Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog
The Haiti branch of Heifer International recently donated sixteen cows and one bull to Alyans Ti Plantè-Gonaïves, the farmer cooperative pilot program of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. The cows are now community property, but tended by individual farm families who will sell the milk not consumed by their family. A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day, and the additional income supplements what the farmers make from their crops.
Mark Bittman is a New York Times columnist on “food and all things related,” and he has emerged as one of the most thoughtful, balanced and informed writers on the connections among food, health and the environment. The following is an article he wrote in the New York Times on October 21, 2012. He also writes a great blog.
It’s becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. And I’m not talking about imposing some utopian vision of small organic farms on the world. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.
This year’s World Food Day theme, “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world,” highlights the role of cooperatives in improving food security and reducing hunger. Small-scale farmers are expected to provide much of the extra food needed to feed a global population of more than nine billion by 2050. Supporting and investing in cooperatives, producer organizations and other rural institutions is viewed as critical to supporting those farmers. Cooperatives are a special type of enterprise that balance two main goals: satisfying members’ needs, and pursuing profit and sustainability. They may be registered cooperatives, producer organizations, self-help groups, unions and federations of producers, or Chambers of agriculture, to name a few. Here cooperative means any member-owned enterprise run on democratic principles.
- from World Food Day / FAO
The following text accompanied the launch of Planting Now (2nd Edition): Revitalizing agriculture for reconstruction and development in Haiti, which is part of a long Oxfam tradition of exceptionally comprehensive and insightful reports on development in Haiti and other parts of the world. This particular briefing paper gives one of the best overviews of farming in Haiti that you will find anywhere.
With 60 percent of Haitians relying on farming to feed their families, a revitalized sector is absolutely crucial to long-term growth
Plans and programs to improve the Haitian agriculture sector since the 2010 earthquake have been insufficient, says international organization Oxfam in a new report. Efforts by the Haitian government and the international community have fallen short of revitalizing the sector, improving conditions for small-scale local farmers, or recognizing the important role of women in agriculture.
This article by Michele Owens was originally published in Garden Design magazine. She reports on new discoveries regarding the extraordinarily complex life of roots.
All gardeners set out to grow healthy plants, but they also face a stubborn barrier, a curtain beyond which eyesight ends and mystery begins: the surface of the soil. Below, plants root in darkness, and our ministrations above ground only sometimes seem to determine whether our charges will go belly up or thrive.
Many people point to the slaughter of the country’s pig stock as helping to fuel the popular revolt that toppled Baby Doc Duvalier. Known as Creole pigs, or “cochon-planches,” these small, black, resilient hogs had long been more than just farm animals, but represented a savings bank that could be sold to pay for school fees, medical emergencies, weddings, or seed for crops. As such, they were a key component of the rural economy.