Richmond Vale

A life-changing garden

garden Richmond Vale Academy selected ten homes in the community of Chateaubelair to develop organic gardens in their backyards
Many of the high school students who are close to finishing their studies have a big question in their minds: What do I want to do after this? That was also the question asked by Aster Davis, a young man from Chateaubelair who suddenly found the perfect answer to that question in the most simple way. During his last weeks of high school, Richmond V...
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Richmond Vale

Why do an Erasmus program in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Front-erasmus-turkey-lithuania Erasmus+ Volunteers in Richmond Vale Academy from Turkey and Lithuania!
People coming from Europe have a very unique opportunity to see how the developed world is impacting on developing countries, particularly small island nations like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This can clearly be seen in Saint Vincent because there is such a huge change in the climate and all across the country we can see the devastation that...
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Richmond Vale

Art for social transformation

frontimage Painting a mural in the local Petit Bordel School in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Art is a tool that allows us to communicate and express different opinions. During the month of April 2018, our intention was to inspire and strengthen the relation between people and nature. This is what we hoped to achieve while painting a mural in the local Petit Bordel School in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. At the same time, we carried out...
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Richmond Vale

We plant trees

treeplanting Tree planting action at Richmond Vale academy, St. Vincent
Tree planting actions and awareness campaigns are an important part of Richmond Vale Academy's curriculum. We partner with many different stakeholders in order to plant the most beneficial trees in various projects. We plant shade trees with schools, fruit trees in communities, give away moringa seedlings for personal backyards, plant mangroves on ...
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Joost, Germany: Everyone can make a change

joost Joost, Germany: Everyone can make a change
As my team arrived in St. Vincent and at the Richmond Vale Academy, we decided pretty early that we want to assist in re-establish a farmers market in Chateaubelair, a little village on the North-Leeward side of the main Island of St. Vincent. As there were attempts to build up a farmers market before we came to St. Vincent, which ultimately failed...
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Richmond Vale

Richmond Vale Academy establishing "Pass it On” home gardens in the community

pass-it-on-homegardens Students at RVA taking part in the project
In 2016, Richmond Vale Academy, an alternative school centered on climate change, began to establish "Pass it On" home gardens in the community of Chateaubelair, North Leeward. The goals of the "Pass it On" home garden project are many: (1) teach members of the community how to grow their own food using the principles of permanent agriculture or "p...
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Rebels of the Caribbian

rebels-of-carebian-front
We don't generally think of the Caribbean as a place of suffering and vulnerability. However, Stina Herberg and Selwyn Patterson, who are fund raising to attend the CCC19 conference at Findhorn, live on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent where each day they experience the truth of the Caribbean's defencelessness against climate change. They have s...
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Richmond Vale

Belair Government School Visiting RVA

Today, 6th-grade students from Belair Government school came all the way to Richmond to visit our Campus! It is always a little adventure and a great learning experience for everyone, for the school as much as for us here at RVA! Heather gave a presentation about living at RVA, our programs, the home-garden projects and of course about climate change. After a quick lunch with a view of the volcano and St Lucia, we divided into smaller groups and all the students from the Climate compliance March team and Fighting with the poor team became tour guides for the day! In another Kind of School we want to live a sustainable life, so we try to be pioneers and to build example projects. Showing our sustainability projects to 10-12 year olds taught us RVA students how to keep things simple and exciting!  We showed them our solar panels, the biogas station, the new Permaculture Kitchen Garden, our Chicken Hotel, the Water collection system, Our Organic Gaden, the Compost system, the Fruit Forest, the Pigs, and even a little visit to the Horses! Seeing how enthusiastic and excited the students were about the visit made us very happy :) We love showing our other kind of school to many interested kids and to inspire them to change the World! Such a positive feedback made us smile: "This is a little...
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Richmond Vale

