Locals in Kingston, Jamaica are flocking to the Ujima Natural Farmer's Market to purchase local, natural, organic, pesticide-free and GMO-free produce and goods. Established in 2014, the Ujima Natural Farmers Market is a unique natural-only market. Vendors at this market are direct beneficiaries of the Farmer-to-Farmer Jamaican Sustainable Farm Enterprise Program(JSFEP). JSFEP is a USAID-funded program implemented by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas (FAVACA), in partnership with local host, The Source Farmer Foundation (SFF), and supported by VEGA. Through Volunteer technical assistance, JSFEP seeks to build local, ecologically based, disaster resistant organic food systems in Jamaica through technology transfer and management expertise that links farmers to markets.
Since its inception in 2014, the Ujima Natural Farmers Market has been a key component for the program to reach its Farmer-to-Farmer Program objectives. Through JSFEP, Jamaican farmers are taught organic farming techniques specific to the climate and typography of Jamaica. The Ujima Natural Farmers Market provides Jamaicans with an opportunity to purchase local and natural products from meats and vegetables to natural detergents and jams. Customers can even enjoy local music and poetry as they shop the Natural Market.
Success of the Ujima Natural Farmer’s Market is made possible through volunteer technical assistance, the heart of the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. F2F sends American Volunteers to provide short-term technical assistance to local beneficiaries in developing countries. In June 2015, Elizabeth Gibbs from North Carolina traveled to Jamaica to provide technical assistance to the Ujima Natural Farmer’s Market. Gibbs, an expert in market management and effective market promotion in small farm production and distribution, brought her skills and knowledge to the local farmers in Jamaica.
“The Ujima Natural Farmers Market is well on its way to success as a Market as well as providing income for the individual participating vendors,” stated Gibbs. Gibbs assessed the organic market, held workshops with farmers and local hosts, and made recommendations to continue the development of the Ujima Natural Farmers Market.
Nearly two years later, in large part due to the technical assistance and expertise to F2F volunteers like Elizabeth Gibbs, the Ujima Market has reached its goals and is looking to grow. The biweekly market would expand to every week and have longer hours. As program production levels continue to rise to meet demand a second site in the city of Portmore, adjacent to Kingston, has been identified based on market analysis and population demographics.
To Learn More about the Ujima Natural Farmer’s Market click here.
To Learn More about the JSFEP Organic Farming School, One One Coco click here.