By Gracie Pfaff, founder of Harvest107
Nearly all gardens, farms, fruit trees, and livestock in the south of Haiti were wiped out from Hurricane Matthew.
The images are saddening because these gardens, farms, and goats are so much more than they seem.
They are food on the table, school tuition, a family together. They are a food source, a livelihood, a future.
As Harvest107 agronomist Josue Guervil told me, “We have nothing left in terms of resources such as gardens, fruit trees, forest trees—all are destroyed.” The destruction of farms eliminates many families’ incomes and even worse, Haiti’s food sources. If farmers do not plant by December, the effects could lead to a country-wide famine—a long-term disaster.
With the right support, farmers from the north of Haiti can help the country rebuild. Thankfully, there are wonderful organizations collaborating throughout Haiti to buy Haitian rice and bringing it to the South to distribute, which keeps Haitian rice farmers in business. Buying locally has become a motto for many of the smaller organizations on the ground that are passionate about seeing change for this country.
As immediate needs of medical care, food, and water are being met, there needs to be a focus on long-term sustainability for Haiti. We need to concentrate on more than just today’s need, and look toward the future. When we take the time to learn from past mistakes and to understand what the farm means to these families and communities, we can do so much better.
Walking with family farmers is the future of food security. Harvest107 is honored to be collaborating with community leaders and farmers in the south of Haiti to do just that. Because we know it is more than a farm—it is a future for families and communities. Rehabilitating the soil, replanting the crops and trees, and replacing the livestock is an investment that will have a great return—one that is calculated in terms of dignity and self-sufficiency.