By Leah Nevada, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL)
Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, or SOIL, is an organization that Trees, Water & People partners with to plant trees in Haiti. Here, Leah Nevada, provides an update of the 10,000 Trees for Haiti campaign that donors helped us fund at the end of 2012.
In February, SOIL worked with the Scouts of Haiti to plant 800 trees in the northern Haitian community of Madeline. Additionally, we worked with 35 members from seven local community organizations in Trou du Nord in the Nord’Est region of Haiti to plant almost 900 trees. We strive to ensure trees are not only planted, but also kept alive and healthy. At every planting event, SOIL provides training on how often the seedlings should be watered and how to ensure healthy tree growth.
Follow-up visits to the planted seedlings showed positive results, but also a few trees in need of more care. SOIL is now working with the Scouts on an action plan to make sure that all trees are well taken care of and SOIL agronomists have been meeting with tree growers to promote farmers’ cooperatives and farm-based businesses designed to improve rural incomes. Out of the remaining trees left at the SOIL nursery, jointly funded with Trees, Water & People, 1,500 seedlings, including many rare and native species, are being transplanted at our beautiful orchard and more tests are being done on the optimal amount of EcoSan compost (“humanure”) or urine (an important source of nitrogen!) to use. We are currently planning which types of seedlings to plant in order to reach the 10,000 tree goal.
Trees in Haiti are more than just a seed in the ground – they provide nutritious fruit for families and they prevent soil erosion and flooding. People work hard to keep these trees growing in the face of drought and grazing animals, and when the trees reach the age of bearing fruit, it’s cause for celebration!