The Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute lists the remaining events of 2010 and many events planned for 2011.
December 2010 Remaining Events:
Creque Dam Farm Slow Down Dinner: at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. To reserve seats, sign up at vi.locallygrown.net
Volunteer Days: from 9-11 a.m. or 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30, Tuesdays and Thursdays. E-mail or call to let us know when you are coming to make sure it’s a day when farm staff is there. firstname.lastname@example.org / 230-220-0-GMO
VISFI new Web site design: see the new Web site design coming in a few weeks at visfi.org, courtesy of MyJive Inc.
St Croix's Online Farmer's Market: shop local for this year's holiday season. Order online at vi.locallygrown.net from Sundays to Tuesdays. Pick up is from 4:30-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the courtyard behind Polly's On the Pier, Frederiksted. Shop from several farmers at a time in the same place and support local agriculture.
Ridge 2 Reef Beneficial Farmer Training – Jan. 12 to March 12
Develop a practical skill set for creating productive agricultural communities while protecting the health of downstream ecosystems. Each resident in this small class will learn tested, profitable whole systems -- organic farming strategies that benefit connected communities of people, plants, animals and water life. Through hands-on farm projects ranging from solar power to permaculture design, resident farmers will study agricultural methods to move beyond sustainability, from watershed ridges to the famous Caribbean reefs. This program is the path for all 2011 apprenticeship positions.
Permaculture Design Certificate Course – Jan. 17-29
Are you looking for an empowering and sustainable way to create change in yourself, the land you live on, and your community? Permaculture is a design science rooted in the observation of natural systems. The principles of permaculture teach how to design ways of living that have the stability and resiliency of natural ecosystems. They show us positive solutions for creating and managing systems for food, medicine and building materials as well as relationships with ourselves, animals and our communities. Permaculture always keeps three ethics in mind: care of the Earth, care of people and sharing the surplus. (The fall semester 2011 dates are Sept. 7 to Nov. 9). visfi.org/cms/index.php/programs/permaculture
Art of Mentoring with Jon Young, Mark Morey and Evan McGown – Jan. 30 to Feb. 5
“At its best, the ‘Art of Mentoring’ helps individuals realize their full potential to the benefit of their community.”
What is Art of Mentoring? It is an acclaimed global nature-based experience that takes you from observation to practice through the fundamental elements that make up healthy mentoring relationships. While global in scope, it is local and authentic in application. It is musical, flavorful and powerful.
Each day in the program includes personal, group and inter-group activities peppered with inspirational storytelling, music and expression. Throughout the week, VISFI builds a village or relations around what it means and feels like to provide effective mentorship. Adults, parents, grandparents, teachers, students, outdoor educators, naturalists, farmers, permaculture fans and sustainable communities as well as visitors to and residents of the Virgin Islands should come to this program. visfi.org/cms/index.php/programs/mentoring
Bushskills Caribbean Rendezvous 2011 March 3-6
The fifth annual Bushskills will feature four days of hands-on learning about original life ways with nature. In four days learn useful skills starting with a foundation in basic survival on how to feast using all natural and primitive methods.
Thursday, March 4 - Primitive Survival Skills: The basics of tropical living -- fire, shelter, water, fibers
Friday, March 5 - Herbs and Trees: Medicines, herbalism, crafts and food
Saturday, March 6 - Hunting and Gathering: Making hunting tools, ethical hunting and fishing, gathering from wild plants and cultivated plants.
Sunday, March 7 - Food Day: How to grow and prepare an all-natural island feast -an all-day bush cook out
Some specific skills taught at bush skills: *Stone tools flint-knapping, shell craft, primitive pottery, tree fibers and food, fire by friction, jumbies, roots and ancestral song lines, forest foraging, spears and nets for fishing, hide tanning demonstration, herbal healing, calabash craft, wild edible plants, indigenous-root crop planting and other ancient agriculture techniques, primitive cookery, tracking, primitive shelter building visfi.org/cms/index.php/programs/skills2
Sierra Club Volunteer Vacation March 26 through April 2
In March the Sierra Club will stay at the farm and be a part of farm life and work for a week, and build a trail. The club’s mission is “to explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.” For more information on their trip itinerary, visit their Web site at sierraclub.org/outings/national/brochure/11405a.aspx.
April and May Open for new programs –contact program director Nate Olive at email@example.com.
May Pole Festival. Celebrate the month of May on the 1st hosted at Creque Dam Farm with a cultural dance around the May Pole. There will be quelbe music, dancers, food and drinks for sale, and children’s games. More details about this fun community event to come in the beginning of the new year.
Agroforestry – June 11-25
Earn hands-on college credit living on a Caribbean Organic Farm. The next study abroad course, Agroforestry in the Caribbean, is a 14-day intensive experience. Please visit this University of Georgia accredited course Web site at uga.edu/ecocarib. Three hours of college credit may be earned in either anthropology, ecology, forestry or crop and soil sciences. Any college student worldwide is eligible to apply. Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 course. Please contact VISFI to put your name on the list for the next available course.
