Friday, July 30, 2010

Culebra dog, Maine farmers

Culebra's well known dog Frank, gets adopted!! The following is from Terrie Hayward, one of the tireless workers for Animal Welfare on Culebra, explaining Frank's health care and adoption. Whodda thunk it?!

"Frankie has been in AWC care in "foster care" for about 5 months while he recovered from parasites & heartworm. He also got neutered & got all of his vaccines up to date.
We work with several other rescue organizations on the big island of PR as well as several spots in the states & Frank's new family had found him originally on a website of one of our partners.
The Boston rescue group did the home visit for us & his new "parents" Kate & Matt have another older pup, Scarlett, who is a Boston Terrier.
He arrived safely last night & was snuggled up next to Kate in the car heading home. She took today & tomorrow off to get to know Frankie & welcome him to their family!  A GREAT happy ending!!"

Frankie? Wow, he really DOES have a new life! Much thanks to Terrie, as well as all involved in getting Frank healthy and into a new home, and congratulations, Kate and Matt, on your new sato! Here's hoping Frank and Scarlett become great friends, as well as our best wishes for all of you on this new adventure. Well done, all around. Applause! Though I have to say...I will miss Frank snarfing around the cart...

Last night we went to see a wonderful documentary called 'Meet Your Farmer' (the link will take you to a site where you can watch too!), a series of vignettes with various Maine farmers around the state. There were older farmers and younger ones, small farmers and others not so small, but none huge. It was a powerful demonstration of the tenacity of these people to perserve a way of life that is hard but incredibly rewarding. All of them are associated with the, Maine Farmland Trust a group that works to preserve the land for farmers to continue doing what they do best, in the best of ways; that is to say, organically, with respect for the land and the people who consume their goods. We could learn a lot from them. If you are interested, here is a pretty interesting and in depth look at what is happening in Puerto Rico regarding organic farming. PR is held up as an example of what NOT to be doing, despite the hard work and dedication of a handful of hardworking farmers on the big island.

"Currently, five organizations on the island with a total of about 150 regular participants, promote ecological agricultural practices. They have established farmers’ markets and other direct marketing opportunities, organized workshops on organic techniques, and created a channel to lobby for government support for organic development. Yet, there are only about 10 career growers that avoid agro-chemicals and depend on agricultural sales for at least 25 percent of income. Another 20 or so retirees and hobbyists with interest in organics own farms but do not depend on farming for their livelihood. Young organic enthusiasts are pursuing careers based on providing training or landscaping services rather than producing food. Despite numerous advantages, organic production in Puerto Rico is negligible at best.

Surprised? In spite of the potential, farmers are not being helped by the current government, which would rather take away farming land and build...well, you know.

"The lack of organic production in Puerto Rico is especially curious considering that other Caribbean countries are investing in organic production to take advantage of premium prices and growing international markets. The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Guatemala are leading regional organic producers of both traditional tropical commodities like coffee, bananas, cacao, and sugar and nontraditional commodities like counter-seasonal vegetables. Organic production is also growing in Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname (Raynolds 2000; Yussefi and Willer 2002). Worldwide, a recently released report found that “organic agriculture is practiced in almost all countries of the world, and its shares of agricultural land and farms is growing everywhere” (Yussefi and Willer 2002: 9). 

A tomato from my garden (it can be done!)
The article goes on to make some pretty fascinating links between American involvement in creating a 'landscape of consumption' in Puerto Rico to achieve its own purposes. Well, read it for yourselves, if you like. I personally find it yet another underlying way of understanding the place I live, but even more particularly, Puerto Rico the big island and its many sometimes puzzling aspects as to the how and why of things. It's long and it is complex, but if you have a desire to understand more than you might right now about US/PR history and why some things are as they are today, this article is well worth the time invested. For another, somewhat more positive facet of the organic farmer aspect, check out this link from five years ago. 

In the meantime, I've gotten re-excited about gardening in a more methodical fashion when I get back to Culebra. More food, more bettah!

Have a growing fine Friday! Do something fruitful.

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