33 results for tag: agriculture


SOIL Partnership Gets Vegetative with Vetiver Experiment

We love looking at the effect of compost on agricultural production, and we love it when other organizations take an interest too! This time we have teamed up with Caribbean Flavors and Fragrances S.A. (CFF), a Haitian company in Port-au-Prince that manufactures essential oils, and the Sustainable Lush (SLush) funding program through the handmade cosmetics company Lush. This agriculture experiment focuses on vetiver, a robust plant whose roots contain an essential oil that CFF extracts and Lush incorporates into many of its cosmetic products. Vetiver (scientific name Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a perennial bunchgrass perhaps not quite as well known ...

Food Tank: 22 Organizations Working to Restore Soils in 2016

by Danielle Nierenberg, Stephanie Van Dyke, and Michaela Elias According to the recent United Nations report, Status of the World’s Soil Resources, the world can ameliorate soil degradation if more sustainable practices are promptly implemented. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines soil degradation as "a change in the soil health status resulting in a diminished capacity of the ecosystem to provide goods and services for its beneficiaries. Degraded soils have a health status, such that they do not provide the normal goods and services of the particular soil in its ecosystem.” Soils are naturally incredibly ...

Spreading Compost Love

Jean Delinoit works at SOIL as part of the agricultural team, helping to water the experimental gardens, take care of the animals, and working with the rest of the agriculture team on project implementation. He sees first-hand the benefits of SOIL compost in terms of soil amelioration and increases in food productivity. His dream is to further develop the area of Dubout (the area where he resides, and where our SOIL office is located) agriculturally, and to increase Haitian food culture and food security. Therefore, in his free time, he’s taken to working with a group of youths about gardening with compost! On May 1st, which is a celebration ...

Together We Plant for Change!

The 18th of May – Flag Day – is a day of pride and reflection for Haitians as the anniversary of the date when the first Haitian Flag was created after independence. All over the country celebrations happened: there were parades with marching bands and drill teams, gymnastics, music and presentations. Each school participated in activities to honor the day. SOIL invited students from the middle school College Bell Angelot to come learn about our activities and plant 135 trees (one for each student) on our grounds. We worked together to plant Moringa, Papaya, Sweet Orange and Avocado trees. As we planted the trees, we taught the students about ...

OAEC Guest Blog: The SOIL Permaculture Design Process

The SOIL Permaculture Design Process After touring the SOIL collection and processing sites around Cap-Haitien, we arrived at the SOIL office, farm, and associated KOMOP farm properties (KOMOP is a farm collective of SOIL staff members whose name is a combination of Komite = Committee and Opòtinite = Opportunity). SOIL recently completed the construction of their beautiful new office complex and were ready to move to the next phase of succession towards integrating the building into their surrounding property and creating a comprehensive demonstration site. SOIL’S new office This is the site where we facilitated SOIL staff through a ...

My Favorite Time of Year

We’ve been gearing up all week for the celebration of Haiti's Labor and Agriculture Day, which falls every year on the first of May. As two-thirds of Haitians farm, this holiday highlights the significance of agriculture to the structure of life here. It is one of my favorite times of the year here in Haiti, as across the country people celebrate the bounty of the land and the rich diversity of crops grown here. The street markets in Haiti teem with a range of delicacies: some unique to Haiti, such as the small black mushroom known as “Djon Djon,” some that are regional specialties, such as cashew nuts grown in the north, and some of which show ...

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. ...

Growing Shade for Trutier

As frequent readers of the SOIL blog will know, our composting waste treatment site in Port-au-Prince is housed within the boundaries of the municipal dump, Trutier. The Trutier dump site has long been one of the city's most degraded and harsh environments, thereby making it an exemplary location to showcase SOIL's land rehabilitation capabilities. The Trutier site is managed by SMCRS (the government solid waste management department) and a company called SOTEK has recently been contracted to conduct a debris recycling project. SMCRS and SOTEK have been working  together to improve and optimize the site. When our friends at SMCRS and SOTEK requested ...

Theo Talks Episode 9: Loading Bunnies and Bobcats

Lots of adventures in EcoSan this week with your favorite SOIL Regional Director Theo Huitema. Theo was on the move, traveling from Cap-Haitien to Port-au-Prince so that he could pick up a newly acquired Bobcat skid-steer loader for the SOIL Farm in Limonade. The first video is a hilarious chronicle of the team's efforts to load the Bobcat (or, as Theo calls it "the Bobbycat") into the back of the Cap-Haitien baskil (truck). In the spirit of fair trades, Theo brought a wonderful surprise for the SOIL Port-au-Prince office in exchange for the Bobcat: another rabbit! In classic SOIL fashion, Theo loaded the bunny into a household toilet for the long ...

Exciting Developments in Urban Gardening Taking Root in Shada, Cap-Haitien

Our beloved Madam Bwa amazed us again this month with the beautiful bounty of her rooftop garden. Our jaws dropped at the gleaming jewels of eggplant hanging heavy from their stalks, tomatoes, spinach, peas, basil, oregano, oranges and more! Her roof seemed a veritable Garden of Eden in the middle of Shada’s concrete jungle. Madam Bwa recounted with great relish the pleasure she found in her ability to augment her nutritional palette without having to spend more at the market. Plain rice can now be diri pwa kongo! (rice with Congo peas). Standard spaghetti with red sauce can now be enhanced by sautéed eggplant and fresh basil. Pumpkin soup can be ...