Shoulder to Shoulder

Development Instructors in The Fighting with The Poor Program at Richmond Vale Academy have the opportunity to work in the the HPP Child Aid Project in Belize.  The idea with the Child Aid project is to fight poverty hand in hand with the people of Toledo District and secure that every child can grow up to his or her fullest potential. The project will build capacity in the people in the project. The families will work with activities within 10 lines. 1,000 families will be reached directly through their enrollment in the project and many more will be reached through common activities via the schools, open days and activities in the communities. Child Aid Toledo was launched in December 2007. Together with a dedicated staff and local and international volunteers many activities have taken place since then. The main activities have been establishment of youth clubs, construction of latrines, implementation of income generating activities, planting Moringa trees, raising chickens, organic vegetable gardens, implementation of cacao and coffee organic farming, women groups with activities to produce pineapple jam, rugs and craft, HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, construction of firewood saving stoves, Global warning courses and much more. The Project’s situation Belize’s population is estimated as being approximately 324,000. Belize’s small private enterprise economy is highly dependent on commodity exports, tourism, and increasingly on petroleum since an oilfield discovery in...
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Richmond Vale

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project

RVA launches Pass-It-On Model Garden Project
Richmond Vale Academy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Chatoyer Garden, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund, will launch its home garden project today, June 5. The launch takes place at Richmond Vale Academy beginning at 13.00 with tour of the organic gardens and is open to the public. The Pass-It-On Model Garden Project aims to build the capacity of the local communities to live more sustainably, cost effectively and healthily by creating model gardens for families (or farmers) and for people to pass-on what they have learnt, to inspire others to start their own gardens. This project uses crop diversification and organic principles of production as a means of adapting to the effects of climate change while also using agriculture as a means of environmental protection. [caption id="attachment_11062" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The project teaches participants to cultivate food on small plots of land, without the use of chemicals. Using this model, a household or a farmer can use 800 square feet of land (a plot measuring 20 x 40 feet) to produce 130 heads of lettuce every two months along with 36 roots of chives soon after. Two intensive vegetable garden beds can produce okra, eggplant and hot peppers are other vegetables. An animal component can consist of a coup for raising two rabbits or layer five layer...
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Richmond Vale

My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon

My 6 months in Ecuador by Ammon
By Ammon  During the last six months working as Development Instructor in Ecuador we have worked with Humana Pueblo a Pueblo on many different projects as well as our own personal projects as Development Instructors. We are here as a team of 3 DIs from Richmond Vale Academy as part of the Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor program. During my time here as a development instructor I have worked in the Community of Opoluca which is part of the district Paltas or Catacocha. I have worked with Humana to develop organic home gardens, compost production, and organic pesticides as well as working with large garden parcels and distributing saplings and seeds to the families in Opoluca. I myself have also given English classes as well as various other classes in the school as well as my personal project of building water filters to recycle water for use in gardens. In the Barrio of Opoluca we work with 40 families in total. Around 30 of the families have organic gardens and the rest of the families either raise pigs or chickens. I only work directly with the gardens. We focus on making the gardens an integral part of the family’s everyday life and everyday diet. I focused on teaching the basics of seeding, planting and maintaining a garden. The families have knowledge about plants because...
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My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon

My personal Project in Ecuador by Ammon
Building Water Recycling filters in Ecuador   By Ammon  During the past six months working in a rural farming community in southern Ecuador I worked with many projects and working closely with many families. In the first three months I looked to see what projects that could really make a big difference in the community. Looking for what problems caused the biggest trouble and in what ways I could apply my own skills to work with the people here. Many of the rural communities where I was working consistently struggled with water shortages. The government has fairly reliable systems for distributing water but even when systems work perfectly stores of water can fall very low during the dry season. Many families pay for an extra service that is a couple dollars a month for the firefighters to deliver water by truck to overcome the water shortages. The main project that I worked on in this community was building small organic gardens with the families and teaching how to maintain them. One of the obvious parts of maintaining a garden is watering it. Many people where hesitant to seed and maintain their home gardens because they are worried that they will not have enough water for other household tasks such as washing dishes, and clothes, and even drinking water. Because transporting more water is already difficult one...
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Shape the garden – Shape the Future

