California Dreaming: SOIL's Agriculture Director Heads to Sustainable Farming Training
We are pleased to announce that our Cap-Haitien Agricultural Director, Romel Toussaint, has been awarded a scholarship to the Ecology Action six month internship!
In this program, participants get involved in hands-on research in sustainable agriculture and closed-system food production using GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques. These practices maximize the effect of natural processes to improve sustainability and productivity. Double-dug beds, with soil loosened to a depth of 24 inches, aerate the soil, facilitate root growth, and improve water retention. Close plant spacing protects soil microorganisms, reduce water loss, and maximize yields. The use of open-pollinated seeds helps to preserve genetic diversity and enables gardeners to develop their own acclimatized cultivars. GROW BIOINTENSIVE also uses our favorite technique: using compost to maintain the health and vigor of the soil!
These components work together to create a healthy, sustainable agriculture system – exactly what Romel wants to see in Haiti. As Agriculture Director, he oversees SOIL’s efforts to promote agriculture practices that both improve livelihoods for Haitian farmers and restore health to Haiti’s depleted soils. Romel is eager to develop his knowledge of techniques that will make SOIL’s compost an even greater resource for local growers.
While we’ll certainly miss Romel while he’s gone, we look forward to the new knowledge and skills he’ll bring back that will further SOIL’s efforts in sustainable agriculture!
Here’s what Romel has to say about his vision for the future and what he hopes to gain from his experience in California:
“I am a nature enthusiast and believe that agriculture can be in harmony with nature. My vision is to get back to the good things in agriculture, rejecting unhealthy practices, to establish a true equilibrium, a symbiosis between agriculture in the environment. I hope after my six months internship with Ecology Action my determination and my field of vision will expand to fulfill my ultimate dream for Haiti as a Haiti that offers the world natural food without destroying the environment.”
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