Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year from CFFI

A Special Thanks & Best Wishes for 2014 to our Supporters from all of us at CFFI

Dear Friends,
2013 has been a banner year for CFFI, and our accomplishments reflect all three aspects of our mission. With your generous support, we have met and surpassed all of our 2013 goals, including 

helping cocoa farmers get their beans to market more efficiently;
providing hands-on education for farmers so they can maximize the quality of their cocoa beans while preserving the benefits of traditional farming;
providing farmers with an organic alternative to the petroleum-based fertilizers currently being used; and
securing new sources of revenue for CFFI while creating a variety of new job opportunities for Grenadians.

Helping Farmers Get Their Beans to Market
This year we were able to buy a farming truck to assist in the collection of wet beans across the island. The impact of this purchase has been immediate and dramatic. When farmers don’t have to walk their beans to market, they can spend more time cultivating cocoa trees and learning new ways to enhance the quality and value of their product.
Continuing Education and Other Support for Farmers
In 2013 we turned three acres of abandoned farmland into a model teaching farm and spice garden. At the model farm, visitors and local farmers can learn new techniques in sustainable farming, grafting, and propagation. We were able to hire two full-time employees—local young men who are learning the art of cocoa farming from older, experienced farmers, whom we have hired as consultants. The model farm is a wonderful example of how we can boost economic development while promoting sustainable agriculture and biological diversity.
Our “Buy A Tree—Support A Farmer” campaign has also been a great success. With donations to this program, we have provided high-quality saplings, along with organic planting compost, to over forty farmers. By contributing to this campaign, our donors are providing direct assistance to farmers while helping to preserve a rare and delicate environment.

Looking Forward to 2014
We are looking forward to an even more successful year in 2014.

We can’t thank you enough!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CFFI helping farmers deliver their beans to the collecting station
Wednesdays are cocoa collecting days here in Victoria Grenada. Farmers travel for more than 5 or 6 miles to sell their cocoa beans to The Grenada Cocoa Association. And this is where "Fear Not" our trusty van comes call us and we meet them to pick up their product. This farmer was lucky enough to find us while he was walking along the road with his daughter. Can you imagine walking 2 miles with all these wet cocoa beans?  Well, that's what they were doing and they sure were happy to see us coming along!

Wet cocoa beans 

Farmer George

Farmer George was not so lucky- he walked from his farm to the collecting station with 10 lbs on his head and 10 lbs in each hand. Next week we will make a point of getting up to his farm.

One of the first trees planted is already bearing cocoa

The "Buy A Cocoa Tree" Campaign is going really well.  Thank you everyone for the support!  We have sold well over 100 trees. People are starting to purchase them as holiday gifts (we are sending out cards with these purchases).

Just a reminder...if you are in the Vermont area CFFI will be featuring their crafts at The Cotton Mill Open Studio & Holiday Sale.  Great art, shopping,performances food & fun! /802-257-7731
And on Monday The Ruggles & Hunt Bi-annual Fashion Show will be held at The Burdick's Restuarant- it is always a blast!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The First Three Weeks-What a Success

Rawldon and Kimon building a living fence
So much has happened here in Grenada these past three weeks! We have hired our first two employees-Kimon Julien and Rawldon Mark. They have both been working efficiently and with enthusiasm.
They have cleared the cocoa farm land and are now building a "living fence" around the property. We are using razor grass for the fence. It will help keep out the goats and the cows. They also maintain our compost bins, turning them, adding scraps from the nursing home and chicken manure from our local chicken farmer. We now wait patiently for the professionals to come help us prune trees, cut others down and plant new ones.

Besides the purchase of "Fear Not" our beautiful
 new van we also bought boots, gloves and cocoa plants!
 We are definitely in business.
CFFI has a campaign on our website
where people can buy cocoa trees for $10..00. The $10 buys the tree,
 transportation to the farm and organic compost to plant with.
Check it out at www.cffigrenada
Paula with all her new purchases

Rasta John, Lynn & Jim Mort and Dorise 
Last night we had a good bye dinner for Dorise. Everyone in Grenada will miss her energy, good will and hard work. But no one as much as me. She has made my first three weeks so productive and helped me create a home here in Victoria.  I have many local friends thanks to Dorise. I think we all look forward to her return. But she has a husband who misses her back in NH so I am happy that she is going home. Also, she has many craft shows to do. These crafts shows help us bring in money for the farmers and in addition the craft people are getting excellent money for their products. So it is that full circle we are always talking about-people helping people.
The first show Dorise will be doing is:
Christmas Market with a Difference
Now in it's 26th year, 17 organizations will be represented at this year’s Market.
If you are in the Dartmouth College area of Hanover NH, it is well worth the stop! The dates are: Thursday, November 7   10-6
Friday, November 8      10-6
Saturday, November 9   10-1


Thursday, October 17, 2013

It All Begins with the Soil

Jason "Busy" was very busy building the bamboo bin
Dorise designed this bin using  local recyclable materials
Bamboo Composting Bin

Soil is the foundation of every farming operation. And good soil begins with composting. Using good quality compost in agriculture has the potential benefits of improving nutrient cycling, soil improvement, enhanced crop health and reduced chemical usage.  

