Urban Gardening & Entrepreneurial Training in Haiti

Mr. Trevor Hylton, a FAMU Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer traveled to Haiti in April to conduct an Agriculture/Horticulture Small Project assignment. In collaboration with Université Caraibe, a Haitian Univeristy, Mr. Hylton worked with Haiti’s youth to develop an urban garden in the heart of Port-au-Prince. By employing container gardening, the urban garden uses all available space and assisting the community through providing a local source of food, filtering the air, and bringing the community together. In addition, through FAMU’s entrepreneur rship program, the urban garden educated Haiti’s youth about business management. According to the CIA World Factbook, Haiti has one of the youngest populations in the world, with people aged 15 and younger counting for roughly a third of the population, and its capital, Port-au-Prince, has high population density with economic growth as low as 1% in 2015. Urban gardening, in combination with entrepreneurship, provided students with the skills to start their own business using the resources around them.

The FAMU Farmer-to-Farmer project goals include:

  • Strengthen the curricula in agriculture and entrepreneurship through the development of a “practical application” Small Enterprise Development Program at the partner universities.
  • Increase agriculture students’ capacity to gain real-life hands-on agricultural production and business experience through community and business internship projects.
  • Increase students’ ability to successfully develop, finance and manage a small business.
  • Improve students’ ability to effectively transfer knowledge to community agro-producers to increase productivity & income, and protect the natural resource base.

Before Mr. Hylton’s arrival, the students thought gardening was only possible in rural areas and were not aware of the idea of an urban garden. Mr. Hylton taught the students how to successfully grow produce in the central city and worked collaboratively with them to organize a plan for the garden. As a result of Hylton’s training and discussion, the student group decided to make the beds for the garden using concrete blocks as it would be highly economical, durable and easy to construct. Through the guidance of Mr. Hylton, the students recognized they did not need costly inputs such as an irrigation system and instead chose to water the plants using watering cans. As the garden is comprised of 6 beds that are 10 feet long by 4 feet wide, watering by hand should not be a problem. The FAMU program focuses on teaching students entrepreneurial skills to be able to start their own businesses. This is especially useful in Port-au-Prince, where unemployment is high and much of the city’s economic activity revolves around selling goods and services in street markets. Mr. Hylton gave the students the tools they need to build a successful business making use of resources already available to them, leading to sustainable economic growth. Overall, Mr. Hylton felt that this was a good, valuable program

On Mr. Hylton’s last day, he visited the students who had carried out his recommendations to build an urban garden at the Delmas campus and was thrilled with their progress. Mr. Hylton was very pleased that the students followed his recommendations strictly and was optimistic about the success of the urban garden. Pictured: Trevor Hylton (left) teaching students in the urban garden.

FAMU’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Haiti is part of the USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program implemented through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) Special Program Support Project (SPSP). F2F supports innovative approaches to using U.S. volunteers in international development initiatives. The SPSP funds and supports F2F projects that draw from non-traditional sources of volunteers and develops the capacity of non-traditional volunteer organizations. VEGA F2F special projects will be implemented by voluntary technical assistance organizations as sub-awards. 

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