Charlene Nash: VEGA Volunteer of the Year for Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP 2016
Name: Charlene Nash
Current title/profession: Senior Horticulturalist at the Tennessee Aquarium
Current hometown: Chattanooga, TN
Areas of expertise: Horticulture
Name of project: Zambia Farmer-to-Farmer SPSP, Senegal Farmer-to-Farmer Project
Volunteer Scope of Work: Improving peanut seed production (Zambia), composing and conservation agriculture (Senegal), soil fertility improvement (Senegal)
Location of the project: Zambia (1), Senegal (2)
Duration of assignment(s): 48 days
Organization that sent the volunteer: NCBA CLUSA
Charlene Nash has volunteered three times with National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) F2F projects this year for a total of 48 days, once in Zambia under the VEGA SPSP, and twice in Senegal. In Zambia, Charlene supported the Chipata District Farmers Association and Community Oriented Development Program members in improving peanut seed production. During the improved soil fertility portion of the training, Charlene introduced compost tea and demonstrated how a solar air and water pump can be used to brew the tea, which is poured over the soil and the compost. Charlene left the device with the farmers and gave instructions so they could each brew tea for their field and then pass it along to other farmers.
Charlene also worked with a group of farmers on marketing strategies for selling their peanut seeds to other local farmers and buyers. She helped them design a logo for their seeds and donated money to the program to get the first 1,000 labels printed. As of September 2016 these farmers are now selling their peanut seed to local buyers in the newly labeled packaging.
Charlene’s dedication to the F2F Program goes far beyond her volunteer work on the ground in Africa. In 2012, Charlene started a nonprofit called Soil Resources Initiative to raise funds to purchase inputs and training supplies for her F2F assignments. Over the past four years she has raised approximately $15,000! Charlene’s goal is to expand Soil Resources Initiative’s fundraising efforts after she retires and can dedicate more time to the nonprofit.
Charlene Nash’s impact is not only in the number of assignments she’s completed, but also in her tireless efforts in the U.S. to educate her community about the important work the U.S. government is doing to promote sustainable international development through the F2F Program.
Charlene, originally from Columbia, South Carolina, is the Senior Horticulturalist at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she has worked since 1992.