Partners in Progress has continued to improve the health, livelihoods, and environment of its community partners in rural Haiti and Uganda through the Farmer-to-Farmer Agroecology
for Food Sovereignty Initiative (“FAFSI”). This initiative trains farmers on how to grow nutrient-rich traditional foods using regenerative agreoecology techniques that they can apply and refine on their own farms and teach to other farmers. Just recently, sixty-six Haitian farmers from 11 communities, including 30 new FAFSI farmers, partnered with Agroecology educators to design and implement farm trials to test various agroecology techniques. And in Uganda, in June, seven FAFSI farmers were trained as Agroecology Educators, who then trained other farmers in these sustainable techniques, and this summer, 34 farmers from four communities in Uganda joined FAFSI. As a result of this continued progress of FAFSI, there are now seven community tree nurseries operating in Haiti, providing 47,000 trees for agroecology systems and reforestation efforts, and nine community tree nurseries in Uganda producing 68,000 trees. As St. Geste Charles, a community partner in Haiti and Director of Ecole Communautaire Gamaliel Deslandes, explained, “[t]his is how we do not go hungry even with the trouble in Haiti. This is the future. This is how we are building food sovereignty—with farmer training in agroecology and the environment, healthier soil, tree nurseries, and cover crops.”
Konbit Vanyan Kapab Farmers Stepped Up Again Community-led Earthquake Response
This past fall, farmers of the Konbit Vanyan Kapab Farmer-to-Farmer initiative played a crucial role in a community-led effort to deliver food and other aid to four earthquake affected communities. In the face of a worsening and unpredictable security conditions, the village-to-village response distributed 17 tons of corn, beans, peanuts (processed into peanut butter) and rice to families in need. Farmers supplied the food and also helped with organizing food purchases, processing peanuts for peanut butter, and staging and packaging food kits for three distributions. Each food kit included a small amount of cash, along with hygiene supplies from Unlocking Communities (https://unlockingcommunities.org).
Heavy duty tarps were also distributed. First aid medical backpacks donated by Global Links (https://globallinks.org) were delivered to local health clinics. Vita Mamba, a fortified peanut butter used to prevent malnutrition, was provided to families with toddlers. Jack Bean and Velvet Bean cover crop seeds have been distributed to farmers in one community to assist with erosion control and improving soil fertility. Coordination of the response was a joint effort of farmers from eight communities: Ecole Gamaliel Communautaire de Deslandes (EGD), PIP and two organizations working in the earthquake area, HaitiH2O (https://www.haitih2o.org) and Youthaiti.org (https://youthaiti.org).
The impact of this community-led response goes beyond relief. Through collaboration across communities and organizations, farmers and local partner organizations are strengthening capacity not only for crisis response, but also for development planning and action. Pride and confidence in their ability to create change is also growing among farmers. Sylvio Sanan, a Konbit Vanyan Kapab Agroecology Educator, said: “It makes me feel happy to be able to help. I didn’t think I could do something like this.” It is not only the farmers providing aid that feel this sense of pride, but those receiving it as well. One aid recipient said: “It makes me feel good to know that this is helping farmers in another part of my country.”
This was not the first time Konbit Vanyan Kapab farmer rose to the occasion. When Covid-19 hit, these farmers were part of grassroots Covid-19 response that reached 6,300 children and adults across nine communities. Farmers provided education and supplies to community members, managed community hand washing stations, and provided critical food relief.