Integrated farming…

Project Nourish is actively pursuing solutions for the difficult struggles in the average Haitian life. These struggles include housing, food, employment, clean water, electricity, and fuel. Presently we are building relationships and considering options for building an integrated farming system that integrates agriculture with aquaculture, creates fertilizer, produces electricity, enhances animal & plant production, makes better use of land & ponds for food production, and produces liquid biofuels.

Two boys at a Sugarcane field

 

There is a lot of time and effort and money that has to go into such an undertaking but it has the potential to change thousands, or even millions of lives. Each element of the project is vitally important; the food production, the energy, the employment and so on. We are excited at the prospect of teaming up to make a very significant difference in the lives of many hurting families. The project will have to be funded and it will take some elbow grease from a lot of individuals but we are hopeful to be right in the thick of it in the very near future!

Vegetation growing in enhanced system

 

Nutritious Foods

We’re heading home today. Honestly, I want to stay here. I love the culture, the weather, the relaxed lifestyle…but I miss my friends at home and I miss fresh garden veggies. I really enjoyed the food for the first couple of days, but I tend to eat a lot of vegetables and the Haitian diet is comprised mostly of rice.

We have had a group of women cooking most of our meals; we ate twice at friends’ homes; and we ate once at a restaurant. We were certainly treated very well and served the best of what was available, but I still think it was a good representation of the types of food (though perhaps not the quantity) usually eaten in this part of Haiti. Every meal included rice and beans. Often a sauce with onions is poured over the rice. Most meals included chicken—sometimes fish, pork, or beef (but I think the Haitians often go without meat). Fried plantains are common. Another common food is pikliz (spicy pickled carrots and cabbage). A few times, we had soup containing sweet potatoes, dumplings, carrots and a variety of meats. Often fruits are used to make juices or eaten as snacks. Coconuts, bananas, mangos, and various citrus fruits are pretty common. And of course, sugar cane is always nearby.

We’re here to help, so I have been thinking about the nutrition in the food. I’m glad to see a variety of fruits as well as sweet potatoes, beans, and carrots. These foods have great nutritive value. I wish there were more green vegetables on the plate. Many of the greens I’m used to are cold weather crops, but there are plenty of healthy greens that can be grown in the tropical climate of Haiti. One of my goals is to help farmers in Cabois start growing different crops for a healthier diet.

Sustainable Agriculture

Cabois is nestled in the foothills of some impressive mountains. Along the road, we passed many vegetable gardens. Looking up at the steep mountainsides, I could see planted fields. Being a student of ecology and an amateur vegetable gardener, I took some interest. I saw one field being tilled quite heavily and fear that it may be overworked which will lead to loss of nutrients from the soil. I was still more concerned by the manner of farming on the steep slopes. That type of terrain requires special practices to preserve the land. Erosion of the topsoil is irreversible and devastating for the crops. When I get home, I will research best practices for agriculture. If you have knowledge and experience, please get in touch.