Freedom! Can you Imagine?
"Imagine what it would be like to be free!" This is the kind of perspective our forefathers and mothers had to inspire within their community before they would get up, stand up, and fight for their basic rights as humans who may shape their own destiny. We see this in the American Independence Day celebrated this week.
We also see it for the lesser known July 3rd event, known as Emancipation Day. On this day in 1848, 30,000 Crucians led by "General Buddhoe" marched to Frederiksted, demanded and received freedom from slavery, a full 15 years before slaves were declared free in the US.
I imagine that for many in that day it must have been very hard to see a vision of freedom ahead, but clearly, when they did on a community-wide scale, it was not only possible despite the odds, it became inevitable.
So I ask you now to:
Imagine what it will be like to have a strong local & sustainably grown food system in place in the USVI.
Imagine the USVI once again creating an example of freedom for other places like the US, by paving the way with a secure, sovereign food supply.
Imagine the fish returning to the reefs.
Imagine nature improved by agriculture verses being destroyed by it.
Imagine your family's health improving and the children in the USVI receiving the nutrition needed for healthy development, with real food that also helps reduce allergies and other avoidable physical and mental illnesses.
Imagine us as a culture that treats our food with thoughtfulness and respect.
All of this makes me wonder something else. How did over 40,000 residents on one island get by without food imported from all corners of the world? I'm just sayin. Imagine.
Speaking of imagination, we have had to come up with some quick solutions to replace some significant vegetable losses in our main production area, primarily to deer and the extreme dryness in the past month. The okra, cucumbers, beans, and even some peppers were practically decimated by the deer, also driven by their own thirst and hunger in dry times.
As a result of our recent losses, you will see more amounts of our "hero" crops and value-added products and more young and tender sprouts and microgreens as we have moved towards smaller rapid-crops that are not placed in the field and fruits that are more resilient to harsh conditions. We still have more tricks up our sleeve.
There is a lot of work to this, and we appreciate any volunteer help you may be able to offer. Even if you could come read a book in our garden, that would help repel the deer just with your presence!
Yes, I can imagine. And it looks like now.
Moringa leaves in the farm's solar dehydrator.
WTF (What's That Food)?
This week's strange food item: Moringa leaf powder
Moringa is making its way into people's heads and shopping carts due to its super powers. At Ridge to Reef Farm we harvest the leafs, pods and flowers. The leafs are dried in our solar dehydrator for a few days depending on how cloudy or sunny it is. After that it is ground and filled into bags to protect it from moisture.
How to use it:
Moringa leaf powder is as easy to use as the Moringa tree's flowers. Generally Moringa leaf powder can be added to any food or beverage and it will increase the vitamin, mineral and protein content. Just add a few spoonfuls of the powder after your meal is prepared, just before serving. Like this the nutrient content will not be decreased by expsosing it to heat.
It is also possible to use it in tea. It is said that it helps gain energy, clean your system and lose weight. Try it out and tell us your results. :)
Mustard Greens/ Chaya in white wine sauce
Mustard Greens/ Chaya
Cook shallots with garlic, turmeric, black pepper and sea salt in pan. Brown the bottom of the pan with that.
Add white wine to make it a sauce and stir to consistency. Then add mustard greens or boiled (for 10 minutes) shredded Chaya. Toss in sauce and cover until the desired tenderness is reached. 5 minutes before taking off the lid, add more white wine to cook off.
Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Meet the farmers...
The first group of really awesome kids have said good-bye to move on with their summer camp program at another location on the island. It has been a pleasure to have had the young farmers here. We give lots of thanks, too!
From the field...
Basil, Papaya, Chaya, Banana, Malabar Spinach, Peppers, and Moringa are the heroes of this season. They are holding their head high and proud, facing the summer heat and bearing fruit.
Many other crops are not able to adapt that easily or it is simply not their season like for example tomatoes or cucumbers. Chances are that if you find these crops at the moment sold as local in the territory, they are not grown organically.
Speaking about drought and having a bad stomach feeling about the following weeks, the rain seems to come back and farmers can exhale for a moment. The past two days we had some awesome showers. Short but powerful. It lets us hope there will be some relief to the tough growing conditions this summer.
~ Nadja, former apprentice
PO Box 2903 - Frederiksted USVI 00841 - www.visfi.org - firstname.lastname@example.org - 340 220 0466
Ridge to Reef Farm @ the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute
Farmer of the Week
Kayla Sinotte, our current Ridge to Reef student, has been a great mentor for the summer camp kids! Side by side with every other man she has also been sweating in the heat of the summer sun learning how to work the fields.
The Week's Harvest
Moringa leaf powder
We need your help, we need your hands!
Volunteer at Ridge to Reef Farm
Farming with a small crew trying to provide organic and local food for a big community isn't always easy. You can help us by joining our VOLUNTEER days every Saturday from 7:30 am to 11:30 am. A group cooked lunch with mostly ingredients from the farm will be the reward for hungry farmers and gives the opportunity to lean back and relax.
Bring your family, bring your friends and enjoy spending time in nature, having fun by being part of a great vision. We gladly welcome every person who finds the way up to the farm!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Polly's at the Pier Frederiksted, St. Croix
Barefoot Buddha Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Thurs 11:30am-1:30 pm
Miriam's Restaurant Christiansted, St. Croix
Sun 4 -5:30pm
M2M (member to member)
We invite you to take part in the creation of our weekly newsletters.
Share your recipes and pictures, your experiences with the R2R Farm or your thoughts on sustainable farming matters.
We then will do our best to fit it in and share it in one of our upcoming newsletters.
We look forward to your responses!
Got some things laying around we can re-use in the CSA
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).