When village women commit to such a project they must understand that their commitment is to a life style. Live rock farming is very much like any other farming. A farm can not be left alone to care for itself; one has to have a plan in place for the project to work. As much as GARF would like to be in all parts of the World at all times we simply can not be.
We feel that we can commit to teaching people, who show interest and desire to help replenish our wild reefs and educate others. GARF is ready to do the long term follow up needed to make certain all the steps of the project are being followed. If the women become successful at growing tons of rock but have no idea of how to market it or transport it the income will not be forthcoming. The project will fail before it gets off the ground.
ARE LEARNING TO MAKE LIVE ROCK
Each village or rock making rock project will have its own implementations, and resources. We went to the seminar in Veracruz with a plan that Tom Frakes had helped us make in 1996. Tom and Leroy visited Baja for one week that spring. LeRoy told Tom about GARF's plan to help village women make Live Rock. LeRoy had planned to return to Idaho and do the needed research on making and marketing Live Rock. He was certain that cement mixers and other tools would be needed.
Tom reminded LeRoy that it was important to keep the method for forming the base rock as simple as possible. Tom reminded us that in the places where we would be teaching that there would not be much equipment available.
LeRoy and Eddie Postma decided that the entire base rock method had to be designed to use just plastic buckets and shovels. This winter in Mexico we found that all one needed was cement, plastic and time. We came away with so many ideas and dreams. The wild reefs in Mexico are suffering from pollution. One of the Biologists in our class was learning to use artificial reefs to control pollution created by floating cage culture of marine food fish. GARF hopes that Live Rock aquaculture can be used to help solve many problems.
Village based projects can help families PUT MONEY IN THE BANK. Even if at first it is just enough to put food on the table we are making a difference. Providing income for these families is so critical, and it makes so much sense.