I've been watching the news about the disaster in Haiti. I can't help but wonder as I see hungry people on the tv if the people there garden or do they just rely on imported food. Does anyone have an answer to this? It would be nice if a seed company would take donations from people to buy seeds and fruit trees for the people of Haiti. Does anyone know if this is happening already?
FYI...Dave's Garden has had 6 members sign up from Haiti. Only one (SunnyFlo signed up in October) is a subscribing member and she's only started one thread in beginning vegetables. It would probably be very helpful after the damage is cleaned up, but at this point, I don't think they even have water available to garden.
The disaster is that the earthquake hit their capitol city, affecting three million people. It spared the countryside, but now people are fleeing to the countryside.
They do garden, and they're very resourceful people. I haven't been there, but know several Haitians who live here on St Croix. I like them, they work hard. The language barrier is considerable, they speak a French-based Patois.
There are just too many people there who don't have a decent chance for education or employment. The Government has always been corrupt, and the population extremely poor.
Here is a blog written by someone who has lived there for seven years, working to get clean drinking water to people.
Thank you for the thread .! I found some information on the problem that Haiti has suffered through decades of deforestation.
Deforestation in Haiti is a severe environmental problem. In 1923, over 60% of Haiti's land was forested; by 2006, less than 2% was. Deforestation accelerated after Hurricane Hazel downed trees throughout the island in 1954. Beginning in about 1954, concessionaires stepped up their logging operations, in response to Port-au-Prince's intensified demand for charcoal, thus accelerating deforestation, which had already become a problem because of environmentally unsound agricultural practices, rapid population growth, and increased competition over scarce land.The most direct effect of deforestation is soil erosion. An estimated 15,000 acres (61 km2) of topsoil are washed away each year, with erosion also damaging other productive infrastructure such as dams, irrigation systems, roads, and coastal marine ecosystems. Soil erosion also lowers the productivity of the land, worsens droughts, and eventually leads to desertification, all of which increase the pressure on the remaining land and trees.
Most of Haiti's governments paid only lip service to the imperative of reforestation.As was the case in other areas of Haitian life, the main impetus to act came from abroad. USAID's Agroforestry Outreach Program, Projč Pyebwa, was the country's major reforestation program in the 1980s. Peasants planted more than 25 million trees under Projč Pyebwa, but as many as seven trees were cut for each new tree planted. Later efforts to save Haiti's trees focused on intensifying reforestation programs, reducing waste in charcoal production, introducing more wood-efficient stoves, and importing wood under USAID's Food for Peace program. Because most Haitians still depend on wood and charcoal as their primary fuel source, energy alternatives are needed to save the forests. The 15-year Environment Action Plan, authorized in 1999, proposed to stop deforestation by developing alternative fuel sources. Political instability and lack of funding have limited the impact of this reform effort. However, various grassroots projects have begun planting thousands of trees in a united effort to combat deforestation and to reforest the country.
The question asked was about gardening to produce food for the people to eat not the raising of trees. I know trees are important, but unless they are nut or fruit trees they don't fill someones stomach or provide nutrition.
Once my DH supported a program called Seeds of Hope. 2 women talked and started the program which collected seeds, then distributed them to missionaries all around the world. When one of the women moved to another country they turned it over to someone who I guess didn't keep up with it. We spent hours and days collecting & packing the seeds as did many others around this country at least and many, many $$$ shipping the seeds to the address on the east coast. The person who took over never even returned phone calls or sent notification of the arrival of a package of seeds. We stopped collecting and sending after 2 years of no acknowlegment. We checked with UPS & FEDX and they said no one was even at the shipping address that anyone could ever find.
I think something like this would be helpful but I imagine it is probably already in place under the administration of any of several Christian ministries. One would have to make sure the seeds were for foods the people will eat, cultivars suitable to the environment, etc. Only one season worth of seeds was given to each family in the Seeds of Hope program from what I understood.
I thought about that, too, Helen. If we could send them seeds, that would help them in the long term.
And then when I think about how many of them (even before the earthquake) had no access to safe drinking water, that makes it more impossible because what would they water their garden with? And with the deforestation and erosion problems, how much of their land would be fertile enough?
I sponsor 2 girls in a village outside of the capitol through Save the Children. Very little of the food they eat comes from outside of what they grow, there just isn't money for that. Lots of greens, some root vegetables, tomatoes and such are common.
A donation of money is really the best solution. They don't have shipping companies or mail service like we have, it is very expensive to mail packages and truthfully, they often don't get where they are headed. Seeds that are suitable for their environment can be purchased closer to home by relief organizations who have relationships already established and the security to get them where they will be used.
You would think that in a tropical place you could grow all the veggies in the World, but actually, vegetable gardening is very difficult. The nights are long and don't cool like in the States, and the bugs and fungus and wind ans extreme hot sun all contribute to a rather small number of easily grown kinds of food plants. So, sending broccoli and spinach seeds is of no use.
Best to find a small group that's sponsoring a small countryside school or town. Or give money to the Red Cross, or Doctors without Borders. OK. For most Hatians, their troubles are just beginning. A million people living in tents? With hurricane season approaching? Oh, my.
I did see somewhere where the farmers need to get up and running, equipment and seeds were on a prioirity list... i don't remember where, but it did catch my eye as an insightful item that came up early in the event... I don't recall seeing anything about getting items to keep the individuals or families self sustaining, That probably comes during the rebuilding stages.
I looked up her town on a map of Haiti...it's only about 5 miles or so from the capital. Time magazine has a bunch of aerial view pictures online. Just can't imagine the devastion, even after seeing the pictures.