Backyard Garden Project in Leogane, Haiti
How do you go from encouraging people to plant trees to promoting backyard gardens?
Our slogan is “Help us Reforest Haiti”, so one can say why is a group who is passionate about planting trees and reforestation encouraging and supporting backyard gardens?
The answer is very simple. As we continue to teach and educate about the importance of tree planting and bringing back forests in Haiti, we decided to help create an agricultural program that will deter from tree cutting and become economically sustainable. In Haiti, tree cutting is part of surviving. People cut trees for income. The trees are either turned into lumber, charcoal or used for construction or fencing. If the tree cutting was done in an organized way, it would be less of an issue. Unfortunately, it’s a chaotic movement that’s not regulated and has led the country to an impoverished condition.
Three years ago, our organization, thought it would be wise to create a planting program that would serve several purposes. We devised a program that would promote wellness, financial growth and, at the same time, deter people from tree cutting. From this idea, Francine’s Gardens was born. Although full of hope, Francine’s garden program had its challenges. However, recently we received a very interesting report from our site supervisor that helped me to realize that the people are finally buying into this program! Soon it will truly be the backup program that will allow us to continue our tree planting programs.
As the backyard gardens start generating income and the people will finally be able to sell their produce, the Tree Angels will be able to continue our mission planting trees without the fear that they will be cut down. I was especially delighted when I read Sedchina’s outstanding report and saw the photos she sent this week on her Facebook post (If you think that what I’m saying is intriguing, please see report below).
I felt that Sedchina’s post was a gift for me. Yes, a gift. You see, since the beginning of the Francine’s garden backyard project, I knew that someone would come along and help us capture the attention of those in need within these communities where gardening used to be the primary activity. I hoped for someone to help us help them understand how gardening could multiply their efforts and may be the answer to their economic problems. This report from our Haitian friends gives us hope and shows the significant progress the TAFH are making.
In today’s report, I will send you the details as reported by the 12 participants I visited. They’ve asked to take part of the backyard garden project, and have received training and were given seedlings instead of seeds.
- 3 supervisions were done in Brach
- 1 in Lower Mirathon
- 8 supervisions at Merceri (petite rivière)
A few gardens were not supervised due to the absence of the landowners. In Brache, I visited the gardens of Christine Luc, Myrlande Louis, Yvena Alexandra.
Christine Luc reported that she had to remove her banana and potato plants from the ground, so she can clear the land for the garden. However, she claims that she didn’t have any difficulty preparing the ground. The seedlings that we gave her are bell peppers, tomato, and okra. She hopes to grow her garden even more after this harvest.
Myrlande Louis reported that her soil was dry, but after she watered and mixed it, she was able to plant. She planted peppers, okra, and tomatoes. Myrlande likes the initiative and wants to continue to be part of this movement because she sees that this can help her move forward.
Yvena Alexandre’s soil had a lot of rocks and full of broken glass from old glass bottles. She watered and mixed the soil and created rows to plant. Yvena planted the hot peppers, tomatoes and okra seedlings. She hopes that with TAFH she can talk less and work more! She wants to stay focused and is hoping to grow bell peppers and watermelon in the next garden.
From Petite Rivière we have Centhia Germain, Magela Boulin, Shepsler Ismeus, Fritz Germain, Ulis Cilvia Meide, Antoinise, Robertine Mildor and Natacha Joseph. I will send you a generic report for those because their soil is similar and they all had similar environmental conditions. The Petite Riviere people have the same type of soil. To prepare for the gardens, they all got together with pitchforks turned the soil and created rows. They worked as a team to increase their chances of success. They all got peppers and tomatoes and they have water wells in their yards, so there will be no difficulty to water the plants. They all thanked TAFH for this great project and would like to receive other seeds Melons, papaya, onions, potatoes. They are very grateful to have received tomatoes because they know that they are very valuable.
Thank you very much for this opportunity. Although visiting the fields can be physically challenging due to road problems and location know that I take pride in doing this and will continue to work hard on this project.
We are excited to see the growth that will develop from these gardens as others become aware and encourage their friends and families to participate as well! If you would like to learn more about the gardens or how you may become a part of this exciting chapter in the TAFH history, please contact a TAFH member, leave a comment and/ or visit our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/treeangelsforhaiti/) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/treeangelsfor_haiti/?hl=en) pages for more details.