Home Lifestyles Food and Wine VISFI Offers Ridge to Reef Sustainable Farming Pathways Course

VISFI Offers Ridge to Reef Sustainable Farming Pathways Course

The Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute’s Ridge to Reef Sustainable Farm offers a winter course, Empowering Community, which is meant to present to participants some of the physical and social skills needed for organic community empowerment and to help them realize and shape a nurturing place. The goal is to help them to connect with nurturers in their home communities, i.e., your natural mentors. These five weeks are designed to challenge the mind and body by living in an interconnected community including the farm, neighbor, and island families.
You will experience the pros and cons of living off-grid in a relatively self-contained system while you participate in Community Supported Agriculture, Farm-to-Table "Slow Food" meals, Urban Community Gardening, and more (see bullet list below). The course includes a cast of expert instructors over five island-intensive weeks of experiential education and guidance lectures while participants reside at the organic Ridge to Reef Farm on St. Croix. apply now website
Choose from four Seasonal Pathways or take them all:
  • Winter: Empowering Community (Jan. 22 – Feb. 25, 2012, PDC certificate)
  • Spring: Organic Agroforestry Intensive (May 12 – May 26, 2012; potential college credit)
  • Summer: Path of the Natural Mentor (June 16 – Aug. 12, 2012);
  • Fall: Journey into the Food Forest (Oct. 7 – Nov. 11, 2012, PDC certificate)
· Empowering Community: Jan 22- Feb. 25 (five weeks) Learn to realize your community through natural mentors and the art of mentoring. Gain gritty skills for providing for basic needs and how to link to your community through an enhanced connection with nature and agriculture.
· Solar Power – Learn to maintain and set up basic solar system while you live in 100 percent solar power systems
· Permaculture Design – Earn a certificate in permaculture design consultancy
· Small Farm Agritourism -Learn the trade of on-farm tourism for economic diversity and stability
· Art of Mentoring – Featuring renowned author and naturalist Evan McGown
· Annual Organic Vegetables – Learn the basics of producing organic local food
· Deep Ecology –Explore the theory of how we fit into this world
· Slow Food -With top local chefs, on-farm guest dinners and group cook daily meals
· Community Gardening –Work on a live community garden while service learning
· Primitive Skills – The art of surviving and thriving while care-taking nature
· Tuition is $3,200 (includes food, lodging and program fees for five weeks; scholarships are available only for Virgin Islands residents)
· To register: Apply Now
· Ridge to Reef Pathways 2012
· We would like to formally dedicate 2012 to the life and spirit of Ellen Elizabeth Nettles, who followed her passion in sustainable agriculture
· Imagine what you want your home community will look like 5, 10, 50, or 100 years from now. Do you see a vibrant local food culture? Clean water for families and wildlife? An environment marked by safety and peace? Opportunities to make a living in ways that are in line with ethics of fairness, justice, and peace? If so, now is the time to return to learning basic human skills that can lead us through the future. Take the Ridge to Reef Challenge: Start small, in a single watershed, and work outward from there. If you can save your watershed, together we can improve the quality of life on Earth. Join us this year in the Caledonia Watershed at Ridge to Reef Farm for one or all four seasonal Pathway courses to create a sustainable future.
· Ridge to Reef Sustainable Farming Pathways are experiential education courses for aspiring organic growers, naturalists, community mentors, slow foodies, holistic living system designers and all those interested in sustainable living. This course is centered around food production but is about much more in the total picture of sustainable living. Become an integral part of St. Croix’s small island food system and learn how to take it home with you. Develop a practical skill set out of inspiring action projects. Experience living systems centered around growing and sharing food with care.
· Participants are engaged with experiential learning service activities that apply course materials while helping provide the islands’ only local source of certified organic produce. Learn to be a part of the entire process of your food. Take one seasonal course or the entire series. Open to beginners and all levels of experience.
· Each week features a progressive theme of hands-on farming activity lessons and off-site nature and culture immersion experiences such as interpretive hiking from mountain ridge to coral reef in the Caledonia watershed and helping establish an urban community garden. Daily core routines include animal and plant care taking, group cooking and class meeting sessions. Ample free time is provided for self-directed study and island exploration.
· Want to go deeper? Consider these apprenticeships*
· Ridge Walker Apprenticeship Program (5 1/2 months: Fall+Winter): Take the fall and winter seasonal programs together and a natural mentor apprenticeship in between. Includes discounted rates and payback program. Has a theme of food production and returning to the land for sustenance and community strengthening. Earn back up to $2,400 with interim apprentice farm work between programs for $3,550 total.
· Village Keeper Apprenticeship Program (4 1/2 months: Spring+Summer): Take the seasonal programs together and a guided apprenticeship in between. Includes discounted rates and payback program. Has a theme of community forestry and creating a mentoring culture as a middle mentor around food and nature awareness. Earn back up to $1,200 with interim apprentice farm work between programs for $3,300 total.
· *Only Ridge to Reef Pathways participants are eligible for payback program

· Other Upcoming events:
· Pig Roast with Smokies Farmland Band 12/30
· Permaculture Design Certificate Intensive 1/22-2/2
· Permaculture II Workshop (local weekend PDC series) 1/28-1/29
· Bush Skills March 1-4
· Bush Chef March 4
· Also, we want to welcome back Patrick Boulger, our new CSA farm manager. Let us know if want to pre-register for a CSA membership.
· Ridge to Reef Farm
· VIrgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute
· PO Box 2903
· Frederiksted, USVI 00841


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