Farmer-To-Farmer USAID/Florida A & M University Program
  • Country - United States of America

     

    The American Dietetic Association Board member, Evelyn Ford Crayton EdD, RD, volunteered to work for 20 days with the AgriPark Cooperatives at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, South Africa.   The program is a part of the USAID/ Florida A & M University (Tallahassee, Florida) South Africa Farmer-To-Farmer Agribusiness Development Program. Dr. Crayton’s position is Extension Assistant Director and Professor, Nutrition and Food Sciences at Alabama Cooperative Extension, Auburn University, Alabama.

    As a volunteer, Dr. Crayton served as an expert in nutrition, health, food preservation and food safety. Visits were made to cooperatives in the villages near the University of Fort Hare. Most of the cooperatives were headed by women.   The Chicken Cooperative had won an award for community development. The cooperative raised chickens and vegetables for food and for the markets. Another cooperative raised vegetables to sell in the markets and for distribution to the Khanya Processing Plant which was a part of the Agri Park Cooperatives. The processing plant was on the university’s campus. There was a cooperative that was a Hydroponic plant that raised tomatoes for the market. A plant scientist and a food service management/food safety person also were members of the volunteer team.

    The project team was there to work with members of the cooperatives to build an understanding of the impact high quality nutritious fruits and vegetables have on the health of their community, especially the children. They looked at ways to increase the availability and safety of foods produced and processed for use in the schools as well as homes. A recommendation was to develop a train-the-trainer type program on Food Safety and Preservation to be introduced to students and community leaders at the Lovedale Training and Vocational School.   This would be presented in a learning lab with hands-on-experiences for the students and community leaders.   There also were discussions regarding organizing youth development programs in the middle and high schools as well as the vocational school. There is land available for gardening and animal projects. There were discussions regarding technical projects and a scholar’s bowl type project.

    A discussion was held at the University of Fort Hare, in a seminar, regarding the “Community Engaged Scholar”. The idea was to get the university’s faculty, students and staff involved in applied research within the cooperatives.   The research would be helpful to those working in the cooperatives, as well as, increase the visibility of the University’s presence in the community. Discussions began on the campus with a member of the Quality Assurance Management Staff. This is the office that approves of additions to the university curriculum. 

     

     Evelyn Ford Crayton, EdD, RD