don't touch me tomato

Hey. I'm moving to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

No seriously, I was accepted this morning to a program at the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute near Frederiksted. (x arrow marks points to the spot island)

click to zoom...

OR view a googlemap! teehee!

I came across VISFI this summer in my World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) directory. Most of the summer, I really thought I was going to find a farm to work on in the fall, and hopefully use that experience to find a more legitimate internship for the spring and summer of 2009. WWOOF (and the farms in the handbook) are mostly just small working organic farms or gardens that will offer room and board for a 20 or 30 hour work week on the farm. I was gonna travel around the country and work on different ones with the intention of finding a more long term stay at one of a few farms in California or Oregon that offered apprenticeships. (Sorry I didn't, Jacob.)

Obviously, I wanted to do it for the adventure, but really I have so much that I want to learn. And that is what lead me to VISFI.

Their entry in the handbook sounded so amazing that I think I started laughing when I read it back in June. "...Permaculture design principles have been incorporated into the farm's development with emphasis being placed on sustainable techniques... The farm is completely off the grid with full power, hot water, and internet capabilities (more like, dude capabilities)... We will be value-adding to our produce by making fruit wines (moonshine), herbal products (salvia), dehydrating fruits (mushrooms), and making sauces (babies) -- Just kidding, Audrey! But VISFI's central mission is education... Accomodations on the farm range from a treehouse, to various hooches, to cabanas. Island activities include sailing, hiking, snorkeling, diving, surfing, and cultural exploration."

So that's what got me interested. Anyway, I ended up being mature and normal and getting an office job in Nashville (which I don't regret - it was a good experience).

For the past month or so, I have been thinking about what I want to do once the job here ends. So I looked back into VISFI. They have a program called The Ridge to Reef program, which is a 2-month-long educational program, lasting from mid-January to mid-March. The curriculum is divided up into 8 focus areas: permaculture/agroforestry, sustainable building, farm-based education, agroecology/organic food production, renewable energy systems, animal husbandry, slow food cooking, and agritourism.

They don't accept many people into the program, so I was kind of anxious after sending off my application, and then after hearing back and having a phone interview with the program director, I had to wait even more. I finally got my acceptance email this morning.

Take the campus photo tour here (photo 4 is my favorite).

Anyway, I'll be posting more as I learn more about the island. I have been spending a lot of my time at work reading about the history of St. Croix. Like, did you know that the island was owned by the Knights of Malta for five years in the mid-17th century? Yep.

Here are some cool kids learning stuff:


And here is a song that I fell in love with while working at WDVX. I don't condone sexual harassment, but this song is genius.


Staci Baird said...

Ben, that is so exciting! I can't wait to read about your adventures... you will write on your blog still, right?

benjamin said...

Hi Staci! Yes, I will try to update as often as I can using all of the different methods I learned in your class.

I hope you are well on the west coast...