The Quixote Center supports smallholder farmers in Haiti to build sustainable livelihoods. The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center located in Grepin, Haiti, just outside of the city of Gros Morne, is our primary partner. 

The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center houses a tree nursery, a garden and multiple classrooms. These resources help farmers increase the yields of their farms, find new markets for their products, and gain access to the seeds and technology they need to succeed. The agronomy team from the JMV Center travel throughout the Arrondissement of Gros Morne to deliver workshops organized with a network of small farm associations, the Catholic Church’s Caritas network, and schools. 

Haiti Reborn was initially launched in 1991 during a period of renewal in Haiti, following the election of Aristide and the rise of Lavalas, a popular movement for democratic reform. The coup that ousted Aristide later that year led us to focus our efforts on speaking out against United States intervention in Haiti. Today we are still monitoring the impacts of US policy and advocating for change.

Program Update: Haiti Reborn

Last week, I visited Haiti for the first time. Since Haiti Reborn, the Quixote Center’s program is related largely to reforestation and agroecology, I knew I would hear about and visit trees and gardens. What I knew best was that there would be a thriving forest, where once there had been barren land – and I hiked up the mountain that houses that verdant space on the third day of my visit.

Growing for the Future

In the fall of 2014 we had two important conferences which spearheaded activities for 2015.  Both followed the same participatory model. First was the goat summit:  on the first day we had 12-15 staff and leaders who planned out four stations covering goat food, goat parks, goat wellness, and milking goats. On the next two days about 40 people participated and rotated among the four stations and drew up action plans.

 

Cultivation in the Mountains of Haiti

During the past fifteen years, Marcel Garcon has emerged as a champion for the sustainability ethic in Gros-Morne, Haiti. Year after year he demonstrates his commitment to restoring ecological balance to the region which has been his life-long home. Whenever I travel with him he is greeted by a near-continuous stream of friends among the rural peasant population. All of them know him as a collaborator, as one who has inspired them to continue working this depleted land with the dream of restoring its productivity.

Gran Plenn Nursery: Project Update

Last summer we . The organizers of the network have worked with school administrators and teachers to develop innovative ways for students to learn and practice ecological restoration throughout their education. We asked for your help and support to build a permanent nursery at the school in Gran Plenn as our first project together.

On the Announcement of the Santa Maria's Rediscovery

Earlier this week that they had located the wreckage of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria, off the northern coast of Haiti. For more than 500 years the ship has been sitting beneath the Caribbean Sea mostly ignored by researchers. It was only after retracing Columbus' steps from his original encampment in Haiti that anyone realized the identity of the vessel.

Food Aid Reform: Cargo Preference

The United States is one of the world’s largest food aid providers, yet its practices are inefficient, in part because of the transportation restrictions. Currently, 50% of all aid given must be sent on U.S.-flagged ships, a rule known as Cargo Preference. The argument for this rule is to maintain a reserve of vessels for times of war, and to support the maritime industry. At the start of 2014 Congress passed some modest food aid reforms in what is known as the Food for Peace Act. These reforms included ways we could more quickly reach the hungry at a lower cost to U.S.

Green Schools

So often in development we hear stories of one side throwing money at the other, who can only use it for a project that they never really wanted (or needed). Unlike this one-sided relationship, The Quixote Center’s entire mission is centered on equal relationship with our partners. Over the New Year we learned of a program that has been ongoing in the northwest of Haiti. About 8 years ago, community members founded a network of “Green Schools” – schools dedicated to reforestation. Each school must apply to be in the network, which now boasts over 60 schools.

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