R.A.I.S.E. Jamaica Video Project

Good friend Nick Vrettos invited me to produce a video for an organic/sustainable farming cooperative project he helped initiate in Highgate area of Jamaica, St. Mary’s parish.

Nick and his family spent a few years in Jamaica as missionaries, primarily building houses for extremely poor residents. But as they listened to the community and saw the effect of the houses, Nick and Jody – along with community advisers, staff and supporters – began to realize that what Jamaicans in this region needed was jobs, not houses.

Nick said building houses did meet an immediate need, but that mission teams would have to rebuild or repair the same houses in a few years because the people had no means of sustaining themselves.

Enter the idea for R.A.I.S.E. (Restoring Agriculture and Investing in Sustainable Enterprise) Jamaica – an organic farming cooperative, school and working farm that is modeling economic sustainability in the region. Farming had been controlled by “whites” in the region for a long time, so there is still a stigma that farming only entails working for someone else’s gain. Not so with RAISE, individual farms are owned and produce is sold collectively to gain efficiencies.

[Note: As of 1/20/2011, a tight cut of the video is done. I’ll be working to release the 12-15 minute introductory video in early February 2012.]

One of the great pleasures of this shoot was having friend and colleague Scott Griessel of Creatista along. While I was technically the director, Scott’s experience, questions and footage added a great deal to our time in Jamaica and the final product.

Here are a few photos of us at work Oct. 10-14, 2011…

Me setting up an interview shot outside the “model home” constructed on RAISE Jamaica’s working farm.

Farm manager Samuel Heidal (left) talks with R.A.I.S.E. program director Nick Vrettos.

Scott Griessel smells “quick stick”, an aromatic plant goats love to eat.

Handheld video interview (Canon 5dMkII, 24-105mm IS lens) with Samuel Heidal, the farm manager and chief educator on organic farming for RAISE Jamaica.

Scott Griessel pauses during our busy schedule to eat lunch at a local cook shop (roadside restaurant) where some of RAISE Jamaica’s organic produce is used in food preparation.

Scott Griessel talks to a man calling himself “Black X” as we shoot some scenic photos overlooking a bay on the north coast of Jamaica.

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