After I finished undergrad with a degree in Agriculture Development at Texas A&M University, I worked in agricultural technical extension and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development in Ecuador as a Peace Corps Volunteer. During my time there I focused primarily on the post-harvest processing and other value-adding and distribution strategies in the coffee sector. Later in my service, I focused more on training community members and new volunteers on the set up and management of school gardens in addition to planning and facilitating team-building workshops with several budding SMEs.
Since the Peace Corps, I taught at a charter school in Austin, TX and stayed involved in community agriculture as a volunteer with the Sustainable Food Center in addition to doing some political organizing and campaign work.
Finally, in 2009, I went back to school for an MA in Sustainable International Development at The Heller School: Brandeis University in Boston. In 2010, in fulfilling some of my MA requirements, I traveled to Damascus, Syria, where I worked with Bidna Capoeira as their Social Marketing and Development Coordinator and as an Asst. Capoeira Instructor in the evenings. In the spring of 2011, while still associated with Brandeis, I arrived in Copan Ruinas, Honduras to begin work with UrbanPromise: Honduras as their Youth and Organizational Development Assistant.
My hope is to continue doing development work with a stronger focus on policy and the bigger picture of international agricultural development.
I’m aiming to get involved with the larger private and public sector actors in agriculture and policy that affect the allocation and strategy for developing global food resources. Although my experiences still point to the truth of global problems yielding to local solutions, I feel that the global community needs to learn to listen in a right way.
In my spare time, I am getting back to the books and videos and trying to internalize as many strategies of the growing Permaculture movement as I can. Thinking about answers is wonderful, but until I have done the work with my own hands, nothing will grow and nothing will change for the better.
I worked with Skillshare.com to provide an online course to teach people the concepts behind successfully growing healthy and happy plants, both in and out of the house. My course can be found here: Turn Your Brown Thumb Green!
For more information about specific projects or consultations, feel free to contact me at ERay.Gard (at) gmail.com.
Thanks for reading!