Virgin Island Youth Service (Overland Summers: Grades 9-12) June 26 through July 1
Twenty-five-year old leaders in youth adventure trips Overland is continuing its third summer youth program on the VISFI campus. Virgin Islands Service offers the unique chance to see the Caribbean as few people ever do -- by serving its communities and ecosystems in need. Our volunteer work in the U.S. Virgin Islands will have a real impact on its warm people and gorgeous surroundings. As we work hard for three weeks in a small, spirited group (no more than 12 students or fewer than two leaders) in this island setting, we’ll grow closer as a group and have lots of fun in the process. For more details go to
Youth Empowerment Summer Day Camp (YES Camp) June 28 through July 30
VISFI announces a new day camp opportunity this summer for youth ages 12-16 to be engaged in a program that is focused on youth empowerment. The Natural Mentors YES camp, Natural Mentors is an award-winning youth heritage program with the purpose of increasing empowerment and sparking a heritage renaissance among youth in the Virgin Islands. Each weekly camp will teach hands-on empowerment skills like organic farming, survival skills, music, dance and storytelling. Junior mentors will document these performances and help the younger camp members produce a community presentation on the Friday of every week. This presentation will be held in downtown Frederiksted.
Program Components: *Safety and Supervision by trained staff, mentoring skill development, music and singing, training in sustainable food systems, tours of the Frederiksted heritage zone with CHANT, organic gardening, nature exploration, healthy food and lifestyle atmosphere, harvesting of V.I. locally grown food, empowerment Workshops, youth leadership training as well as healthy, whole grain and organic snacks and lunches (no school lunches!), self-expression and ‘nuff respect. There are many scholarships for this program. Just ask. visfi.org/cms/index.php/programs/yescamp
August Open for new programs –contact program director Nate Olive at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Octtober/November/December Open for new programs –contact program director Nate Olive at email@example.com.
Farmstays – Have a weekend retreat or longer vacation like none other at the Green Globe and organic certified Creque Dam Farm. Camp out, rent a cabana or go luxury with the Hawk’s Nest ($85, $500 per night for two). Minimum stay is three nights, and a meal plan is available. Starts April 2011. See
Work Internships - VISFI is seeking hardworking individuals interested in gaining practical experience in organic gardening, construction, tourism or sustainable systems for its internship program. Volunteers will be required to work 30 hours per week in exchange for guidance and housing. The program costs $150 per month to cover meals. A two-month commitment is required. Internships require past experience and are highly competitive. firstname.lastname@example.org
Program and Event Hosting now available at VISFI -open dates. Did you know that VISFI has opened its doors to hosting special events, educational programs, business/family retreats and multi-day workshops? Find out about how you can make your event or program truly memorable and unique by holding it at our 100+ acre campus and sustainable facilities. For local requests, contact email@example.com.
Volunteer Days Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9-11 a.m. and 2-5 p.m. Be sure to call or e-mail the days you would like to help out to make sure it’s a day that farm staff is there. E-mail Shelli at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ridge to Reef Farm line at 220-0466
Formation of Ridge to Reef Farm, November 2010. Nate Olive, the program director of VISFI, has leased his own farm acreage within the Creque Dam Farm land area, called Ridge to Reef Farm. His farm will provide St Croix with certified organic produce, and be used as training grounds for students of the Ridge to Reef Beneficial Farmer Training Program that begins in January. In addition, as of December 2010, Nate Olive will lead the 2011 farm management team of Creque Dam Farm and VISFI. If there are any inquiries about current programs or bringing new programs to the 2011 calendar, contact him at email@example.com.
Green Island Weddings. Green wedding packages are now available at Ridge to Reef Farm in the Creque Dam farmland area. Choose from six different ceremony locations. From a simple site rental to full packages, from wedding rehearsal dinners to morning-after breakfasts, the farm is an ideal location for green weddings in the rain forest of St Croix. On site wedding coordinators will take care of all your needs and on site wedding plans. To see packages visit experiencevi.com and click on the page for green weddings or click on this link experiencevi.com/Green_Weddings.html to take you straight to the webpage.
Bryan "Busha" Green is an agricultural consultant with extensive experience in organic production farming, agro-forestry, farm design and establishment of bio-regional food security systems. Bryan assists in farm startup operations around the globe. His career has taken him throughout the world, including organic mountain farm consulting in the Philippines, organic potato farming in Maine and management of a 200-acre diversified organic farm in New Mexico. He guided the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute through a holistic management process that helped shape their award winning programming. Bryan has a Bachelors of Science in Horticulture and Plant Science from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Science in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Science with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Maine. Bryan will be a primary instructor and student advisor for the Ridge to reef beneficial farmer training course, permaculture, and more to come as he works with Ridge to Reef Farm at VISFI for the 2011 program season.
Jessica Ewers, a past student from the Ridge to Reef program, visfi.org/cms/index.php/programs/R2R_beneficial_farming/ , has returned to begin her own farm in the Creque Dam Farm land area. With her experience in organic agriculture and focus on top quality produce, soon St Croix will have more available hearty greens, vegetables and fruits from which to choose. As she begins to build her farm and as her first set of seedling have just sprouted, the staff at the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute extends a warm, loving welcome and support to Jessica as she embarks on this journey of owning her own farm. Visit St Croix’s online farmers market at vi.locallygrown.net where you can stay up-to-date on Jessica’s available harvest for sale. It may be as soon as the first week of December.
Shop online on St Croix’s Online Farmers Market, from Sundays to Tuesdays, and pick up your groceries on Wednesdays at the market square behind Polly’s On The Pier in Frederiksted. The more you support local agriculture, the more farmers can provide St Croix with top quality produce and products. Every week, there are new postings of produce in season as well as perennials. You can shop from several farmers’ inventories at the same time. Visit the Web site vi.locallygrown.net to shop in time for next week’s market pick up. Now is the time to begin experimenting and learning local dishes using local ingredients. vi.locallygrown.net