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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Planting of Genetically Modified Crops Declined in 2015

Soybean fields in Iowa. Low commodity prices have led farmers to plant fewer soybeans, both genetically
engineered and nonengineered. Credit: Ryan Donnell for The New York Times

REPRINT > by Andrew Pollack for the New York Times

The world’s farmers have increased their use of genetically modified crops steadily and sharply since the technology became broadly commercialized in 1996. Not anymore.

In 2015, for the first time, the acreage used for the crops declined, according to a nonprofit that tracks the plantings of biotech seeds.

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Dumping Peanuts on Haiti

Peanuts being sorted before roasting in Haiti. (Photo: Cory Flanagin)REPRINT > Marc Cohen, Oxfam America

The people of Haiti deserve better agriculture solutions than extra peanuts from the American people.

When I was working in Haiti for Oxfam following the devastating earthquake in 2010, I became fond of mamba, the local version of peanut butter. It looks a lot like what we would buy here in the USA, but it’s less salty or sweet than the typical American spread. And before taking a big bite out of bread or cassava crackers spread with mamba, you will want to take a much more careful sample, because it’s usually spiced up with Scotch bonnet or habanero chili peppers. Once you get used to this nutty, spicy mix, it is definitely a taste worth acquiring.

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Timberland Commissions Study to Test Feasibility of Reintroducing Cotton as Haitian Export Crop

Timberland, Smallholder Farmers Alliance and Impact Farming Join Forces to Explore Expansion of Successful Sustainable Agroforestry Model in Haiti

STRATHAM, N.H., March 22, 2016 – Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland, Impact Farming and Haiti-based Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) today announced the launch of a new feasibility study exploring the possibility of reintroducing cotton as an export crop for Haitian smallholder farmers. If the study proves successful, the opportunities for organic cotton farming in Haiti are extensive, and companies like Timberland can one day transition from being early supporters of the SFA agroforestry enterprise to being its customers.

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Trees Deal With Climate Change Better Than Expected

Trees in temperate forests, like these redwoods in Northern California, may adapt to climate change by
releasing less carbon dioxide than previously predicted by scientists. CreditGetty Images
REPRINT > by Tatiana Schlossberg for New York Times

The bend-don’t-break adaptability of trees extends to handling climate change, according to a new study that says forests may be able to deal with hotter temperatures and contribute less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than scientists previously thought.

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New Whole Foods Market Products Connect Haiti Farmers to U.S. Consumers

Haitian smallholder farmers holding moringa leaves and cacao pods along with the new products made
from each: Kuli Kuli’s Moringa Green Energy shots (left) and Taza Chocolate’s Stone Ground Haiti
bar (right). These two items debuted at Whole Foods Market in the U.S. this month, marking an export
milestone for Haitian agriculture. Photo: Sebastian Petion.

How a Natural Energy Shot and an Organic Chocolate Bar Are Changing Agriculture in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, February 17, 2016 -- Two new products debuted this month in the U.S. at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide—Kuli Kuli’s Moringa Green Energy shots and Taza Chocolate’s Stone Ground Haiti bar—and ingredients for both are sourced directly from smallholder farmers in Haiti. This direct market access, combined with helping farmers to improve and expand, means increased incomes in Haiti while consumers in the U.S. benefit from high quality products. And for a severely deforested nation like Haiti, an additional benefit is that more trees get planted as both items are derived from trees. 

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Haiti Documentary Screening in Ossining on January 10th

Kombit: The Cooperative tells the inspiring story of how Ossining resident Hugh Locke and Haitian agronomist Timote Georges worked with thousands of small-scale farmers in Haiti to plant 5 million trees and double their organic crop yields at the same time. Using charitable funds to incubate a range of farmer-owned agroforestry businesses and processing operations for export, the extraordinary results have gained international attention. Could this be a model for addressing the combined global challenges of food security and deforestation?

Free Haiti Documentary Screening and Q+A With Hugh Locke

Ossining Public Library Budarz Theatre @53 Croton Ave, Ossining, NY

2:30pm SUNDAY January 10, 2016


Why Timberland Made a Documentary to Share Its Haitian Tree-Planting Initiative

REPRINT > by Dan Solomon for Fast Company

"We’re an outdoor lifestyle company that has a tree for a logo" is a blunt reasoning for the company's social responsibility.

A lot of brands talk the talk on social responsibility and sustainability. Many of those also walk the walk—but few put both together as forcefully as Timberland has with a new documentary, produced by Found Object, called KOMBIT: The Cooperative, telling the story of the company's mission to plant five million trees in Haiti over five years. The film, which premiered earlier this month at the SXSW Eco conference, documents not just Timberland’s agroforestry enterprise, but its development of the program into a sustainable, self-funding entity that continues on even after the brand has fulfilled its commitment.

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Message From Rural Haiti to Paris: Smallholder Farmers Are Ready to Help

As more than 140 world leaders gather today for the opening of the climate change talks in Paris, the vital role of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers in combatting climate change is increasingly finding itself front and center. Click on the brochure above for the full story.

Until recently, smallholder farmers have been thought of as a problem needing solving. Typically with less than five acres (roughly two hectares), they are among the world’s poorest citizens. But together they constitute one third of the global population and currently produce 70% of our food on 60% of the earth’s arable land. And over the last decade they are increasingly being seen as essential for any long-term sustainable solution. 

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