Agricultural produce grown in Luly consists mainly of plantains, breadfruit and watermelon. In order to produce sufficient food to support families in the Luly area, higher yields and more diverse crops must be incorporated. Increased crop yields will enable families to have a more balanced diet as well as provide excess amounts to sell at local and regional markets, thereby augmenting family incomes. A high percentage of families in Luly are single mothers with an average of four children (2001 report by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division). A recent assessment by American medical professionals of primary school children in the area showed that 30% of all students are in the low percentiles of growth indicating widespread malnourishment.
Earlier in 2011 World Wide Village purchased two parcels of land; one is the piece where the earthquake damaged church/school building is located; the other is bare land contiguous to the first parcel. The master plan for the two parcels shows a new school building, new latrines, a bio-digester (described later) and a plan for a cooperative Community Garden to be operated by 35 families in Luly.
The Luly Community Garden project will enable the 26 selected co-op members and their families to enhance their diets for better health and to become more self-sufficient. Crops grown in the garden will be small and large varieties of tomatoes, peppers, millet, carrot, eggplant, cucumber, and peanuts. The vegetables have been selected by the Haitian women because of their nutritional value and their importance in traditional meal preparation. Tomatoes and bell peppers contain a high concentration of vitamins A and C, beta carotene and Lycopene – all of which are strong combatants of anemia, cholesterol build up, diabetes, and heart disease, common health challenges in Haiti.
Adjacent to the bio-digester on the second parcel of land has over 150 Moringa trees planted. Moringa is often referred to as The Miracle tree throughout the tropics due to its exceptionally nutritious leaves and its seeds water purifying capabilities. Leaflets contain seven times the Vitamin C of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the Calcium of milk, three times the potassium of bananas, three times the iron of spinach, and two times the protein of yogurt. Equally miraculous is its ability to grow in a drought and grow incredibly quickly. Reaching up to eight feet within three months, it is a superb addition to the narrow diet of the Luly community. A solar dehydrator and hand grinders will be used to assist in drying, processing, and packaging the Moringa leaves for sale or personal use.
The program focuses on sustainability through education, locally-sourced materials, idea sharing, community cooperation, and continued support. Our mission for training Haitian gardeners stems from 1 Timothy 6:18, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” By empowering the local community with garden techniques, and encouraging them with scripture, we are prayerfully seeking a positive outcome of decreased malnutrition in Luly.
Extensive training will take place in December of 2011 for the 26 chosen participants, followed by 4 to 7 days of planting and support. (Sign up for a Garden Team Trip here)! The Haitian overseer will visit the gardens weekly to assess plant growth, give brief gardening lessons, and accommodate needs of the community manager. World Wide Village will provide multiple brochures, step-by-step drawings, recipes, nutritional information, and local seed resources in hopes of relieving chronic dependency and aiding the spread of nutrition beyond the Luly participants.