2013 was a very exciting season for Sustain Haiti Agriculture. By implementing community gardens, Sustain Haiti is able to be a part of helping more people with less cost of labor or risk of failure, allowing even more growth. The end of 2013 saw 3 new community gardens.
When arriving here, we found our agriculture leader, Junior Sencharles, working hard to maintain relations and upkeep of the communities and their gardens. We were happy to find all three of the gardens maintained and functioning, with desire to grow.
We have found three new locations to both teach about new and efficient gardening techniques and also facilitate a healthier and more nutritious diet by investing in a large garden. The first of these locations is in a little mountain community called Trouin. The local pastor of a church found a large open hillside which was used for grazing that the community was willing to donate for a garden. Working closely with the pastor and local agriculture experts, we were able to come up with a plan that includes the preparation, planting, upkeep and harvest of a new garden, including who would receive what and how they will be able to repay the community. We have started preparing the garden and we will be ready to start planting within the next week.
While each community has different needs and plans to address those needs, the basic model for garden produce distribution is largely on a communal needs basis. The gardens each have leaders in charge of maintenance and distribution of the gardens. Families can approach the garden leaders and explain their need. After they receive a portion, they are expected to pitch in, usually by helping to maintain the garden. This ensures sustainability and continual upkeep of the garden, with or without the direct participation of Sustain Haiti, which is our ultimate goal of sustainability.
Our second garden is in a town named Grecie. Preparation has already taken place and we are working on finishing the rows which will grow our first crop. We are very excited about the community’s enthusiasm and desire to finish the garden in order to start planting.
As always, rain is a problem, but we remain optimistic with fingers crossed, ever-hopeful for dark clouds along the horizon.