Launching Virtual and Live Youth Sustainable Educational Agriculture Program

Project Overview

Project Type: Education Only
Funds awarded in 2022: $50,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: The Center for Educational Growth
Region: Southern
State: U.S. Virgin Islands
Principal Investigator:
Sandra Cannon
The Center for Educational Growth
Sansara Cannon
The Center for Educational Growth
Shanika DeWindt
CaneCuttaz, Inc.
Vanessa Forbes
University of the Virgin Islands
Lisa Petersen


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: mentoring, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: apprentice/intern training

    Proposal abstract:

    CFEG Project offers virtual and in person learning to student over a two year period in order to provide the young people of the Virgin Islands an opportunity to learn about farming but also build a sustainable agriculture business. By offering teaching, training, internships, shadowing of individuals in the farm industry, and hands-on farming experiences in farming CFEG project intends to teach, train, and guide students through all of the following farming processes and topics: 

      • Effect of synthetics (all natural products used) 
      • genetic engineering
      • Mulching
      • Cover crops 
      • Irrigation plans 
      • Pasture and grazing management 
      • pesticides 
      • Technical and financial assistance
      • Best Farming practices and processes 
      • Cross Contamination and Pollination 
      • Soil amendments 
      • Soil lighteners 
      • Fertilizer 
      • Compost 
      • Fish emulsion 
      • Tilling 
      • Mulching
      • Pest Control  
      • Trap Cropping
      • Weed Control
      • Organic treatment
      • Certification
      • Organic Labeling
      • Water Systems
      • Permaculture
      • Sustainable Agriculture
        • Environmental stewardship (protecting the environment)
        • Financial viability (protecting farmers so they can sustain farms)
        • Social viability (protecting the community and the message around what is safe farming practices and how farming is important to do but also practice in a way that is safe and healthy to consumers and that sustains or grows economic development)
        • Holistic 
          • Productive 
          • Profitable
          • Enhance environmental resources 
          • Provide for the community 
          • Value added strategies 
          • Access to healthy food
          • Building resilient systems
          • Cooperation and collaboration with other sustainable farmers 
          • Investing in the future of agriculture 
      • Regenerative Agriculture 
          • Reverse climate change 
          • Rebuilding soil and organic matter
          • Using plants and animals to rebuild soil biodiversity
          • Teaching how soils really function 
          • Losing topsoils 
            • No tilling 
            • No synthetics 
            • Residue awareness 
            • Bio-diversity plant and animal diversity 
            • Confining animals v.s. grazing 

    CFEG will be working with other partners and actual farms in the Virgin Islands to show students how the industry works from industry experts, and how they can get involved in farming not only as a career but also as curators and cultivators of their own farming business. CFEG mission is to create a means for students to be able to grow into the future, teach their peers, and to influence the community in sustainable processes which will benefit the community and their future by allowing them to be the leaders who developed programs for protecting the environment and feeding the Virgin Islands as well as the Caribbean locally and organically. CFEG will also focus on the medical benefits that growing and sustainable agriculture can add to the students lives and the lives of their families. CFEG will document the students journey and work with students to share that journey for outreach to other students and the community about the importance of sustainable agriculture for the entire community. Examples of previous summer programs produced by CFEG and its partners are included below as examples of how CFEG runs its programs and how this project plans to expand on previously offered agriculture summer programs.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    1. establish a permanent marketing campaign for permaculture, sustainable and regenerative agriculture that targets young people and future generations of the Virgin Islands to become leaders and a part of their own agriculture systems 
    2. document and share the current and any existing permaculture, sustainable and regenerative agriculture systems in the Virgin Islands and CFEG's students participation in these systems and contributions to these systems 
    3. begin 5 new youth, minority, farm businesses or organizations that will be the property of young people and future generations of the Virgin Islands to become leaders and a part of their own agriculture systems 
    4. develop and share a working/mentoring network where resources are used and given to new farmers so continuous programs can be established to provide for sustainable agriculture  
    5. run a 2 year SARE funded agriculture program as a pilot and keep stats, analysis, and detail all processes done to prepare, implement, and complete program in a guideline to use for replicating the program and integrated the program into a permanent class and curriculum structure 
    6. develop annual curriculums that mirror the pilot program to be integrated into the school system and taught each semester starting with High School grades 9th-12th 
    7. expand the curriculum and adapt it to be taught in the middle school system to younger students 
    8. further expand the curriculum and adapt it to be taught in the lower school system to younger students 
    9. establish a permanent mentorship/apprenticeship program with young adult students and current farmers in at least 3 farms on each island 
    10. establish a competition with reward and investment which allows student to compete to establish agriculture technology and funds their idea and business so that new agriculture technology and programs are developed specifically by young people 
    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.