carolyn Rose-Avila gave opening remarks at the event where participants discussed strategies to prevent gang violence. The roundtable is the beginning of a series of regional Caribbean meetings that aims to bring together both civic groups and a leadership from security enforcement agencies of the local governments to discuss solutions to rising gang and crime rates in inner city neighborhoods and begin exploring the regional linkages between them. FAVACA supported three participants which provided a regional perspective, including first time volunteers Commander Gary Eugene from the City of Miami Police Department, Jean Philippe Willem Bertin, Agent-4 and Media Coordinator for the Haitian National Police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Jacques Juvigny, Demilitarization, Demobilization, and Rehabilitation (DDR) Officer with the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization in Haiti. This first meeting focused on the problems being faced in Jamaica with the growing violence. The Haitian guests were there to learn about the circumstances in Jamaica and to share the circumstances they are confronting in Haiti. The FAVACA volunteers played a critical role in broadening the discussion amongst the Jamaican participants. Gary Eugene discussed the history of the Haitian immigrant population in South Florida and the growth of Haitian gangs. Jacques did an excellent presentation on the work that he is doing with the DDR in helping to neutralize gang activity in the urban neighborhoods of Haiti.

TOXICOLOGY CONFERENCE IN JAMAICA AIMS TO TAKE THE BURN OUT OF POISON

The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) is a multi sector initiative that was created in May 2005 to heighten awareness of poisons within households throughout the Caribbean. In an attempt to achieve this, CARPIN held its second annual Scientific Conference on poison control. Mrs. Yvonne Reid, the CARPIN Project Manager, looked to FAVACA for assistance in identifying and securing experts to speak on the four major issues: Air and Water Pollution; Food Poisonings; Occupational Hazards; and Food Poisonings. FAVACA was fortunate to identify an experienced expert team comprised of first-time volunteers Amy Hicks, Jeanie Dodge, and Gerred Pogge, all from the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at Florida State University. The team was also joined by another first-time volunteer and the Bureau Chief of Water Programs at the Florida Department of Health, Mr. Bart Bibler. From May 26 - 30, 2007, the qualified team conducted several lecture and training sessions that reached well over 100 participants and shined light on the identification and management of toxins found in nature, the household, and the workplace. Through this conference, CARPIN provided a valuable opportunity for national and regional collaboration among a wide cross section of professionals, individuals and organizations .

FLORIDA POLICE CHIEF RETURNS TO JAMAICA TO IMPROVE SCHOOL SAFTEY.

Chief Andrew Smalling Police Chief of Lauderdale Lakes traveled to Kingston, Jamaica November 20-22, 2006, to conduct a workshop on school safety techniques. Over 200 individuals participated, including school resource officers from inner city schools in Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay. The school safety training focused on physical security of school grounds, response to incidents, media relations, and a performance review of school resource officers that had been trained earlier in the year. Chief Smalling, originally from Jamaica, now resides in Tamarac, Florida. He is responsible for launching a school safety program in Lauderdale Lakes, which has a large Jamaican population. This program was also supported by Management Systems International and the United States Agency for International Development.
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