WERA1004: Agricultural and Community Development in the American Pacific
Statement of Issues and JustificationThe American Pacific faces a unique set of challenges. While all of the island entities have a relationship with the United States, each is somewhat different with unique internal government structures. The total landmass of these islands is small, but it covers an area larger than the continental United States. The people living on these islands are culturally diverse, speak a variety of languages, and are struggling with the issues of preserving language and culture while incorporating the benefits of technology. Most of the island economies are struggling and lack good infrastructures. The majority of the food consumed in the American Pacific is imported with selection dictated by the importers and supply subject to shipping problems. Island life and agriculture are vastly different form the U.S. mainland and need unique approaches to develop appropriate solutions. Therefore, the Pacific Land Grant Institutions have joined together to focus efforts and resources in areas that have the greatest potential impact on their under served populations.
The American Pacific shares much in common with Hawaii and Alaska. In the islands, communities are isolated by the ocean; in Alaska, communities are isolated by distance and the lack of roads. The island and Alaskan entities have research projects, extension programs, and college instructional degrees that address similar issues, such as distance education, and community sustainability. This coordinating committee facilitates the work of the six Land Grant Institutions to solve common problems, increase productivity, share expertise, and provide capacity building. This partnership focuses on major regional issues of creating sustainable agriculture, protecting against invasive species, building stable economies and communities, promoting food safety and security, and promoting healthy lifestyles. The stakeholder base is large and diversified. While no one is excluded, farmers, families, and native populations are likely to comprise the majority of the clients.
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