As determined by the U.S. Virgin Islands SARE Advisory Council, the 2019-2020 Model State Program will focus on three areas of educational priority that will advance agricultural sustainability in the territory. The professional development activities are designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders and will build upon progress made during previous years.
During the (2017-2018) and 2018-2019 implementation periods trainers participated in food safety educational activities. However, there is need for on-going training on this topic as we continue to focus on safeguarding consumer health and protecting the economic viability of producers. In addition to general education, the food safety training proposed in this document will emphasize safety issues in value added processing and preparing farmers for on farm inspections.
Stakeholders continue to express their interest in learning about organic farming principles and practices. However, the USVI Professional Development Program initiatives have not focused on organic farming for more than ten (10) years. Thus, 2019-2010 implementation period will provide updated technical training on this subject.
The third area of the training program will focus on education regarding the sourcing and proper incorporation of locally available agricultural inputs. Outreach staff are routinely responsible for responding to requests for recommended products and their proper incorporation into production systems that would protect human health and environmental resources.
Project objectives from proposal:
The objectives for the 2019-2020 MSP proposal included increasing knowledge, awareness, and behavioral change in the following areas:
•Regional Network Capacity Building for Sustainability and Security
• Farmers’ Market Food Safety
•Pollinator Identification and Population Management
In an effort to build upon previous training initiatives, the objectives for the proposed 2019-2020 MSP proposal are to increase knowledge, awareness, and behavioral change in the following areas.
• Sourcing and Use of Farm Inputs in Sustainable Agricultural Practices
• Food Safety Training
• Principles and Practices of Organic Farming