By Jennifer Browning
While the impending rainy season makes life difficult in our field hospital in Port-au-Prince, the same rain helps seeds turn to much needed food.
For the past three years, through the Integrated Community Development Program, Project Medishare has been working to improve agriculture in the Central Plateau.
In 2008, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) donated 220 earthboxes through the FAO’s Growing Connections Program. Project Medishare is received not only assistance from FAO but also from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida (IFAS) who continue to provide techincal assistance to our agricultural program. The program is an effort to begin an alternative growing program for the vulnerable (elders, sick, handicapped), children and adolescents.
Project Medishare’s agronomist, Ronal Bien-aimé and IFAF’s Florence Sergile tested the Earth Boxes by seeing how they would adapt to local conditions. The agronomists monitored and compared the plant growth being tested in the Earth Boxes with those planted in a field.
With the success of the program, the agriculture team expanded the experience into the community. Ten Earth Boxes went to Marmont and were placed in the yard of the local clinic where visitors and patients can see the possibilities of alternative gardening, and the link between nutrition and good health.
In June 2008, Project Medishare provided training to the Haitian staff and consultants with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) introducing FAO Haiti to the agriculture program of the Project Medishare Integrated Community Development Program in Marmont. Demonstrations and trainings were done for local women at the trial farm as well as in the community.
Last year, our agriculture team began working with IDEJEN (Young Idea), a group of 25 adolescents as part of the community expansion. IDEJEN assisted Project Medishare’s agriculture team by receiving hands on training with 25 Earth Boxes. The group, which is comprised of at-risk youth in the community, continues to work with our agriculture team.