Project: Restore Agriculture and Invest in Sustainable Enterprise
St.Mary’s Parish, Jamaica, West Indies
Working Plan: April 2010
The focus of the mission of CSI Ministries is to experience the person of Jesus Christ, as He moves in this world, advancing the Kingdom of God. This encounter is facilitated by short term mission experiences and the long term commitment of service to people and communities in fields throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa. This project seeks to provide a vehicle for impact of individuals and churches via short term mission teams, as well as demonstrating in the local Jamaican community the living example of those principles on which the Kingdom of God is built.
The purpose of CSI Jamaica RAISE is to partner with the local community in order to achieve a self-sustaining community where the level of education, employment opportunities, social and spiritual support permit and encourage the pursuit of life focused on glorifying God. The opportunity to easily meet basic food and shelter needs, find meaningful employment, be a responsible and contributing member of the Body of Christ as it lives in a local church are the goals. The four major areas of work within the scope of this project are Community Development, Education/Training, Microenterprise and Housing.
Microenterprise opportunities will be focused around agricultural endeavors. St Mary’s parish has a good variety of agricultural resources, with the principal products being bananas, sugar, citrus, pimento, cocoa, coconuts, coffee, vegetables, breadfruit and annatto. Pastoralism is also practiced. In recent years, however, agriculture has been on the decline. For several years, the parish has been listed as one of the poorest in Jamaica, although there is potential for vast development.
The parish recently embarked on a 20-year visioning process to restore the economic and community vitality that once blessed the parish. Among the many priorities is the need to develop a sustainable and predictable agricultural industry that not only provides a secure food source for the community but also ensures a sustainable export commodity. A second key strategic element to sustainable prosperity is restoring the educational opportunities within the parish. This initiative proposes to construct a vocational education and training center for the community in partnership with HEART and CASE.
“Vision - Our vision is for a parish with diverse agricultural production which enables small- and large-scale farmers to contribute significantly to the economic development of the parish” St. Mary Strategic Development Plan Towards a Vision for the Parish of St. Mary for 2025 (Page 22)
“Vision - Our vision is for a parish with high standards of education for young people and adults to support the competitiveness of the parish and the country. St. Mary Strategic Development Plan Towards a Vision for the Parish of St. Mary for 2025 (page 21)
The challenge within the parish is identifying long-term investment that will foster local enterprise which provides for the community’s immediate need for self-reliance. They further need to be developed as commercial enterprises in-country, serving the nearby resort areas. This requires not only the investment and development of an industry, but also demands a sustainable and local vocational education system to provide a well-trained workforce to support the industry. As most of the parish is agronomicaly structured, fostering a strong agri-business hub, which creates a climate for micro enterprise that is not only sustainable but provides a secure food source for the community. Further, the re-establishment of a vocational and tertiary school proximal to the industry hubs is essential to ensure that the venture is sustainable.
As evidenced by the St Mary Parish Strategic Development Plan, the two elements of sustainable agriculture and education are vital to the future of the parish. A driving force behind this proposal is to provide employment, education and ongoing business opportunities within the parish.
We propose to develop and foster at least 8 to 10 distinctly interdependent operations on the property. These micro-industries will produce specific products for commerce while providing byproduct for use by the other micro-industries in the sector. As an example, the goat production will provide meat and dairy products for retail and wholesale while also providing organic fertilizer for the crop microenterprises. Similarly, the crop microenterprises will produce wholesale and retail crops, such as citrus, corn, pumpkin and other vegetables, while also providing an organic feed source for the goat industry. Other micro-operations will include cocoa, poultry and gourmet greens. These microenterprises will greatly improve marketing systems of horticulture crops and cocoa in the region while also ensuring a local secure and sustainable food source. The grant will not only provide start up support but also finance market development for the micro and small enterprises.
A secondary but integral component to sustaining these microenterprises is a productive and skilled work force. To this end, and consistent with the Parish Strategic Plan, extensive investment will be in education and training. Specifically, partnerships have been formed with key educational institutions and organizations to provide faculty and expertise for a new vocational training institution. Through the CSI mission teams, a full-service training and education facility will be constructed on site and will provide both agricultural and trade certifications for all students regardless of gender or race. The co-location of the education facility and the agri-business enterprise hub is essential to the success of both business environments.
The use of sustainable organic farming principles greatly reduces water needs and greatly enhances soil health. The project will also serve as a successful demonstration of effecting soil and water conservation sufficient to protect local water supplies from drought or low rainfall. In that the property has been dormant for more than a decade and the previous farming practices were low intensity activities, the site is ideal for initiating an organic agriculture venture. In order to ensure a highly productive organic venture, several factors must be in place. These include a viable local and nearby market, a dedicated and trained workforce, low input through internal production and a long-term commitment to the core principles of organic farming.
