Supporting Small Farms
Student Gardens, Community Seed Bank, Support for Small Farms
While agriculture has always been a component of our work in Petit Trou and at St. Paul's School, 2014 saw CHP place a deeper focus on the importance and potential of supporting agriculture and small farms in the community.
Our Student Gardens Program, initially led by Haitian agronomist and current CHP advisor, Kenel Pierre, focused support on agricultural education for students and farming families at St. Paul's School. This included classroom education, home visits, tree planting days, and pilot programs in lime and Moringa trees in neighboring mountain communities.
This foundation in agricultural work was useful and impactful when in the fall of 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated crops, homes, and livelihoods in the region. Our leaders in Haiti came together quickly to consider how we could create long-lasting impact for the region. After community meetings and dialogue with existing local organizations, we decided to start a seed bank in Petit Trou, with the goal of helping small farmers replant and assisting families in putting local food back on their tables.
Since then, over 66,000 pounds of seed have been distributed. These seeds are sold to community members at a great discount and with care taken not to harm the existing seed economy in the region.
Together with Raphael, our full-time staff agronomist, we are now evaluating how we can help the seed bank grow, adapt, and continue to support farming in a way that is durable and community-driven. We have introduced a variety of healthy crops and vegetables and have also deepened our work with Moringa, a resilient tree with remarkable nutritional qualities. We have also begun helping small farmers install water catchment systems and are seeking new, community-led ways to help small farmers in the region thrive.