Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 36 - The Final Projects - Mandy and Mere

I know this is delayed, so I thank you for continuing to read about my experience at Creque Dam Farm. Now that my move to NYC is over I have my notebooks in hand again and can finish the blogs about R2R2009.

The culmination of our VISFI Ridge to Reef Beneficial Farmer Training Program is the completion and presentation of an individual project. Throughout the program we have seen evidence around the farm of the work of the previous class. These projects ranged from an herb garden to the landscaping design in front of the community center. I hope to see that area completed next time I visit. We were all eager to make our mark and contribute positively to the farm.

I have already posted the video I made for Judith and James' projects in Slow Foods, so I will move onto the next two; Mandy and Mere. Mandy and Mere chose the focus area of Agroecology and Organic Gardening.

Meredith Tully

The first presentation was from Mere. Mere and Mandy shared the cabana below mine, "guama." The area surrounding their cabana was bare, unlike the lush garden in front of my "conuco" cabana and the others across the cabanaland field.

Mere chose to take this space and turn it into a useful and productive bug-repelling garden. When you live in a cabana in the rain forest with only screens and slatted floors to protect you from the other woodland creatures you become acutely aware of the sheer number and variety of insects that exist. Mere researched the types of plants that are native to the region that can be used to repel insects either simply by growing there or by making a tincture or tea. She sprouted catnip and passion fruit vines and planted sour oranges, to name a few. Mere ran into some challenges with the soil and the locations of the water and power cables, but overcame these obstacles by changing her design to a mounded bed. I hope that the next inhabitant of that cabana cares for her babies.

Mandy Foskey-Jeffers

Mere's cabanamate, Mandy, presented her project on Thursday, with me, but I will explain it here because I grouped them together in my video of their projects.

Mandy chose to approach her demonstration of what she learned through a research and design project. She did an excellent presentation slideshow of her plans to landscape her backyard and I am happy to report that she has begun the implementation phase of her project back in Georgia. I'm proud of you, Mandy! Get the chickens!