UUSC Responds to Escalating Crisis in Haiti

Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

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Solidarity Gardens

June 5, 2014

I was recently in Haiti talking logistics with the leaders of the Bright Educators of Delmas (known as GEAD), our partner in boosting urban food sovereignty in Port-au-Prince. I gave them a quick update on our 100 Gardens project: more than 100 groups, families, and congregations have not only raised more than $32,000 to bring urban food gardens to 100 Haitian families but also committed to building their own gardens.

When I told GEAD that, their mouths just fell open — then they were exclaiming and slapping their knees in delight. They asked in wonder: “They are building solidarity gardens in the United States? Using us as an example?” Being agronomists, they wanted to know what you’ve planted, in what climates, and they started visualizing the growing timelines of your gardens.

Emmanuel Exuma, GEAD’s coordinator, told me, “This gives us the real feeling that our vision is spreading widely, beyond what we even imagined. The solidarity of these 100 groups will give us the motivation to redouble our efforts to realize our vision of no more hungry people in Port-au-Prince — and in Haiti.”

The funds that you’ve raised — and the energy you’ve infused into the project by building your own gardens — will make it possible to train 100 families in urban organic gardening and community organizing. The families will receive essential materials, learn the skills to create their own container or tire gardens, and get support to help them flourish.

Right now, UUSC is working with GEAD to make sure there’s a place for that training to happen! While I was with GEAD, we visited the land that’s been identified for their urban garden training center, which will feature the following:

  • A building where 40–50 people can be trained at a time
  • Storage for seeds and tools
  • Area for production of compost and natural pesticide
  • Model garden

Accessible by local transportation, the land is fertile. While we were at the site, GEAD members were picking up the soil, pointing out the color and consistency, explaining how it showed them this land would be ideal for the project’s needs.

As we work with GEAD to move this project forward, they’re eager to see the gardens that you’ve committed to building. Are you growing spinach? Peppers? GEAD wants to know!

Share photos and short videos of your solidarity gardens with us on Flickr!

  1. Go to flickr.com/groups/100gardens
  2. Click on “+ Join Group”
  3. Once you’ve joined, you’ll be able to upload photos or videos (1:30 and under!) from your Flickr photo stream by clicking on “+ Add Photos”

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