Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force Digs in
by: Javene SkyerS Observer staff reporter email@example.com
Monday, September 12, 2016
The Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Taskforce, in its efforts to promote sustainable and organic farming, will be providing training for farmers starting next month through a partnership with the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM) and other organic farming stakeholders in the island.
According to Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board member for the West/Midwest Region USA and agriculture task force lead, Kimone Gooden, the task force’s goal is to push the organic movement through not only farming practices but education targeted around the health and economic benefits of farming organically.
The task force’s first major project was the hosting of an organic farming workshop which was conducted at this year’s Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon last month.
“The next big project is creating an organic farming accelerator. We are selecting farmers to participate in a one-month training program at Source Farms in St Thomas, where after they are trained they get mentorship…and trainers come and evaluate their own farms. After they get to their first harvest we see if they are ready for certification, sponsor certification and connect them to markets,” Gooden told the Jamaica Observer via a telephone interview yesterday, following the conclusion of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference Call.
She stated that the one-month training slated for an initial 15 farmers, to begin in January 2017, will be preceded by Organic Farming sensitisation workshops to be held by JOAM commencing next month. Gooden explained that this would not only provide a foundation but also help to look at the possible success of the first set of farmers selected to be trained in January.
The Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force is one of several task forces established by Jamaicans living abroad who want to give back to the country. According to Gooden, this is largely facilitated through the monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) Jamaica Diaspora Conference Calls started in 2014 by then West/Midwest Region USA member, Leo Gilling mainly to connect Jamaicans abroad who were a part of the Education task force.
She said she continued the calls when she took over the post in 2015, which have now grown to include input from the technology, agriculture and crime and intervention task forces which have since been established.
“Each project team works offline on a project and the goal of the call is to get what’s happening, so usually there is an agenda and then we have an open round table,” Gooden explained.
She stated that there is no formal membership process needed to join in the calls, as the aim is getting together more Jamaicans abroad, interested in giving back, involved on the different Task Forces and to contribute where they can. Individuals interested in the conference calls and task forces can find more information at
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