Happy National Agriculture Day Virgin Islands!

My website focuses on various parts of Virgin Islands culture and my efforts to encourage more pride in our people, our history and our way of life. Through interviews with local culture bearers, artists, educators and others who help to preserve our culture I hope to assist with increasing our Virgin Islands pride on a variety of levels.

In the middle of doing research for providing content by request to a school teacher on local Virgin Islanders, this week I’m focused on learning and sharing more about our agriculture leaders. I’m choosing these experts because of their ongoing leadership in the area of local agriculture. I think they each have valuable insight and also possibly some solutions from their experiences both on the government side of things as well as first hand as farmers.

My experts this week are the V.I. Commissioner of Agriculture who works alongside the Assistant Director of Agriculture for UVICES as well as one of the most well respected farmers and beekeepers here (who also is the President of the most successful farming organization on St. Thomas). Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared dialogue with each of them on a variety of topics.

The three experts that I’m considering interviewing are all noted locally as individuals who are highly respected and experienced in the area of agriculture in the Virgin Islands. Having just switched places after our last election, the Commissioner and District Supervisor have no real online source for finding out information about them in their positions. I’ve searched and either their websites have been deactivated or aren’t yet updated. The most that exists for each in terms on an online presence is their facebook pages which I’ve provided links to below.

I hope to provide a permanent location online for their profiles, giving them their flowers while they are still here with us in their prime. I will also be uploading to a SoundCloud.com account the 1-hour long audio interview I conducted on National Agriculture Day 2015. Until then, what follows is the basic information that I obtained from speaking with each of them and researching what little else there is thus far to find of them online.

1. Carlos Robles, VI Commissioner of Agriculture (present) | OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Credentials: 

Experience:

  • UVICES District Supervisor
  • UVICES Extension Specialist – Horticulture
  • UVICES Extension Agent – Horticulture
  • UVICES Student Worker

Related News Articles: Article 1 | Article 2

In our local online media news source, Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp, “laid out his strategy for revamping the Department of Agriculture, which he has picked Carlos Robles to lead.” In that article (Article 2 hyper-linked above) Governor Mapp said, “…Robles, a Corporate Extension Service professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and local agriculture expert, is the man to make that happen.”

2. Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr., UVI Cooperative Extension Service Assistant Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources/District Supervisor (present) OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Credentials: 

Experience:

  • VI Commissioner of Agriculture (2007-2014)
  • UVICES District Supervisor (1999-2007)
  • VI Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture (1995-1999)
  • UVICES District Supervisor (1992-1995)
  • UVICES Agent (1992-1995)
  • UVICES Student Worker

Related News Articles: Article 1 | Article 2Article 3

3. Elridge “Sparks” Thomas, President of We Grow Food, Inc., Local farmers organization OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Credentials: Unknown

  • Successful business owner
  • Farmer of the Year (multiple years)
  • Beekeeper
  • UVICES Agriculture Education Client (multiple years)

Experience:

  • President, We Grow Food, Inc.
  • Employee of the VI Department of Agriculture
  • Numerous community awards and recognition related to the field of Agriculture

    Related News Articles: Article 1 | Article 2

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