“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” - Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Yesterday, festivals and celebrations were held in cities across the country in celebration of Labor and Agriculture Day, including at Pwoje Espwa!
Staff, local agriculturists, resident children and children from the community convened for a discussion on the importance of trees and agriculture. Espwa staff members and local farmers took turns speaking to the children about why we celebrate Labor and Agriculture Day, the importance of caring for the environment, and the vital role of farmers.
While deforestation problems began with colonization in the 1700s, Haiti has experienced large-scale deforestation since the 1980s, today primarily due to the production of charcoal, which involves harvesting wood and heating it to remove water and volatile compounds. Much of the Haiti’s population of 11 million depends on charcoal as their fuel source, and consequently a source of income for those who sell charcoal.
Not only does deforestation lead to the destruction of natural habitats for animals, but it increases the risk of landslides and flooding. Without tree roots to hold soil, mountains and sloping areas lose their topsoil to erosion; without trees to soak up rainwater, lowland areas are more prone to catastrophic floods. Natural disasters and political turmoil keep resolutions for environmental issues out of reach.
Staff at Espwa recognize the importance of teaching younger generations how to farm sustainably, even as the children grow up and seek other careers. Many families in Haiti rely on subsistence farming to support their families, meaning they grow just enough for their family members to consume.
Their message was clear: the health of the environment affects us all, and responsible stewardship for the earth starts with knowledge.
Please consider making a donation in honor of Labor and Agriculture Day in support of our Farm2Kitchen Program!