The key to the operation is three fold relative to production. The first is to ensure there is sufficient sustenance farming within the local area. The second is to ensure that produce and product can be consistently available to the local market. Finally, with the baseline being organic, this opens the operations up to the high demand market of the tourism industry located in Ocho Rios, Negril, and other proximal coastal areas.
The general approach to this element is fundamental re-use and sustainability. At its core is the requirement to grow the necessary nutrients to produce the necessary nutrients. Organic fertilizer can be produced onsite through both ruminant and poultry production. Ruminant and poultry feed in turn can be grown on site. This will ensure organic components of operations are sustained and a minimum amount of external inputs will be required.
All of the education and agricultural enterprises will be developed with the purpose of ultimately being owned and operated by local Jamaicans in the community. Vital to the development of these opportunities is the simultaneous development and demonstration of living principles of the Kingdom of God throughout the operations. In addition to this being a mindset and litmus test with which appropriate, God-honoring decisions will guide the development process, several initiatives will be undertaken to directly support this aspect of the project. First, the project will include construction of a community center and athletic field for the use of the local community. This will serve as a location for ongoing missional outreach by CSI staff and teams to the community. Additionally, CSI will facilitate retreat and educational opportunities for local pastors, to assist in unifying the development efforts of the project with God’s call and the lives of the local congregations.
Finally, housing will be constructed on the project property to house members of the local community who are participating in the project. The housing will reflect the principles and values referred to above, and consistent with bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth. Therefore they will be sufficient for a stable and secure existence that promotes health, education, and the opportunity to reach out to the less fortunate in their community.
This project will have achieved a level of success when it is a self-sustaining community, owned and operated by local Jamaicans, who are active in vibrant, local churches that are sending out missionaries of their own.
This is a two-fold approach being short-term and long-term. The short-term approach is to provide extensive training sessions to identify those local farmers that are clearly interested in the venture. The farmers and local entrepreneurs, once trained, would be afforded the opportunity to operate or work with one of the agricultural microenterprises. The long-term strategy depends on the vocational and technical education centre, also located on site. Students of the school would be trained in the sustainable agriculture techniques, business management and other trades. The students would have hands-on experience through partnerships with the agri-business operators on site. Once trained, the students would have the ability to work with a local operator or pursue other vocational interests in the region or county.
A Memorandum of Understanding with HEART will be forthcoming, to define the relationship with that institution, and begin agricultural training shortly.
At least one additional trade will be offered at the project site. Consultation with HEART will assist in determining the most appropriate trade for the area and future job market prospects.
A meeting place for community events is planned. This may be an outdoor pavilion structure to start, but plans are for a permanent building.
At least one athletic field for soccer, and a running track can be developed near the Belfield access road through the Creed property. It is hoped that this access will become the primary public access to the property and its activities. Local government support has been pursued for this to be a permanent public access.
--Local Pastor Resource/Training
Regularly scheduled Pastoral resource retreats will be scheduled for local clergy, with the focus being to address concerns and needs they express, and to promote the vision of living “The Way” of Christ in the RAISE project and its role in the community.
--Develop Community Advisory Council
Organize a representative organization of community leaders who will assist in providing direction for the project, and act as a resource for feedback from the community
--Ruminant operations (2)
Approximately 5 acres of the initial agricultural area will be dedicated to the raising of approximately 50 goats housed in several goat houses. It is anticipated that one operation will focus on goat milk production and the other on meat production. Both will be organic to ensure marketability to local and regional markets.
--Poultry operations (1)
A layer chicken operation will also exist onsite to provide high phosphate blends in the manure and produce the nutrients necessary for other crop producers’ onsite. The layer operation will provide organic egg products for local and regional markets.
--Greenhouse operations (2)
At least two greenhouse micro enterprise operations are identified for the venture. One will focus on volume production of vegetables for local and regional markets. The second will focus on the niche organic greens market currently expressing demand in the region. It is anticipated that this will be developed in partnership and existing organic salad venture in the Kingston area.
--Cocoa operations (1)
Currently the site has a healthy but unattended cocoa crop in need of rehabilitation. This industry will be developed with the intent of providing high quality, organic cocoa.
--General agricultural production (2)
Using organic principles, the initiative anticipates two general agricultural microenterprises to be developed on site. These will likely be closely linked to the educational operations and will serve as a primary food provider to the local community as well as the primary agricultural training area.
