RISE - Remote Island Soils Education

Rise:

  • To awake from sleep or return from the dead
  • To increase in fervor or intensity
  • To increase in amount, extent, size or number
  • To move from a lower position to a higher one

The above Webster’s definitions for the word ‘Rise’ reflects the goals and purpose behind Sea Mercy’s Remote Island Soils Education (RISE) program for the thousands of remote islands of the South Pacific.

“For any health, self-sustainable or economic development related program in the South Pacific to succeed, it must start with soils training.”

Mike Smith, Organic Matters

The above quote is the key lesson Sea Mercy has learned when it comes to building Self Sustaining & Thriving Communities in the South Pacific. Mike Smith has spent the last 10+ years teaching, training and demonstrating to the leadership and communities of the South Pacific island nations that there are no shortcuts or quick fixes to achieve the above. It starts with Soils Training and only then can you build a successful health, economic, and education program around it.

Sea Mercy not only fully embraces that philosophy; we have partnered with Mike Smith and his team from Organic Matters Foundation to help restore hope and a future to the thousands of remote islands across the South Pacific. Islands and communities who in the pursuit of western social, agricultural and economic shortcuts, have turned away from or forgotten ‘their old ways’ and are now feeling the effects. Unproductive lands (nutrient depletion), failing health (diabetes) due to poor diet that relies more on processed foods than food grown locally, and an increasing exodus of their youth and talent to the primary islands for employment and income opportunities.

In 2017, Sea Mercy will be providing a comprehensive 4-week RISE Volunteer Opportunities for the remote island of Batiki located in the Lomaiviti Island Group of Fiji. Devastated by Cyclone Winston in 2016, there has never been a better opportunity and willingness of the people to ‘return to their roots’ and restore hope and a future.

This RISE program (and the Farm Tools Program) for the villagers has been made possible by the incredible donation of $25,000 (US) to Sea Mercy from Generation Strategies Foundation (Austin, TX). Sea Mercy’s goal will be to raise additional funds for the six additional programs that are crucial to the future of Batiki; Health Impact Research Study, Irrigation Support, Economic Development, Sports & Exercise, Aquaponics, and Channel Passage Markers into their lagoons that will help launch them forward into becoming thriving communities.

2017 Batiki Programs

    4-week Comprehensive Soils Training & Implementation Program

    Comprehensive classroom and hands-on training for 30 farmers from the four villages on Batiki over a 4 week period.

    • 4-day Site Survey (February)
    • 4-day Introductory Training (August 8th-11th)
    • 2-week Land Preparation Period for Farmers (August 12th-27th)
    • 4-day Advanced Training Program (August 28th-31st)
    • 2-week Full Soils Implementation Program (September 1st-September 14th)

    Complete Set of Farming Tools for each Student Program

    Provide each soils training student with the farming tools they need to effectively develop and maintain their farm

    • Shovel, hoe, rake, pitchfork for each farmer
    • Fuel transportation costs to deliver from Suva to Batiki

    Health Impact Research Study

    With one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world and the leading killer across the South Pacific, we believe the RISE program gives us an incredible opportunity to track the impact that healthy diet and exercise can have on a population. As a secluded remote island, Batiki gives us a unique controlled environment opportunity (minimal outside influence on the data) and an excellent case study group (population) to create a powerful and long-term Health Impact Research Study program around.

    • A1C testing of all 'at risk' villagers (over a 5+ year timeline) that will track the impact the RISE Program had on their lives of the 300+ people living on Batiki.
    • Pre- and post diet, physical and emotional health evaluations and lifestyle changes (exercise) resulting from the program
    • Documenting and tracking the results of replacing many of their currently available food groups (purchased processed foods) with locally grown and organic healthy foods

    Primary School Garden & Training

    The future of Batiki is in the hands of the children that are going to the primary school. We intend to not only teach the children about soils and farming, but to create a school garden for the children to learn to plant and take care of.

    • Water Irrigation Tank - 5,000 liter water tanks for school garden
    • Water Catchment, guttering and pipes for local water tank
    • Clear and plant the land near the school

    Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) & Dilo Oil Production Program (short-term)

    Providing the islanders with the equipment and training they need to professionally convert naturally growing and self-sustaining crops (coconuts and dilo nuts) into a valuable income opportunity for the islanders to sell. We have partnered with Bula Batiki and The Earth Care Agency to help train and build the market for their Virgin Coconut and Dilo Oil.

    • Virgin Coconut Oil equipment & training
    • Dilo Oil equipment & training (drying shed, press and storage containers)

    Vanilla Program (Medium-term)

    We will be providing the training and the delivery of initial Vanilla plant cuttings for this important economic development program for the four villages. With first vanilla harvests 3-5 years out, getting them started at the earliest opportunity is vital.

    • Vanilla starters - 100+ plants
    • Partner shade trees and land clearance
    • Income potential for a full vanilla plantation can be in the ten's of thousands of $

    Sandalwood & Teak Program (Long-term)

    Having a reforestation plan is vital to reclaiming the health of the soil and the conservation of water on the island. Adding an economic plan to it is essential for economic independence. Teak and Sandalwood are high value trees that can be easily grown on the remote islands with minimal care and careful planning. We will be providing the training and sandalwood and teak starters for those attending the RISE program training classes.

    • Vanilla starters (50+)
    • Teak starters (50+)
    • Greenhouse for up to 1,000 future starters

Make a Donation Today!

100% of your donation goes to the programs (no salaries are paid for this program), so every donation amount will go a long ways in helping us get closer to funding all the remaining programs. Below is a secure and simple online donation method (PayPal, Credit Card, or Bank Check), or you can send us a check to: Sea Mercy, 25075 West Demming Road, Elmira, OR 97437.





Become a RISE Program Volunteer!

As you can see, there are plenty of internship and volunteer opportunities available for almost anyone to participate in. Whether it is for one or two weeks, or the entire 4 week program, we invite you to join us for an incredible time. With Mike’s support and encouragement, we will be training key Sea Mercy staff, volunteers and captains on how to lead future RISE Training Programs for the people of the South Pacific. If interested, please go online to the RISE Program Volunteer Registration page today.

We believe this 2017 Sea Mercy RISE Program lays the successful groundwork and future for the 300+ people living on the remote island of Batiki. It also empowers our Sea Mercy captains and volunteers who desire to “sail with a greater purpose” with the tools and training they need to make a difference wherever they drop anchor or visit in the South Pacific.

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