Celebrate 50th year of EARTH DAY by planting trees in Haiti

Few other places are as emblematic of environmental collapse as Haiti.  It is an island threatened by rising sea level, an island vulnerable to violent weather from global warming and an island economy crippled by endemic poverty.  Its deficit of trees is a party to to all of these.  

But planting trees massively can induce positive change.  While that may seem as daunting as building Daytona Beach one grain of sand at a time, we must remember the recovery of Lake Erie, the recovery from the Dustbowl in the Great Plains and other instances, where collapsed environments have been restored by human intervention and the force of ecological systems.  

Our reforestation program is embarked on this quest.  Last month a group of Haitians and Americans built a new shade house at our nursery in Terrier Rouge to grow more trees.  Now we're onto the next step, getting them into the ground on Haiti's hills and we need your help.  For $1 we can deliver and plant a tree and in 9 months it will be taller than you.  That's a deal you'd jump on for your own backyard.

But on Haiti's hills trees are more than shade, they are economic assets for families, shapers of climate, conservers of water, controllers of soil erosion, reducers of floods, and removers of carbon from our planet's atmosphere (which only photosynthesis can do).  In other words, when we plant trees for you in your Haitian backyard, there is a local and a global impact - a commemoration of Earth Day's reminder that there's Only One Earth.  

P.S. Remember, in the tropics trees grow fast, so within nine months, your trees will be taller than you are and within three years will be returning income to families on the land.  That's a deal for a buck!  Our goal is ten thousand trees in the ground by Christmas. With a group effort it's do-able  -  little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the mighty land. 

Posted on March 21, 2017 .

Its not just the Apprentice who learns

The beauty of the Apprentice Program is that it not only teaches skills to the Apprentice but also teaches business skills to the Master. The other morning I caught  JP's business trainer helping a master tailor set up books for his business on his laptop.  We are also working with him to develop ideas on new markets.  When his business grows, so will jobs, and for an economy with massive youth unemployment that is a good thing.  It will also strengthen the capacity of Haiti's economy to service itself and that is a paramount goal.   You can imagine the impact on a Haitian tailor of tons of donated clothing from the US,  not unlike the impact of free medical aid on the capacity of Haitian doctors, or the consequence to Haitian farmers of massive food aid.  Charity almost always has unintended consequences and the only solution is to get smarter about anticipating and offsetting them. We can do better than the cliches of charity.

Posted on April 26, 2016 .

Behind the smiles I saw the pride of doing something well

Our apprenticeship program is up and running and giving the chance of a lifetime to young people who face the bleak future of more of the same poverty they were born into. It gives them the opportunity to learn a trade from a master and get on track for a vocation that delivers dignity and security. We now have apprenticeships in engine mechanics, tailoring, soap-making, beekeeping, electricity, welding, and cabinetry. The beauty of an apprenticeship is that it not only transfers skill knowledge from master to apprentice but also helps grow the master’s business and create more jobs.  During the apprenticeship period (mostly one year), we monitor the apprentices’ performance and help the masters expand their business.  $185 will provide a one-year apprenticeship that will launch a life and strengthen a rural community. That’s amazing value for a life-changer.  Go to our donate page if you want to help. 

Some of the many who are working hard to improve their chances in life.

Some of the many who are working hard to improve their chances in life.

Posted on April 22, 2016 .