--Banana operations (1)
This property has a long history of banana production. While the banana industry locally has suffered from global economic factors, it is being explored as to whether an organic banana crop would be viable in the region. As part of this venture, this enterprise will be evaluated.
The opportunity exists to develop fresh water seafood on site, such as tilapia. This will provide the local area with an inexpensive source of high dietary protein. Additionally, fish emulsion is in high demand for other organic enterprises on the island.Other fish, such as menhaden, can be farmed to multiple post process markets. If the market is viable, the solids are used for animal feed and industrial products, the highly valued fish oil (solid at twice the price of crude oil) have a variety of uses and the emulsion is used in organic fertilizers. Inland fish farming serves to provide a cost effective supply of fish, for multiple purposes without depleting the natural resource populations.
The use of the property for ecotourism has been suggested by HEART on a recent visit.
Jamaican department of forestry has a reforestation program that may be utilized to plant trees which can be harvested over time from marginal areas of the project property
--It is conceived that the prototype building would be a 2 bed, 1 bath home of sturdy construction, with reasonable assurance of survival through tropical storms and hurricanes. Solar panels with battery would allow for lighting, thereby allowing for educational activities to take place in the home in the evenings. Consideration of composting toilets would drastically decrease the need for water. Cooking and refrigeration would likely be propane sourced. The homes would need access to Jamaican water, and have storage facilities. Architecture for Humanity has been contacted for input and possible architectural assistance.
--The first 2 homes to be constructed would provide housing for current CSI employees,
and help ease the learning curve for this endeavor.
Business Model-Community Ownership/Staffing:
The initial phase of development is being done as a CSI Jamaica Mission project on land leased from Meeke & Herritt II, LLC. CSI Ministries, Inc. controls the land, initiates and supports the education program, establishes community activities and runs the microenterprises started on site. In the second phase of development, home sites will be constructed and rented by CSI to tenants who are employed by CSI in the operation of the mission or its activities on site. The microenterprises will be turned over to local Jamaican ownership, who will sublet the land required for their operations from CSI. The third phase of development will begin with the formation of a for-profit Jamaican corporate entity. The ownership of this entity will consist of a majority share held by CSI Ministries, Inc., and minority shares held by each of the microenterprise owners and each of the homesite tenants. The land lease will transfer to this entity, and operations will continue to expand. At this time, minority ownership interests being offered to other community interests such as churches will be considered. The fourth and final phase of development will center around transfer of ownership of the land to the Jamaican corporate entity. Consideration of redistribution of shareholder interests will be made, with a determination of the appropriate percentage interest of CSI required to fulfil its mission in the community.
Kingdom Principles and Practices
The purpose of all activity in this project is to glorify God and make the presence of Christ a tangible reality. The measure of all work is set relative to the goal of advancing the Kingdom of God to come on earth, as it is in heaven. It is recognized that shelter, food, and the opportunity for meaningful work are foundational for a life in pursuit of the glorification of God. The goal of CSI’s work is to facilitate the development of a community that sustains healthy local church congregations, is able to take care of the poor, and send others out to pursue the Great Commission.
The following practices reflect the application of this basic principle as initial considerations. These ideas may be refined, added to or discarded as God leads.
All persons are to be respected for being part of the awesome wonder of God’s creation.
Mortal accomplishment, while admirable, places no one above another in our eyes.
Each individual is to be honored for the unique role God has given them.
God is to be honored with the first and best of all we have.
10% of gross earnings will be given to local churches
--LOCAL CONGREGATION SUPPORT
The body of Christ is to be supported and strengthened in the community.
Workers and residents in the RAISE project are encouraged to attend local
congregations. A local church is not to be built on site, but access to local
congregations is to be facilitated as appropriate.
--GOD IS TO BE HONORED
No buildings or areas are to be named after prominent donors or community
leaders. God is the architect of the site, and director of operations. All that is
done is to point to Him.
Care for the poor as biblically outlined is to be pursued in the operation of
enterprises on site. A mechanism is to be pursued to allow those in need to access
the gleanings of the operations. If petty larceny occurs, efforts should be made to assist
those individuals rather than prosecute them.
--SECOND MILE MINISTRY
This sets followers of Christ’s Way apart from the world. The principle of cheerful
giving in the face of impatience, rejection, and lack of appreciation is to be practiced.
--FAITH AND FAILURE
God calls us to be faithful, not to be successful. The world’s measure of success and
failure will not be the measure of faithfulness in decisions and actions.
Confirmation by the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the faith community will be sought
for all decisions and actions.