Shape the garden – Shape the Future
Mandala Garden Project at Chateu Primary School by the Climate Team “Performance team”: that is how they call us. No matter what we take, eventually we will get the best out of it. After going through so much together, having so many discussions and inside jokes, we are unstoppable. Let me introduce you with our latest project in Saint Vincent. There is a school, up in the mountains called “Chateu primary school”. They decided that it would be nice to have a vegetable/fruits garden nearby. Thus, we are there to help to realize their idea. I would like to emphasize one more time that we are there as contributors rather than leaders. It feels good to be part of this project since children can benefit from it: the headmaster mentioned that gardening can be included into curriculum. Also, we are glad that after we leave the Richmond Vale Academy a living garden stays behind. The first step was to make a plan for the garden. Jorge and I came up with design for it. And after measuring the land, Vanessa made a precise scheme of it. The second step : decide on plants, trees and herbs we want to have there. As some humans, some plants go along better, flourish nearby others. For this reason, we have met with Luke, the master of organic gardening and...
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Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 2 by Sara
Welcome back! This is part 2 of a short blog series about my team’s tree planting project with several communities in Saint Vincent. In part 1 I described our focus on working with community groups rather than individuals or institutions. This time, I will delve a little deeper into this process. I will first describe how we came into contact with each community. Then I will outline our team goals for how we planned to work with them. Reaching out to the communities Reaching out to these community groups was in some cases very easy and in others more difficult. We wanted to first just have a meet and greet with each group. This was so that we could introduce ourselves and the project and learn about each group’s purpose. Once we’d made contact with each group we set up a meeting. In each meeting we had the opportunity to present our ideas about the tree planting project and to get feedback. This was a crucial part of each meeting because it was their first impression of us and our project. In order to do this successfully we needed to be organized and we needed to be enthusiastic. The other objective of the initial meeting was to learn about the groups. We wanted to know why they formed, what they did, and what their objectives were. ...
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Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara

Working with the Communities Part 1 by Sara
For this blog series I am going to describe my team’s experience working on our team project with several different communities in Saint Vincent. Throughout the series I will describe 9 different aspects of how we have worked with these communities: Working with established community groups. Reaching out. Goals for working with the groups. Public outreach. Forging friendships. Challenges. Working together: evaluating our success. Plans for the future. What we have learned so far. [caption id="attachment_10706" align="aligncenter" width="400"] “Our second planting action in Petit Bordel: It doesn’t matter if we’re teaching a workshop, picking up trash, or planting trees. The kids love to come out and help us!” Working with established community groups For our major project here in Saint Vincent, my team has been planting trees. So far we have planted over 1500 trees and vetiver grass units throughout the North Leeward region of the island. Our focus for planting has been in 5 communities: Chateaubelair, Fitz Hughes, Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, and Rose Hall. While the main objective of our project has been to plant trees, the most important part of our project is the people. The point of the project has been not just to plant trees in these communities, but to plant trees with them. To do this, we planned to work with an already established community group from each village. Why...
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How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte

How To: Tree Planting Actions by Malte
A brief introduction to how to organize a tree planting action The tree planting actions are events of our program where we go out and plant trees at specific locations. We do this with the help of local groups and people. But before such a planting action can happen, there is a lot of preparation to be done. First, you have to choose the villages you want to plant in and look for local groups which might be interested in working alongside with you. After you found one, try to establish a relationship with them and inform them of our future plans. If they are interested in it, you start doing surveys in the village. This entails asking the people what trees they want/need at which locations and if they would be interested in helping out. Additionally, if they are interessted, you should ask for their contact information so you can inform them about coming planting actions. Now that you finished your survey, you have to look at the suggested areas yourself to determine how many trees of which kind. This includes the one's that were suggested/requested that you should plant there. Then you have to get the trees, either by raising or by buying them. But because raising trees takes a lot of time, it is recommended to have a list of trees beforehand. Choose...
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Tree of the Week: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)

