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Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew

by Seed Programs International
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
Revive 1000 Haiti Gardens After Hurricane Matthew
St. Barnabas: Pulling bok choy for the market.
St. Barnabas: Pulling bok choy for the market.

Hello friends!

It’s hard to believe that three months have already passed. And what a three months! 20,000 packets of seed arrived in August just in time to reach storage in Port-au-Prince before Hurricane Irma made its way through the Caribbean. Even though Haiti was spared a direct hit, the high winds and heavy rains were hard on farmers who had just begun to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

As our partners are regrouping, our agronomist, Stephany, has been coordinating with partners on the ground to deliver seed and learn more about who they are and the communities they work with. As of today, half of the seed — 10,000 packets — has been distributed! 2,000 packets have reached each of five partners, so we’d like to tell you a little about them.

 

Tree Angels for Haiti
Tree Angels for Haiti was featured in our last update and we’re happy to report that they have new seed! We’ve been working with them for several years through their Seeds for School Supplies and Francine’s Garden programs. They’ve planted over 70,000 trees through their reforestation program in addition to their educational and agricultural programs.

ICOFE
ICOFE has been an SPI partner for almost one year. Their program is in St. Nicolas and we’re looking forward to hearing more about their community collaboration.

St. Barnabas Center for Agriculture (Centre D’Agriculture St. Barnabas)
St. Barnabas Agricultural College (CASB) is a center for agriculture education and its practical application within Northern Haiti. They work toward change by training agricultural technicians as part of a comprehensive effort toward agricultural and economic development. They received their first SPI shipment in 2015, and you can see a photo from their garden in this report (Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service).

Consider Haiti
Consider Haiti is another partner we’ve worked with since 2015. Their mission is to promote the health and welfare of children in Haiti, and they work with over 600 children each year through their four core programs. Their sustainable nutrition program features an agricultural component, which is where we come in. And bonus — they’re our neighbors here in Asheville, NC!

Little Footprints, Big Steps
Little Footprints, Big Steps has partnered with SPI since the end of 2016 in an effort to recover after Hurricane Matthew. Their local agronomist works closely with families during outreach trips to provide access to seeds, training, tools, and other support for a successful harvest. Earlier this year, they wrote:

“Thank you for helping the recovery and rejuvenation of Haiti’s beautiful ‘sud’! Vegetable gardens are growing in abundance. Not only will the children and their families that we are working directly with have a clear and healthy opportunity to break their cycle of poverty, but their communities will have a healthy food source and the land and ecosystem can begin to recover as well.”

 

What’s next?

This is just the start. More partners are lined up to receive seed in the coming months and we’ll tell you about them as seed is distributed. In the meantime, Naima will continue working with Stephanie to conduct partner assessments and learn where support will be most beneficial. Stay tuned!

Always, thank you for your support. It means the world to us and to the folks who have access to good seed, supplies, and training through our partner programs!

Little Footprints, Big Steps: Agronomist & Family
Little Footprints, Big Steps: Agronomist & Family
Tree Angels for Haiti: A Man & His Vegetables
Tree Angels for Haiti: A Man & His Vegetables
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Tree Angels for Haiti with students
Tree Angels for Haiti with students

In our last report, we told you that we were in the planning phase for the SPI Haiti Partnership Network stakeholder meeting. Well, it’s been three months and we’ve had to adapt our approach to respond to the reality of the situation on the ground.

One partner writes, “The environment in many rural areas was completely destroyed - all trees and plants destroyed. They are slowly growing back and being replanted, but in the meantime there is much less shade, more scarce environment, a huge lack of food security for rural communities that live off of the land, and ridiculous inflation...of the cost of living in general.”

Another partner writes, “The community of Leogane is mainly rural and depends greatly on locally grown produce and fruits. Already hit very hard by the 2010 earthquake, and hit annually by a multitude of floods and mudslides, [those living in] Leogane...haven’t been able to get back on their feet ever since."

Although centralized stakeholder meetings have been successful in other areas where we have a larger concentration of partners, this won’t work in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew not only destroyed gardens and the land to grow gardens, but in some areas, it completely erased an important component necessary for a stakeholder meeting: roads.

Roads that previously provided a direct route are now in bad repair, or washed out and closed to traffic. In some areas, a four-hour trip before the hurricane now takes a whole day. Logistics in Haiti were not easy before the hurricane. It became even more difficult after the storm, especially for those in rural areas.

Program Director Naima Dido has been working with our partners to reassess our approach and move forward in a way that is inclusive and efficient for everyone. Working with Stephany, a Haitian agronomist we met while she was visiting Asheville, we are coordinating the network by conducting partner interviews. These interviews will help us better understand each partner’s resources and support gaps, and how they can best to participate in the network.

Our aim is to:

  • Identify partner needs, focusing on seed distribution and training
  • Deepen our relationships with partners to improve our support role
  • Strengthen partners’ capacity to share skills and information through collaboration with other partners
  • Improve SPI’s understanding of our partners through one on training

After the initial interviews, we’ll group partners based on their current capacity and support gaps in order to plan future partner gatherings and stakeholder meetings in each Department (Haiti has ten Departments, which are similar to states).

Our partners continue to support their communities as we adapt our support approach. 24,300 packets have been sent since the last report and we’re happy with our progress in connecting partners on the ground with other Haitian-led groups that can provide longer-term support. It’s been eight months since the hurricane hit, and many partners are slowly shifting their focus from emergency response to rebuilding.

