What does FOOD security mean today for families in different homes and in so many far away countries?
For those of us who work in Haiti where food is a daily challenge, what we have done, and what we are choosing to do is make food a priority – not just for one day, but EVERY DAY for food deprived families.
We have chosen to start at the bottom of the food ladder, not just with the first seeds to plant but also with the youngest of those who need this food. We have introduced a School Gardens program – teaching kids how to prepare garden beds, plant seeds, tend, nourish, water, and weed. The magic of the harvest also includes the knowledge of preparing their yields into nourishing food that will build beautiful healthy bodies.
The Zanmi Agrikol School Garden Program is literally growing in three different geographic areas in Haiti, with a fourth garden just about to break ground., Each school is supported by 4 different church/school groups in 4 different states ranging from California, to Texas, to Washington DC and South Carolina.
Lots of people are really starting to re-think the best way to help needy families. When asked, our reply is, “Help them grow their own food to feed their families, and to also grow additional produce to take to market to sell so the family is working towards self-sufficiency.” Not a “Hand Out” but a “Hand Up.”
The fun thing about the School Gardens Program is that we are teaching the kids about horticulture, the environment, and a healthy way of living. They then take their newly formed skills home and excitedly share them with their parents (who are at times skeptical about what they are being told until the kids come home with the produce). In some of the schools parents are included in the programs, and some benefit from the gift of a goat which can then produce kids to be sold to help meet school obligations. One of our well-advanced school gardens has added chickens to the program and the kids are given at least 3 eggs a week with the families benefiting the other days. We are really starting to see more and more happy, healthy children who can’t wait to get to school!!
We are also very happy and proud to share with you that the young people who are responsible for starting these gardens – planning, building and planting, teaching the kids and assisting the families are all CFFL graduates. It is in these kinds of projects in which we see the full meaning of our mission statement “to eliminate malnutrition through education” come to life and live in the families and into the communities for which it was created.
Stay tuned for more stories on the School Gardens Project and the various young people who are already making a difference in these communities.
I leave you with just one more ‘morsel’ to digest: As you sow so shall you reap!!