Tree of the Week: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
Mangrove Workshop at the Prospect Salt Pond Mangrove Conservation Park Last week my team had the great pleasure of attending a workshop on propagating and conserving mangrove ecosystems. A mangrove ecosystem is a group of several different species of trees that grow in coastal areas. They are particularly resilient and are able to thrive in conditions that most plants could not survive. These conditions include water with high salinity and strong current energy. There are about 40 different species of mangroves but there are three that are most common in the Caribbean. These are Red (Rhizophora mangle), White (Laguncularia racemose), and Black (Avicennia germinans). During the workshop, we learned about all three of these species and how they work together as an ecosystem. The three usually grow in the same area. The red grows in the front, closest to the sea. It requires a high saline concentration for survival. The red serves as a barrier against wave energy. The black mangrove grows above the high water mark, as its tolerance for salt water is less than the red. The white grows the farthest back from the sea. It is the least salt-tolerant but can still survive in brackish (combination of saltwater and freshwater) conditions. The primary focus of the workshop was on the red mangrove. The red mangrove, an evergreen, is the tallest of the three....
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Starting an Organic Garden in Belize. Fighting Poverty Team March 2016

by Baha Alzain We arrived to the place that will be our home for the next five months, Silver Creek , a village in Toledo, the southern most district in Belize . As part of our duties as development instructors .  We were encouraging the families we were working with to have organic backyard gardens for economic and nutritional reasons. In order to be able to advocate such an idea. We had to prove that it is indeed possible to start an organic garden from scratch. And that was exactly what we did. We started by choosing a small area that would house our small garden. We made sure to find a flat ground that would get enough sunlight during the day. And that it would have enough space to contain two large beds as well. As providing enough space for possible future expansions. Then we decided to make a compost pile. This contain an organic decompose material that is add to the beds as fertilizer and soil enhancer. Next was the digging of the beds. In fact, we dug two large beds then decided to connect them together for aesthetic reasons. Then the first challenge arises. It rains really heavily in Belize. One particular night the sky wasn't holding back any rain, so the bed was washed away. Solution: add some wooden boards around the...
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Richmond Vale

3000 New trees to be planted

[caption id="attachment_6755" align="alignleft" width="300"] Part of the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas. Photo Credit: Wikipedia St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the world’s most disaster prone countries. During the past few years hurricanes and floods have affected St Vincent. Hundreds of people lost their homes, jobs and loved ones. Have been done major damages to bridges, roads and buildings. Thousands of trees and many acres of agricultural soil have been lost. Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other Caribbean nations have contributed little. To the release of the greenhouse gases driving climate change. We pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions. The new tree planting project. Aims at sensitizing and mobilize people to take action. To mitigate and adapt to the challenges of Climate Change in St. Vincent. To learn a bit more about this topic. The Richmond Vale Academy website gives us a brief introduction about what is climate change? With a 10 year perspective, Richmond Vale Academy launched the St. Vincent Climate Compliance Conference in 2012. Aiming to form the future of St. Vincent into that of being a more Climate Compliant Country. The Climate Compliance Conference works with a small group of people from Richmond Vale Academy. Together with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, various community organizations, schools and volunteers. Richmond Vale Academy has...
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Significant Experience at the Chateaubelair Farmers Market

After we had an investigation week, travelling across the island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , we identified some problems about the trading of the basic products that farmers produce at the Chateaubelair Farmers Market. [caption id="attachment_6549" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo Credit: Richmond Vale Academy . Farmers Market One of the big problems we could identify was that the farmers had to travel to the capital to sell their products. And, this is because they don’t have too many places where to sell and buy their productions. So, we decided to start a local Farmers Market in North Leeward, in Chateaubelair. And since that point, we built tables for the farmers and got a tent. There, we made some workshops like, organic fertilizer and organic pesticides. Also, workshops of sub products production from the basic production farm, like jam, dry fruits, and so on. Grateful Experience It has been very interesting to see trading in its even more simple expression. Also, seeing farmers exchanging products among them, buying some watermelons and selling some garlic, buying some bananas and selling some sweet potatos, and so on. With this we are reactivating the economy of the village. And, working together step by step. The farmers market is a huge project that includes social development, volunteering, and helping with the mitigation of climate change. Besides, this project is generating income...
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