Planting the Seeds of Health
Lucian Lee is pursuing his masters degree in development practice at Columbia University. For the past three months he has been in Haiti volunteering in the role of public health specialist with CMMB.
In this piece, Lucian talks about the power of planting in the remote and poor community of Côtes-de-Fer and how it can change the lives of vulnerable women and children.
Children and Mothers Partnerships (CHAMPS) aims to transform the lives of vulnerable women and children by targeting the leading causes of morbidity and mortality.
As CMMB works hard to improve maternal and child health, it is clear that holistic and sustainable improvements in health must include improvements in nutrition and livelihoods. Without a foundation in good nutrition and access to nutritious foods, people inevitably slip back into a state of poor health, fueling the negative cycle of weak immunity and disease.
Planted right next to the newly inaugurated Bishop Joseph Sullivan Hospital in Côtes-de-Fer, are two small organic farms to support the CHAMPS program. Fruits and vegetables such as papaya, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots, and peppers are grown here, and provided to mothers and children in need.
To empower families to become self-reliant and even generate their own income, vegetable seedlings are provided along with agricultural basic training to help them grow their own food in their home gardens.
“Thanks to CMMB, I now have my own home garden that I work hard,with the technical support of the CMMB staff, to make sure I get the most out of my harvest. My home garden has helped improve the nutrition of my children and earn extra income for my family. We keep a part of the harvest for ourselves, and I sell the rest at the market to buy other ingredients. Most of the crops have a short harvest cycle (maximum 3 months), and the produce is very suitable for our local culture. My life has been challenging and before this I never knew how I would be able to feed my family. But this activity has started to turn my life around for the better.” -Adeline Francois, 37, mother of six.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn
In this video, agricultural engineer Lunis Alcide describes a few simple and environmentally-friendly methods applied at the farm to improve yields and keep people and plants healthy:
Lunis and his team are planting more than crops – they are planting the seeds for a better and healthier tomorrow.