Jun 27, 2023 . 10 months ago

Summer on The LiveBeyond Farm

June in Haiti means summer, and summer at the LiveBeyond Farm means harvesting and tending to crops planted during the spring rainy season.  LiveBeyond started the farm to serve as an additional food source for the Nutrition Program and a training farm for local farmers. LiveBeyond believes Haitian farmers can have successful farms! Successful, sustainable farms can change the food story of Haiti. The LiveBeyond Farm continues to be a great source of food to supplement the Nutrition Program and an even more amazing tool for teaching local farmers how to make their farms more resilient and successful. 

Food Insecurity

As a country, Haiti has historically dealt with widespread food insecurity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a record 4.9 million people experience food insecurity in Haiti. Desert-like farmlands, destruction by natural disasters, and poor food distribution infrastructure have all contributed to food scarcity. And food scarcity has driven up the cost of food, making what little food is available too expensive for people to buy. In other words, Haiti needs sustainable farming more than ever to decrease widespread hunger and malnutrition.

Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although most farmland is not ideal for farming, most Haitians rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. One cannot blame the poor state of farming in Haiti on one single thing. There are many factors that come together to make farming in Haiti so difficult.

Farming In Haiti

One factor contributing to poor farming in Haiti is nutrient-depleted soil caused by deforestation. Historically, thousands of trees were cut down for fuel and trade, and trees continue to be cut down today for coal making. Alternative fuel sources are expensive and hard to come by, therefore, Haitians rely on coal to make fires for everyday necessities. Without other reliable, sustainable, and affordable fuel sources, trees will continue to be cut down.

Drought also affects farming in Haiti in a big way. Haitian summers are sandwiched by a spring and fall rainy season. These rainy seasons are crucial for the growth and survival of crops. Without sufficient rain, crops cannot grow, and farmers and communities suffer from food scarcity and hunger.

Another factor that makes farming hard in Haiti is soil erosion. The same rain that is needed to end droughts and grow crops has the potential to destroy farmlands when it comes in the form of heavy rains and natural disasters that cause floods and landslides. After events like these, nutrient-rich topsoil is washed away, and farmlands are left depleted. 

Finally, a lack of access to farming resources and education is another factor contributing to the poor state of farming in Haiti. Many Haitian farmers do not know about sustainable farming, alternative crops, or modern techniques. The majority of Haitian farmers use the same farming methods that have been used for hundreds of years. They do not know about or have access to modern technologies and farming equipment.

The Cost of Unsuccessful Farms

Farmers and entire communities will suffer if farms continue to underproduce. If deforestation continues, drought increases, floods & landslides carry nutrient-rich soil into the sea, and if farmers are not taught best farming practices, farms will not be successful. Farmers will lose the money they invested to buy seed, as well as, the profits from selling their crops at market. Farmers will struggle to have enough food to feed their families. And communities will lose out on food for their families, on jobs, and on the economy being strengthened. Good soil and successful farms are essential to combating food scarcity and hunger across Haiti.

Sustainable Farming is Key

LiveBeyond believes that sustainable farming is key to improving the health of Haitian farms. Sustainable farming practices have many benefits and can help address the food challenges Haitians face. Increased crop yields, improved soil health, and reduced environmental impact are all benefits of sustainable farming. The LiveBeyond Farm is a great example of the benefits of sustainable farming. The farmers that tend to the LiveBeyond Farm have worked very hard to implement sustainable practices, and their efforts are paying off. The LiveBeyond Farm is successfully growing a wide range of crops, including bananas, beans, papayas, peppers, eggplant, onion, mango, and avocado. Right now, the farmers are harvesting eggplant, beans, papaya, and banana. After being harvested, the produce is used by the Nutrition Program to supplement the meals they prepare for the Maternal Health Program, the LiveBeyond School, Johnny’s Kids, & the LiveBeyond staff.

The LiveBeyond Farm is sharing sustainable farming practices with local farmers. Agricultural demonstrations and hands-on training are available to farmers at the LiveBeyond Farm. Farmers can learn how to better prepare their land for planting and more efficient watering methods. They can also learn about different crops suitable for their growing environment that will diversify their farms. Additionally, local farmers can look at the success of the LiveBeyond Farm and see first-hand that the information they are receiving is true and will help improve their farms and increase their yields. 

The Impact of Successful Farms

The impact of successful farming goes far beyond the farm. When farms are successful, a farmer makes a living to support himself and his family financially. Financial stability can have a positive influence on a family. Families can afford to send children to school, they can afford medical care, and they can afford to make purchases, investing in the economy. Equally important, successful farms can provide produce to sell at market to help feed the community. Farms with plentiful harvests help improve the health of their communities with fresh produce. Successful farms sustain families, inject money into the local economy, decrease food insecurity, and promote social cohesion.

The LiveBeyond Farm

The LiveBeyond Farm comes alongside Haitian farmers to decrease hunger and improve farming in the Thomazeau community. The Nutrition Program uses the produce from the LiveBeyond Farm to provide over 7,000 meals to women, children, staff, and their families across Thomazeau. Local farmers are learning about crops that are suitable for growing on their farms & techniques to promote a successful harvest. We are seeing small changes in weather patterns due to the trees that have been planted. It is raining more at the LiveBeyond Farm. More consistent, reliable rainfall will help farms yield more crops. Successful, sustainable farming is possible in Haiti. And LiveBeyond is helping Haitian farmers achieve it.

If you want to be a part of the LiveBeyond Farm and help Thomazeau farmers be more successful, you can give here.                                                                       

When you give to LiveBeyond, you are supporting the LiveBeyond Farm and Haitian farmers. You are providing education to farmers, and you are helping feed the Thomazeau community. Together, we are helping change the food narrative of Haiti one farm at a time.

Thank you for caring about farming in Haiti and supporting LiveBeyond’s work to help Haitian farmers. Together we are decreasing hunger and helping Haitian farms thrive.

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