Haitian Agronomists paid us a visit this week as a part of their Florida tour of farms in an effort to learn how we implement growing practices that are based on scientific methods developed and taught at the University of Florida. USAID’s WINNER program in Haiti has contracted with the University of Florida to train and help implement agricultural best management practices with the farmers and these state agronomists that work from stations around the Haitian state.
Typical Furcy area terraced farms
Furcy Station School
10 Ways That WINNER Is Changing Haiti
Why The Watershed Initiative For National Natural Environmental Resources Reflects America's Best Development Practices and a Path Forward For Haiti
April 8, 2010
A FIVE-YEAR MULTI-FACETED PROGRAM begun last May and designed to comprehensively build Haiti's agricultural infrastructure, capacity, and productivity by providing concentrated and transformative support to Haitians in a large area north of Port-au-Prince. It is focused on building and strengthening Haiti's agricultural foundation, particularly in the areas of Cul-de-Sac, Cabaret, Mirbalais, Archaie and Gonaives and is backed by $126 million in funding from the U.S. Government over the next five years.
MANAGED BY A MOSTLY HAITIAN STAFF that works with other Haitians to develop watershed management plans, strengthen farmer associations, provide access to expertise and vital supplies (seeds, fertilizers, credit, tools), and restore protective tree cover.
DEDICATED TO CREATING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH that can be independently sustained and flourish, while contributing to the growth of secondary poles of development. WINNER is focused as much on providing materials and expert guidance as on developing civic institutions and networks.
BUILT ON A NETWORK OF OVER 200 FARMERS ASSOCIATIONS which work in conjunction with local government officials, NGOs and other entities to form public-private partnerships and prepare the maximum amount of land possible for the planting/harvesting season which runs from March through October.
A CRITICAL WAY TO REDUCE RISK TO VULNERABLE POPULATIONS through innovative flood control work in Riviere Grise and La Quinte which will be implemented through labor-intensive projects.
PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES, such as watersheds and tree cover, which must be restored in order to ensure that meaningful agricultural development can take place. WINNER provides the funding and education Haitians need to sustain and grow their environment.
WIDESPREAD AND EFFECTIVE enough to deliver an efficient response to the country's food security emergency and meet the needs of the dispersed population in the wake of Haiti's earthquake.
THE CULMINATION of best practices derived from project experience from USAID and other donors over the last 30 years and is now the model for watershed methodology being used in Haiti and around the world by Canada, Spain, France, Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
A MAJOR SOURCE OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. It will help to integrate 15,000 people into specified areas and provide jobs, shelter and services in collaboration with local authorities.
A PARTNERSHIP between the U.S. Government, Government of Haiti, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
We spent time showing them all the facets of our Florida operation.
A main focus of the visit was to learn how we compost to create growing
media using microorganisms and local materials.
Our low volume watering systems were also demonstrated to their delight.
They helped us understand more about Haiti and the size of the country, diversity of growing regions and economic and cultural challenges.
It is worth a look at this video from Double Harvest to get a sense of the problems and scale of the issues facing Haiti and what they have done. You can also visit and Like Double Harvest on Facebook. Knowing the VanWingerden family has given me a sense of the sharing of their ideals and the impact they have made on communities in need around the world. Give their pages a look. Contributions to Double Harvest are likely the most efficient way to get aid to people in need that can benefit most by learning to be self sufficient through this organizations intense and charitable effort.