July 12, 2023
Building Food Security from the Ground Up
A recent report showed that 4.9 million people in Haiti – nearly half of the country’s population – are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity. This figure represents an increase of 200 000 people in just five months. The proportion of Haitians facing emergency-level hunger is the second highest in the world per capita.
On La Gonave, an oft-forgotten island off the coast, accessing food can be even more difficult due to the island’s reliance on imported goods.
While traditional aid organizations are focusing on stop-gap measures, Roots and our Haitian partner, Rasin Devlopman are focused on increasing food security and food sovereignty on the island of La Gonave in the short- and long-term.
Last year, Rasin Devlopman’s Volonte pou Chanjman (community leaders who undergo training and implement projects across the island), with your support, created a backyard vegetable gardening program in two communal sections on the island. The UN estimates this type of project can generate 20 times the value of its seeds in vegetable production!
These backyard gardens increase food security in the long-term—but they also can provide much needed food very quickly. Crops like spinach and cabbage sprouts can be ready for harvest in less than a month, heads of cabbage in only two months, and carrots and eggplants in only four months!
Rasin also organized an island-wide community forum in partnership with local organization AAPLAG on the topic of food security, with workshops on fishing, vegetable production, animal breeding, and infrastructure. More than 80 people were in attendance, representing all 11 communal sections of the island.
And, on International Women’s Day, Rasin began hosting workshops specifically designed for and led by women on “the role of women in the agricultural sector of La Gonave.” These workshops were organized in partnership with several local women’s groups and took place in different areas around the island, travelling to reach women where they live.
“Feeding locally and depending on and encouraging people to grow their own food and selling it not only helps the economy but helps the community here and keeps it here,” said Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, about Haiti. “That’s the most healthy for the people and certainly for the children.”