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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Organic Farming in Jamaica

The primary goal of organic farming is to create farms that are both economically successful and environmentally sustainable. In Jamaica, the establishment of the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM) in 2001 served as the catalyst for farmers throughout the country to go organic. For instance, with JOAM’s support, community members in Bluefields (in mountainous western Jamaica) formed the Bluefields Organic Farmers Group, which offers training and provides assistance for farmers wishing to convert to organic from more conventional farming methods.

Peace Corps volunteers in Jamaica, such as Patrick Marti, are working with local organizations and individuals like Brian Wedderburn and Raymond Martin. Their goal is not only to help inform the public about organic farming, but also to demonstrate how it may help sustain traditional Jamaican culture in the twenty-first century.

PARTICIPANTS

Patrick Marti, Jamaica, Peace Corps Volunteer
Patrick is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica as part of the Green Initiative program. In addition to his work promoting organic agriculture with local farmers, Patrick collaborates with local fishermen on marine conservation and teaches environmental education at the elementary and secondary levels.

Raymond Martin, Kingston, Jamaica
Raymond is the president of the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement and the former head of the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. He is an expert in organic agriculture and has given presentations and workshops on the subject across Jamaica.

Brian Wedderburn, Bluefields, Jamaica
Brian is a Rastafarian farmer and president of the Bluefields Organic Farmers Group. Brian, who has spent his entire life in Bluefields, also makes traditional Jamaican wood carvings, operates a small vacation cottage, and gives farm-based tours to visitors.

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