Vetiver Blogs - Some New, Some Improved

Thursday, April 1, 2010

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Over the last few weeks I have been bad about writing in my own blog. I was busy, however, helping out other Vetiver bloggers to ramp up their sites. 

The "most improved" award goes to the site of The Vetiver Network International blog itself.  Many new features have been added including much better visibility of what is being published by other Vetiver sites.  A new subsection provides easy links to various official publications in PDF and hard cover.  This is the top blog on Vetiver around the world and it is written by Dick Grimshaw, Chairman of TVNI himself.

Both the Vetiver Latina blog in Spanish, and the Vetiver Brazil blog in Portuguese, received facelifts with new layouts, color schemes, and widgets to make them more attractive and organized.

Finally John Greenfield, father of the Vetiver movement, now has his own personal blog, John Greenfield's World, where you will find stories, anecdotes, and humor not found at any other of the sites.

All these sites now have the "Blog Concierge" service where you can choose to receive new articles on email.  RSS subscription services are also available for your favorite RSS reader if you like that better.

A now look for this blog is also in my "to do" list for sometime soon.  Each of these blogs has its own style and character, and I encourage you, my reader, to get to know them all.

New Vetiver Network Board Members and Appointments

Saturday, February 6, 2010

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At The Vetiver Network International board meeting on January 30 several new board members were elected along with the awarding of some well deserved technical recognitions.  I am very pleased to report that the board honored me with an appointment as Associate Director in recognition of my activities in support of the Vetiver Network and of Vetiver users in the Caribbean and for finding ways of improving TVNI's image and communications via the Internet.

Before becoming a nurseryman (and I thought that I was retiring), I had a long career in information technology.  Parlaying that experience into my Vetiver endeavors, I first created this blog that you, my readers, have supported with regular visits from over 70 countries each month.  The success of this blog encouraged several others around the world in French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese to add more regular content accessible to non-technical readers.
 
Other Internet efforts that I have helped grow include the creation and administration of the Vetiver Caribbean Network Google Group, the creation of The Vetiver System Knol Collection at Google Knols, creating the site structures for the Vetiver Latina Google Group and the Vetiver Latina Blog, the maintenance of the Wikipedia Vetiver System page, and, of course, making Vetiver easier to obtain by the general public (in the USA at least) from our Agriflora Tropicals online store.  All of these efforts would be meaningless without the support from you, our readers and clients, many of which have become personal friends and Vetiver champions in your own right.

Other well deserved appointments include Elise Pinners and Roley Noffke as Directors to the Board of TVNI, and Mary Wilkowski also as Associate Director.  Marco Forti, Alain Ndona, Tony Cisse, and Yoann Coppin were recognized with appointments as Senior Technical Advisers to TVNI, and the appointment to the same position by Alemu Mekonnen of Ethiopia is pending his acceptance. Congratulations to all!

I also want to share with you the acceptance response by Tony Cisse in Senegal.  I always preach that we live at at time when the concept of "networking" has taken a new and indispensable meaning in our social and professional lives.  TVNI, as a network, is a textbook example of what a small group of people can accomplish by pulling in the same direction.  In Tony's words:
"Thank you for your recommendation and I take it as a great honor. I will of course accept, and hope that in doing so I can live up to it and contribute to the mission.

"I must say that, since coming into contact with TVNI, I have never ceased to be inspired by the people I have met or read or communicated with. In my view, the spirit of TVNI is almost unique in its commitment to sharing, supporting each other, and openness. So many times organizations are riven with competition, rivalry, egotism, or self-interest - and here is TVNI which is an example to all of how we can work together, sharing information, knowledge, and experience with people we have never met and may never meet, because of our commitment to a common good.  Apart from our belief in what Vetiver can contribute, it is that commitment to open exchange which is a shining example to people working in all fields of development work."
Well said, Tony! It is indeed a fine group of people that make up TVNI. Vetiver rocks!

Vetiver as Windbreaker at Gargiulo Puerto Rico

Friday, January 15, 2010

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Back in August last year, Peter Hernández, Operations Manager of the Gargiulo commercial farming operation in Puerto Rico, agreed to try Vetiver as a windbreaker for their tomato fields. Gargiulo has been using sugar cane hedges to cut back the dust that blows into their tomato production fields. With 900 acres of land, 600 of which are in actual production, dust damage can be a very costly environmental factor that must be effectively controlled. Although the sugar cane has proven effective as a wind barrier, this cane must be harvested and replanted annually at substantial cost.  In the old days, the biomass left over from sugar cane harvesting was burned and plowed back into the fields. Air quality legislation no longer allows this disposal method, and all this biomass must be spread on otherwise useful land and allowed to dry and decompose over many years. Gargiulo and Agriflora Tropicals agreed that a better solution was needed.

Two 500-plant trials were planted on June 24 and August 6, 2009.  Both locations were planted as double Vetiver rows that were later continued as double sugar cane rows, that being the standard Gargiulo practice.  The Picasa album Vetiver as Windbreaker, Gargiulo Puerto Rico documents the successful implementation of the Vetiver barriers.  The latest pictures, taken on January 13, 2010, show that the Vetiver has achieved about two-thirds of the sugar cane height with a denser, more wind-resistant, body mass.  Contrary to sugar cane, Vetiver hedges will be permanent and will require minimal care and maintenance for many years.  Vetiver biomass, should Gargiulo choose to cut any of it, can be used as mulching or plowed back into fields providing additional value.


In Puerto Rico, Gargiulo produces 1.5 million 25-lb boxes of top quality tomatoes per harvest. Vetiver may also help Gargiulo address various soil conservation problems where sugar cane was never a solution, and may increase field productivity by increasing soil moisture and acting as a trap crop to flying insects.  Agriflora Tropicals will continue to work with Gargiulo to evaluate and implement these Vetiver bioengineering solutions during this year.

Vetiver as Windbreaker, Gargiulo Puerto Rico


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