As you peruse the fruit and vegetable aisles of your local supermarket, take note of how many different parts of the world each shiny red tomato, juicy purple plum, bright green cucumber and whatever else ends up in your basket, comes from. The miles our food travels is quite astonishing. But what if we were to try and bring these miles down and look a little closer to home for our fresh produce? Not only would we have access to tasty seasonal produce, we would also be working to bring down the carbon emitted on each journey our food takes.

In today’s blog we hear from one ministry partner who has already been working hard to bring down their food miles - PiFò Haiti. Find out why this is quite so vital for their local community.

Haiti - Garden workers from the Wesleyan Church (L to R Daniel, Peter, Kendy)

Meet Kendy Alcindor, he is a 20-year-old high school graduate (pictured right). He lives with his father, four brothers and two sisters on the island of La Gonâve, 25km off the coast of mainland Haiti. Kendy is one of a handful of youth selected to work at a local garden project each Saturday and Sunday.

The town of Anse-à-Galets, where the garden is located, is very close to sea level making the soil too salty and nearly impossible for plant growth. Most of the vegetables and fruit come from up in the mountains by donkey or the mainland by boat. Kendy and the project leaders want to change that:

We want to produce our own food to share with our family and the community. It is a great need here in the city because it is becoming very unsafe to travel to the mainland to get food and supplies.

With transportation being disrupted more frequently between the island and the mainland, due to increasing unrest, the food prices increase, and the merchants have very little to sell. Currently the community relies too much on the mainland. We want to help the community to overcome this problem, and would like to see more people on La Gonâve learning how they can grow their own food to increase their self-sufficiency.

Our ultimate goal is to make agricultural accessible to every family.

Learning new skills

Kendy, and the other garden staff team members, have been busy learning about all kinds of different agricultural techniques, from container and tyre gardens, to larger field crops.

Haiti - Bringing in soil from the mountains to grow crops

“I have increased my knowledge a lot working with the agronomists in the garden. I learned that you need to bring good soil from the mountains so the plants will grow. We also use sheep manure as fertilizer. I did not know any of this before I started working with this project”, says Kendy.

Kendy, Daniel and Peter started working at the garden because they had graduated high school and had no jobs. The pastor at the Wesleyan Church saw potential in these hardworking young men and asked PiFò Haiti’s project manager Emerson Dalmas if he could give them some work.

“When a Pastor asks you to help, you need to do it. They know the needs of the community better than anyone”, says Emerson. Kendy didn’t expect to love the part-time job as much as he does.

Inspiring the whole community

“We don’t learn enough in school about the environment and growing food. For Haitians we focus on getting through each day, we need to learn to plan for the future of the country and the world”, remarks one of the other young garden employees. We at PiFò Haiti couldn’t agree more.

We asked Kendy where he saw himself in 5 years? He said, “I would like to learn more and maybe go to school so I can live in the mountains and teach others. There are many poor people here, and I can help”.

We are grateful for the respect and hard-work these young men put into this project. It is a blessing to many people. We are also thankful to work with patient, kind agronomists who take the time to share their knowledge and passion for the land.

By the PiFò Haiti team

If you were inspired by today’s creation care blog, why not have a go at planting some produce yourself or research nearby farms where you can buy local produce? For each seed, say a prayer for the work of PiFò Haiti and praise God for their gardening team.