SOIL's Office Garden Flourishes Thanks to Konpòs Lakay
One year ago, in June 2012, we packed up our Port-au-Prince office in Delmas 33 and moved around the corner to a beautiful building with more space for our growing team. The building itself was ideal, but our new backyard was a muddy mess full of debris and mosquito-breeding standing water. In short, it was the perfect place to test the soil restoring potential of SOIL’s EcoSan compost, aka “Konpòs Lakay”.
Our agriculture team, with the assistance of a visiting volunteer, Eric Nymen, first brought in two truckloads of Konpòs Lakay to cover the rubble and they diverted the standing water into a beautiful oasis. Over the next two months they planted more than 27 species of native fruit trees including pomegranate, fig, banana, corosol, papaya, coconut, breadfruit, and avocado. And then in every remaining available patch of sunshine, SOIL agronomists have planted potatoes, beans, tomatoes, pineapple, passion fruit, cabbage, lalo (spinach), sugarcane, okra, corn, sorghum, rosemary, basil, and oregano (to name a few).
Amongst all the beautiful greenery is a happy menagerie of animals: 2 ducks (Claude and Claudette – who are currently sitting on 11 (soon-to-be-ducklings!!!) eggs), 2 turtles (Franklin and Bandi Legal), tons of volunteer minnows, 10 tilapia imported from the Cap-Haitien SOIL farm, 7 chickens and one rooster (General Pep), and the occasional escaped chicken or rabbit (including the infamous Neg Mawon who destroyed the papaya nursery and had to be put back in a free range cage).
In the very back of the garden by the chicken house is also an experimental garden where we run pilot tests of vegetables grown in Konpòs Lakay vis-à-vis other soil amendments.
What started out as a pilot test of Konpòs Lakay has been transformed into a beautiful living demonstration of the potential for ecological sanitation to restore Haiti’s degraded environment, improve the outcome of reforestation efforts, and increase local food production.
A Year of SOIL Office Garden Photos[slickr-flickr search=”sets” set=”72157634300939851″ items=”60″]
A huge thank you to SOIL’s agriculture team (especially Lafalaise and Wisnel) for keeping up the garden, Eric Nymen for his experience and vision, all the visitors we’ve roped into helping work in the garden during their stays, and to our friends and supporters around the world that have made this paradise in Port-au-Prince possible.