Haitian Farmers Play Key Role in New Global Agricultural Movement
Updated: Oct 24
SFA farmer member Adillia inspects her regenerative cotton plants as they flowered last week. She anticipates harvesting the field starting in mid-December. Photo credit: SFA / Thomas Norielle.
A network of small farms in rural Haiti is at the forefront of a new global agricultural movement called regenerative agriculture. That this should be happening in Haiti is all the more amazing, given the gang-led violence that has overtaken the capital of Port-au-Prince and other urban areas.
Far from that chaos, it is on the farms in question near the northern city of Gonaives that members of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) harvested one of the world’s first verified regenerative cotton crops earlier this year. Their experience in transitioning from organic to regenerative farming has also played an important role in both inspiring and informing a groundbreaking series of seven reports, sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation and released this week, which explore the definition, implementation, verification and scaling of regenerative agriculture as this new movement continues to be shaped at a global level.
Regenerative agriculture, an often cited but little understood term, is a radical approach that centers on replenishing soil nutrients, helping to clean waterways and air, capturing carbon, and creating biodiverse farming systems that function holistically and support the well-being of all forms of life within its boundaries and beyond. It is rooted in indigenous and ancestral agroecological traditions, while at the same time drawing on decades of scientific and applied research by the international communities of organic farming, agroecology, holistic grazing, and agroforestry.
These seminal reports were produced by Smallholder Data Services (SDS), a for-profit research and consulting company. The reports are the work of the Terra Genesis regenerative design firm, which is part of SDS and has also guided the SFA in its implementation of a regenerative farming system that began with cotton and is expanding to include food crops as well.
From a country in turmoil comes a contribution to addressing the global challenge of climate change.
Hugh Locke, President, SFA
Timote Georges, Executive Director, SFA