Benefits of Composting
  *Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers
*Creates local jobs
*Provide cost savings of at least 50 percent over conventional soil.
 *Recycling: putting nutrients & organic matter back into use
*Reduces disposal; saves landfill space
*Suppress plant diseases and pests
*Promote higher yields of agricultural crops
*Facilitate reforestation of rainforest
*Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff.
*Improved crop nutritional value   (micronutrients)
*Reduced use of pesticides / fungicides           (due to improved biological richness in soil)
*Improved water holding capacity of soil, reducing
       irrigation needs (30% compost in soil = an additional 1.9 gallons/cubic foot

CFFI is bound and determined to under cut the price of chemical fertilizer here in Grenada.  We have built our first composting bin out of bamboo and have contacted the local businesses to let them know that we will pick up their fruit & vegetable scraps. We have also developed connections with small,  local chicken breeders and will be buying the manure. 
Please  contact CFFI is you have any suggestions or ideas on this project. We are looking for ways to get worms here in Grenada, if anyone has an idea we would love to hear from you.
All comments are greatly appreciated!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

CFFI Is On The Move

"Fear Not" CFFI's New  Van ready for cocoa pickups

Dorise & Paula two of the board members of CFFI have moved to Grenada, bought the van featured above, and are ready to work!
This van will allow us to start picking up farmers who do not have transportation on collecting days. We are getting the message out through Tony Telesford and his morning agricultural radio show "Real Expressions" on Thursday Morning from 7-9AM. Hope you'll be able to tune in!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebrate with Origami Cranes

Made by hand in Grenada by the Women's Cooperative 

To celebrate life, 
for all occasions, 
wedding, parties,
 or just for fun!

Pricing Scale for medium sized assembled garland in various colors
 including all white, all silver, or multi colored strands.
1-10 cranes: $1 per crane
20 cranes: $15
50 cranes: $40
100 cranes: $75
200 cranes: $150
300 cranes: $225
400 cranes: $300
500 cranes: $350
1000 cranes: $500

Cranes in bundles of ten....

For inquiries or purchasing
contact Doko
or phone

Friday, May 24, 2013

Help has sailed in

Ocean Classroom spent a week helping the cocoa farmers of Grenada.  Fifty students worked side by side with local agricultural students to clear brush, plant cocoa trees, 
harvest cocoa pods, help in the fermentation process, and make cocoa balls.

Pick up time early in the a.m., everybody is ready to work.

Bagging dried cocoa...

After clearing the bush, the students planted 100 trees ,.... in one morning.

 A well deserved soak in the cool water.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace 

Gulping air as I reached the skeleton of a church I had targeted from the 

St. George’s  harbor, I immediately saw it was more gorgeous 

with it’s roof off then it had been when it was whole.  

Last fall, the hurricane had blown the roof away and the floor to one side was 

gouged to the basement by fallen debris.  Ancient fragile carved wooden pews 

were pushed to the other side where some of the stained glass windows were 

still in tact.  Nature left the nave wall standing and Christ remained on the 

cross with the brilliant sun illuminating a scene usually shrouded in the 

mystery of a dim sanctuary. 

After dropping a dollar in the contribution box, I felt compelled to keep going 

up the hill where there was a lovely , overgrown graveyard with English 

sounding names on the tombstones.  Most of them were embedded flat so I 

could jump from one to the other.  I reached the very edge of it where the 

land suddenly disappeared under a tree descending steeply, 20 stories below, 

to the sea.  

Down to the left the bustling harbor was being 

rebuilt in front of two huge cruise ships and their 

passengers rushing  the streets to find something to buy.  On the other side 

was a grand view featuring the metal cage that had been a  gigantic outdoor 

sports arena crushed away from the harbor, decimated and deserted,  in 

danger of becoming another infamous ancient ruin.  

Twirling around to 

begin hopping tombstones back to the entrance, I sensed  movement beside a 

lonely, naked dwelling collapsing next to the graveyard.   To the side and 

above the road going down  to the beach,  the bent figure of a tall, long 

limbed, not young woman, slowly dragging a huge corrugated piece of 

roofing up the steep grade,  came into my view.  

My first thought was to run 

and help her, but then I went reverently still,  to prevent intruding on 

something so intimate that it would embarrass both of us if she knew I was 

there.  I observed the torturous, tedious task of her getting this strip 

positioned in a way she could lean it against the decapitated little house.  After 

piling rubble and climbing on top of it, she gathered enough strength to tip 

the rippled strip of metal onto the roof and 

proceeded to push it next to another one laid across the top of one of the 

barren blue rooms. She probably began the sustained project this morning 

and already it was noon.  Perhaps by evening, she might have shelter from 

sudden, short showers and be able to sleep in privacy by tonight. 


with my glimpse of simple survival, I chose to walk the precarious path 

around the other side of the burial ground anchored by ornate black wrought 

iron enclosed graves overgrown with lush, tropical, blossoming  vegetation. I 

hustled back through town to our harbor and boarded the ship in time for 

late lunch.  When the food had been cleared and everybody was declared 

aboard, we suddenly discovered we had speakers attached to 

the front mast.   The hearty sound of  Mahalia Jackson

surrounded us with “Amazing Grace.”

“A-a-a-maz-i-n-n-ng Grace, how sweet the sound!” 

Grateful tears relieved my eyes as we fell in place to the rhythm of the hymn, 

hoisting the sails, thus beginning our journey from Grenada through the 

Grenadine Islands. 

All the elements were in our favor.  The sails made that 

sucking sound of capturing the wind and the ship quickly tipped to one side. 

We could still see the roofless churches of St. George’s far behind us when 

more dolphins then I had encountered in my entire life performed as a 

synchronized flotilla arching out of the water right beside the ship, before

 anyone could get their cameras out!  

Surely all was right in the universe and I had a 

blessed adventure ahead of me. 

                                                      Marilynn Frances Lundy

Marilynn Frances Lundy is a business consultant and coach in NYC.  She has travelled all over the world for business and pleasure, which gives her a global perspective on all that she pursues. She has written the book, "The 10 R's For Better Speaking, That Can Transform Your Life" and if you wish to purchase it, or find out more about her coaching, you can go to her website,  Marilynn is currently writing a memoir, to be completed by the end of this year. If you want to read a blog of her most recent trip, to study Art Deco Design in Cuba last month, please go to her website,