Our partner Tree Angels for Haiti recently told us a little about what they’re doing with the seeds: “We also have a component in our education program in which we teach the school children how to plant seeds and then provide seeds for them to grow at school as a class, and take to their homes to grow with their family.”

We’re always grateful and humbled by our partners and supporters. We hope you find inspiration in our partners’ accomplishments and continue to support this project as they rebuild their communities. Thank you!

Students learning how to plant seeds
Students learning how to plant seeds
Students planting SPI seeds
Students planting SPI seeds
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Students Learning to Garden
Students Learning to Garden

Hello Haiti supporters!

We've had a busy few months following up on our initial shipments to Haiti, negotiating new requests for seed and support, and networking with Haitian partners on the ground in preparation for the SPI Haitian Partnership Network stakeholder meeting. Although the greatest need is still for providing high quality seeds to replace the gardens and seed resources that were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, we're also working with partners to take steps steps toward rebuilding the community systems that were disrupted by Matthew.

Since our last update, we've shipped 4,700 packets of seed to four partners. Something I really like about our partnerships is knowing that seeds usually reach more farmers and families than those who are supported by our immediate partner. For instance, two partners recently reported that their shipments were subsequently shared with other organizations — seven organizations from one partner and five local schools from another. Having partners on the ground and invested in the community allows our seed to reach people we could not have reached on our own. This is only one of the reasons we love our partners!

Our partner Lynette received 1,000 packets of seed and writes, "We focused on rebuilding a nursery and adding security to the area where our trees and community vegetable gardens are cultivated. We also helped prepare space for more gardens at private homes. The seeds will be dispersed among about 35 families to start. We also gave nutritional education, seeds and training to the administration staff at 5 local schools. Hopefully students will receive vegetables from the school gardens."

Martha received 600 packets. She shares, "The seeds were all given out to be planted by the local residents. The picture of the man in orange receiving the seeds is the agriculture teacher at the high school, who is teaching his students to garden. The children at the orphanage are excited to plant their seeds and take care of their garden. All of the residents who received the seeds are excited about the opportunity to raise their own food. Our [church team] is thankful for your gift of the seeds. It allowed us an opportunity to be of service to the people we worked with in a new and productive way. My hope is to continue our garden building work in the future."

Your support makes a world of difference by providing Haitian farmers, children, students, and families with access to resources that they likely wouldn't have access to otherwise. I hope you feel encouraged knowing how far one shipment of seeds can go — I know we are.

Thank you!

High School Agricultural Teacher
High School Agricultural Teacher
Gardens are hard work!
Gardens are hard work!
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Photo by Jon Brack
Photo by Jon Brack

Seed Programs International is not a first responder. Instead, we focus on long-term relief by building strong relationships with local leaders and organizations who teach us how best to support their communities. When a community begins to recover from a disaster like Hurricane Matthew, we rely on these partners, who are on the ground and embedded within the community, to assess the local situation and inform our response.

Last October, Hurricane Matthew flooded away crops that people were relying on to feed themselves through the coming months. And the resources to quickly replant, like seeds and fertilizers, have not been readily available.

“And we're seeing, also, in fact, [Haitian farmers] lost their crops. And to be able to reach the next season, they need seeds today to restart the culture - that those seeds are not available. And there have not been distribution of seeds so far. So this is a really long-term problem, they're thinking. … And if you can't plant the seeds now, people won't be eating next year.” — NPR, Interview with Haiti correspondent from November 26

We’ve been working with both new and long-time partners to begin addressing this anticipated seed shortage; we've sent 16 seed shipments throughout the country since the hurricane hit. Our partners, like the people they work with, are resilient, hopeful, and hard-working. Many people are far from the livelihoods they had before the hurricane, but with the support of SPI and our partners, they are taking steps toward restoring their food and economic security.

You can get a good sense of what some of our partners are feeling from June, our US-based coordinating partner for one of our long-term Haitian partners, Ayiti KonseVet (AKV):

There has rarely been a year without something – political chaos and instability, hurricane, earthquake, drought, uncontrolled inflation – to at least partially upend the steps forward made by AKV and the myriad other rural organizations in our efforts to restore a modicum of food security and environmental health to this small, and to date resilient, nation. This year continued that pattern, with Hurricane Mitch cutting us down considerably: school gardens washed out, classrooms and homes destroyed, goats, sheep and rabbits drowned...

A major focus this year is the spread of school gardens to communities which recognize the myriad values of educating children in the interdependence of human and environmental health, via their becoming competent gardeners and, by extension, community leaders...

All 10 literacy classes continue, some with students sitting on rock outcroppings in the field where their classroom was, pre-Mitch (Ma Wouj [a women's group]). As Wedly writes, the 180 adult students are learning not only reading, writing, and basic math – but are engaged in group discussions on community governance and how to resolve the myriad daily problems offered by life in rural Haiti: another manifestation of “Yes we can!!“

More and more our focus is on offering a model for rural revival and renaissance of small scale INFORMED agriculture, hoping that we have identified one of the SEVERAL essential foundations that will allow eventual Haitian liberation from...foreign dependence…

I join Wedly again in thanking you all for your continued support of our work...  — June

 

Thank you for your support in providing people with the supplies they need to recover from Hurricane Matthew, feed themselves, and restore their livelihoods!

Farmers starting a new garden.
Farmers starting a new garden.
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Organization Information

Seed Programs International

Location: Asheville, NC - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Peter Marks
Asheville, NC United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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