Volunteer Stories

Amanda Newton


Farmer-to-Farmer Middle East and South Africa

Name: Amanda Newton
Current title/profession: Horticulture Professor at Eastern Florida State College
Current hometown: Melbourne, FL
Areas of expertise: Pest management, entomology


Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer Middle East and North Africa
Location of the project: Lebanon
Organization that sent the volunteer: Land O'Lakes Venture37


Dr. Amada Newton, Horticulture Professor at Eastern Florida State College, volunteered to work for the Farmer-to-Farmer Food Safety and Quality program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37, to remotely train youth and farmers in urban and rural areas on home gardening practices.

Lebanese communities are facing a new threat of food security due to the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent extreme devaluation of the local currency against the US dollar. Because the country imports more than 80% of its input supplies, product prices are increasing exponentially making it difficult for families to purchase basic food items. Home farming and planting abandoned land can be a crucial way for families and communities to meet their dietary needs, after receiving the right trainings on how to successfully grow their own food.

Dr. Amanda Newton delivered a series of webinars, training individuals living in rural and urban areas on different agricultural topics including soil composting, fruit and vegetables production in containers, crop rotation, soil nutrition management, control of plant pests and diseases, vertical gardening and seed saving. The volunteer expert provided the trainees with guidelines and strategies to effectively implement home gardening practices, enhance production, and protect their produce from any damage.

Dr. Newton volunteered 130 hours of her time on a period of three months, conducting a series of 31 webinar remotely. More than 180 attendees learned how to obtain a fresh and sustainable source of fruits and vegetables for their families at lower costs and higher quality and had the opportunity to receive professional advice from the expert and share their gardening experiences.



Home gardening plantation



Adoption of Dr. Amanda's trainings



Adoption of Dr. Amanda's trainings


“Very interesting ideas for home gardening containers options” said Mrs. Ghada Henoud. She added “I never grew any kind of fruits or vegetables in my life but after this training things got easier and I am excited. I think I will be successful, and I will be able to grow and produce my own fruits and vegetables." - Mrs. Ghada Henoud, participant in Home Gardening Training sessions

“I started a rooftop gardening project as well as composting project” said Mr. Serge Mrad. He added “I started planting Rocca, cucumber, eggplant, and coriander and I can’t wait to share with you the results of my little garden.” - Mr. Serge Mrad, participant in Home Gardening Training sessions


Written by Land O'Lakes Venture37

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