Not only is composting already underway in Grand Boulage (the primary target community for the Feeding Families Project) but this past spring, small gardens began to blossom producing an abundance of vegetables. As people observed their neighbors’ success, they began inquiring about training and materials to start their own gardens, expanding the vegetable garden project. There are now 24 people who have begun cultivating their own home gardens and compost piles, and approximately 150 who have received seeds.
In order to ensure the success of the project, vegetable production sites are continuously monitored and evaluated. This past spring, there were six home visits in which eleven compost piles and five gardens were evaluated. After a thorough analysis, it was discovered that one of the major problems facing these sites was that chickens were destroying the gardens. Farming families were encouraged to protect the gardens with simple materials that they had at their disposal. Twelve of the families in the program received materials to aid in the fence construction which will help to protect their gardens. Some of these gardens are shown in the photos accompanying this update.
As part of the tree nursery component of the Feeding Families project, we have a goal of planting thousands of trees within the Grand Boulage Region. Under manager Yvronel Andre’s guidance, over 3,000 trees were planted to reforest the area, and a goal developed to distribute 4,000 trees throughout the area by May of 2010. These seedlings will include Kas for terracing, Ludeana and Ciruela for rabbit food and Dolivs and fruit trees for humans.
Training is a critical component of project success. A one-day training session has already been held in the Grand Boulage School which focused on vegetable gardening, composting and pest management. The training session was a success as not only was valuable information provided to local farmers, but the participants were mostly young adults. These young adults are part of the generation that will be the leaders in the struggle to become self-sufficient.
In conjunction with training sessions, other measures are being taken to expand the vision of future community leaders. A group of 30 young people from Grand Boulage and the surrounding mountain communities will attend a two week summer camp in Pandiassou focusing on agriculture and food production, co-sponsored by the Feeding Families Project and Friends of Haiti.
Rabbit production is another important component of the project. In May, three leading rabbit producers from Grand Boulage were provided advanced training by Makouti Agro-Enterprise in Cap Haitian. The trainees returned enthused and have since been helping their community understand the importance of working together in order to allow for a continuous supply of rabbits for market, breeding and consumption. Cage wire and water bottles have been purchased with your generous donations to enable expansion of the rabbit project. And program collaborators such as Farmer to Farmer and Makouti are providing follow-up training and recommendations to the producers in the community.
The Feeding Families Project is making great progress and is affecting countless lives in the Grand Boulage area. Working together with Friends of Haiti, Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Program and Makouti, the project will help Grand Boulage come closer to their goal of being a self-sufficient society. All of this success and impact cannot have been done without the support from donors. We would like to formally thank all of donors for their generous contribution and hope that many will continue to contribute to the success of the Feeding Families Project.
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Director, Farmer to Farmer Program