SOIL Letters: The Cycle of Nutrients

SOIL Letters is a blog series featuring some of the beautiful letters we’ve received over the years in support of the work we’re doing in Haiti.

10 September 2011

Dear Sasha:

Thank you so much for your work in Haiti. We were glad to see the collaboration with Oxfam, but we received your letter in June about having to withdraw some support from the camps. When I first learned of you and your organization, I was thrilled to see the connections between compost and fertility and sanitation in a place that needs it desperately. The cycle seems so simple, so reasonable. Not doing it is what’s puzzling. We have worked a little bit with the IRC and I sent on information about you and SOIL. The answer that came back was similar to what happened with Oxfam – something about emergency/relief situations and the inability to put in more permanent structures such as a composting toilet. But what then? Does the poor sanitation prevail? What are the alternatives and how much less costly are they? Might there be larger organizations, like Oxfam or IRC, that could be more instrumental in helping with a program that seems to make plain good sense for the people and the environment?

We are familiar with this somewhat as we are farmers, well aware that the cycle of nutrients back into usable form for the land, and so into us, seems so logical. Somewhere, sometime, that cycle was interrupted. It is ironic perhaps that when mono-cropping came along, animal operations suffered a manure problem and cropland suffered a fertility problem.

We hope your work is able to continue. Please apply the enclosed to where it is most needed. Thank you for what you are doing.



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