Testing Vegetable Varieties in Tropical Conditions on St. Croix, USVI for Farm to School Crop Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $12,480.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2023
Grant Recipient: Virgin Islands Farmers Alliance
Region: Southern
State: U.S. Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Nate Olive
Virgin Islands Farmer Alliance

Information Products


  • Fruits: watermelon
  • Vegetables: carrots, cucurbits, greens (lettuces), tomatoes


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, seed saving, varieties and cultivars
  • Farm Business Management: farm-to-institution
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management

    Proposal summary:

    Investing in vegetable seed with high quality and improved subtropical traits will lead to higher yield, more appropriate varieties for the southern subtropical region, and minimize pest levels through integrated pest management (IPM practices). We also strive to find varieties that are drought tolerant during our hot and dry season.

    We plan to perform experimentally-sound vegetable trials on five vegetable types (tomato, pumpkin, cucumber, lettuce, and carrot) on four farm sites over the island using non-GMO seed varieties. We plan to analyze the production data (e.g. optimal grow time, environmental conditions, standard production practices, and pest monitoring records. We will make the final report available to the public and all farmers. Most importantly, these trials will help farmers reduce crop risk by growing non-GMO, subtropical seed and provide schools nutritional and culinary diversity.



    Project objectives from proposal:

    VIFA regularly relies on surveys, interviews, and hard data to evaluate programs. The success of our trial grows will be evaluated as follows:


    1. We plan to sit down amongst the participating farmers and consultants to discuss the best experimental design and how we can replicate plots on each farm to strength our results.
    2. We will consult with Lauren Giroux, Johnny's Seeds (Director of Product selection and Trialing, and Dr. Amy J. Dreves, crop management specialist, grant draft & printable advocacy material mentoring at University of the Virgin Islands, who will provide a data collection form to record germination rate, plant growth parameters (height, flowering and fruiting time, pest levels, and crop yield.
    3. We will document a periodic one-on-one verbal interview with the farmers who are participating in the seed variety trials to compliment the data collection .
    4. Surveys of and communication with farmers will be documented to determine how our efforts can be most helpful and collaborative with existing community-based efforts to support trial grow program.
    5. Annually, we will evaluate the project by getting feedback from farmer collaborators and school faculty partners, and consultants to assess limitations, successes, communication levels and vegetable production.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.