This Earth Day, we’re celebrating our partners at the Grepen Center in Gros Morne, Haiti, who
work every day to build a better and greener future. In addition to reforestation, the Grepen Center supports small-scale farmers, which contributes to environmental restoration while reducing poverty and insecurity.
Our latest initiative together is to help small farmers create a sustainable source of income through plantains. Plantains are a staple in Haitian cuisine, and thus provide income to small farmers without the need for an export market.
Over the past several years, plantain production in Gros Morne has steadily decreased due to multiple factors, such as a recent hurricane. Plantain seedlings are difficult to source in Gros Morne, requiring travel as far away as near Port-au-Prince. As the security situation in Haiti remains extremely volatile, the journey to secure plantain seedlings has become life-threatening, as well as prohibitively expensive.
Right now, the Grepen Center is growing plantain tree seedlings for farmers to purchase on a sliding scale based on income, at prices under the market rate and accessible for disadvantaged and directly-impacted farmers. The Grepen Center will still profit from these sales, allowing the program to be self-funding after the initial investment of Quixote Center and other partners, contributing to the Grepen Center’s long-term financial sustainability.
Plantains take between 9-10 months to begin bearing fruit but can be intercropped with other plants in the meantime, providing shade that acts as natural weed control while increasing crop yields. The plan aims to produce 150,000 plantain trees in the first year, and 97,500 trees in the second.
Grepen Center will also provide ongoing support to farmers, such as training sessions on up-to-date planting techniques, example gardens, advisory visits to farmers’ fields, and data collection on participating farmers.
Growing plantains allows small-scale farmers to feed and support their families in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable, without the need for burning trees for charcoal, importing seeds, or exporting crops thousands of miles away.
We hope that this Earth Day, you consider a donation to help us protect the environment and empower impoverished families and communities in Haiti.