Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti

by SOIL
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Support Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti
Harvesting beets grown in SOIL compost
Harvesting beets grown in SOIL compost

We are pleased to announce that SOIL is a winner of the 2016 Humanitarian Water and Food Award! Founded in Denmark in 2008, the WAF Award promotes global best practices in water and food security initiatives.

With billions around the world still relying on water sources that are polluted by human wastes, and declining soil fertility disrupting global agricultural productivity, we still have a long way to go – but we’re excited that more and more people are learning about the power of Ecological Sanitation to address these problems.

Thank you for supporting SOIL's work in Haiti to strengthen sustainable agriculture production in Haiti. Without the support of people like you we would not be able to do the work that we do.

Test plots of peanuts at the SOIL farm
Test plots of peanuts at the SOIL farm
Preparing fields for an onion experiment
Preparing fields for an onion experiment

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Kettelyne (on left) harvests hot peppers
Kettelyne (on left) harvests hot peppers

Haiti is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world, in large part due to soil infertility and erosion that impede farming. SOIL’s compost helps to restore the soil and raise crops that are healthier, can better sustain drought, and yield larger harvests. But this important work also requires the support and skills of Haitian famers.

In order to get the word out about our compost and to support the capacity of local farmers, SOIL regularly hosts university students for short-term agricultural internships. SOIL’s agricultural interns are all agronomy students at local universities who come to SOIL to fulfill their internship requirement during their last year of schooling. At SOIL they gain practical hands-on experience in lab work, research, and compost production, and some students design and execute experiments in collaboration with the SOIL agricultural department as part of their senior thesis project. 

To better understand the potential impact of a SOIL internship, we interviewed some of our recent agricultural interns. Here are some highlights from those interviews:

Kettleyne

Studying at University of Polyvalan D’Ayiti (UPH), Kettelyne is finishing her degree in Agriculture with a focus on Natural Resources.  She was recently married and her husband studies agriculture as well. Kettleyne and her husband both plan to write their theses on the effects of SOIL compost. After her agricultural internship with SOIL, Kettleyne also returned to SOIL to learn how to construct SOIL’s EkoLakay toilets, and we’ve been seeing her a lot as these construction skills are winning her contracts with us to build more toilets! 

Kettelyne said “The SOIL internship helped me so much. It also helps my school since other students have the chance to get hands-on experience with SOIL. It can be hard for students to get experience in the field, which is so important for an understanding of agriculture. I was really struck by the professionalism of the SOIL office as well -  I didn’t expect to learn so much about professionalism.”

Julien

Julien graduated from the University of Roi Henry Christophe (URHC) and is working in an agricultural partnership with USAID/Avanse distributing plantain plants across the countryside. He also has his own personal farm that he works on with Marckindy, SOIL’s Agricultural Research Assistant. 

“Julien works hard. I’m glad that we’ve continued collaborating together on our farm,” said Marckindy. 

Stanley 

Stanley is finishing school at the University of Limbe (UCRHC) and is preparing to defend his thesis. He wrote his thesis on a cabbage experiment that he completed using several dosages of SOIL compost. Conducting this research helped Stanley refine his techniques for studying sustainable farming techniques, and he looks forward to sharing his results with Haitian farmers. 

“I felt very comfortable at SOIL. My university really appreciated how this internship oriented me in my work.”

Selling eggplants grown on the SOIL farm
Selling eggplants grown on the SOIL farm
Comparing okra harvests
Comparing okra harvests

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Growing food in Haiti
Growing food in Haiti

There are a lot of fish metaphors in the development world: Are you teaching a man to fish or simply giving him a one? Can you imagine changing the whole stream? Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka said, "Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry." We are proud that SOIL's work has been recognized by the Ashoka Foundation for exactly the type of entrepreneurial spirit Drayton spoke about.

At SOIL, we want to make sure that our approach is offering integrated solutions that are carefully researched and implemented. In order to solve the sanitation crisis, SOIL takes an ecological approach that turns waste into compost, and thus provides a solution to the agricultural and food security crises at the same time. Our revolutionary proposal is this: there is no such thing as waste! For "waste" can always be transformed into something healthy, beautiful, or useful. And this applies even to poop!

But back to the topic at hand: fish. But this time it’s not a metaphor. Yesterday we harvested the fish from the fish pond at our Cap-Haitien office! It was an aquaponics experiment that our agricultural team was performing in which chicken poop was integrated into the fish pond ecosystem. Our Agricultural Director Romel took the lead. After carefully weighing the fish and recording the data, it was first-come first-serve for the SOIL staff. We’ll be celebrating the revolutionary work of our tireless agricultural team with a fish fry tonight!

SOIL Agriculture Research Intern harvesting beets!
SOIL Agriculture Research Intern harvesting beets!
Weighing the fish harvest!
Weighing the fish harvest!

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Frantz, middle, a SOIL intern in the lab
Frantz, middle, a SOIL intern in the lab

This month at our Cap-Haitien SOIL office, we welcomed a group of five new agricultural interns: Kettelyne, Marie Jocelyne, Emmanuel, Stanley, and Julien. Coming from local universities, they will be performing experiments with SOIL compost to test just how much of a difference it can make for local farmers - both in terms of yield and increased profits at market prices. This research helps them complete the requiremnts of hteir agronomy degrees while also giving them valuable hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture. And their research also helps SOIL as we use their findings to market our compost and improve the information we provide to farmers. 

In the past, we have found that applying SOIL compost to peppers could increase a farmer’s profits by over $5,000 per hectare. This is spectacular news for Haiti. This beautiful country was once known as the Pearl of the Antilles for its incredibly rich and fertile soil, however more recently agricultural productivity has been in the decline due to soil erosion and lack of access to soil amendments and fertilizer. We look forward to supporting the agricultural experiments of our new interns, as together we work to ensure that farmers are able to make a decent living from their work.

SOIL is proud to be supporting these promising Haitian youth in their studies. We believe that access to education, livelihood opportunities, health, and ecological growth go hand-in-hand.

 

 

Photo credits: Vic Hinterlang

SOIL agricultural interns busy in the SOIL nursery
SOIL agricultural interns busy in the SOIL nursery

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Organization Information

SOIL

Location: Sherburne, New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SOILhaiti
Project Leader:
Eliza Parish
Sherburne, New York United States

Funded Project!

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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