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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog

Thursday
Jul132017

Farmers in Haiti Get Agricultural Support… and Shoes?

Farmers in the Laborde area in southern Haiti trying on their new Vans shoes. The gift had special meaning
because of how much these farmers lost when Hurricane Matthew caused so much damage in their area.

It began as a simple question. Would the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA)  like a gift of 4,000 pairs of shoes for our farmer members in Haiti?

The question had been posed by Timberland, our long-time sponsor and soon-to-be client (when we reintroduce cotton to Haiti). But the offer was not for Timberland footwear, but rather shoes made by Vans. Both companies are owned by the VF Corporation and have factories near each other in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Sun Jade International, the factory that manufactures Vans shoes, worked closely with Timberland to facilitate the donation.

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Saturday
Jul012017

Good News, Despite What You’ve Heard

John Brimah, on the back of a motorbike, had leprosy as a child and is now in charge of a leprosy,
hospital in Ganta, Liberia. Photo credit Monique Jaques for The New York Times.

REPRINT > Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times

GANTA, Liberia — Cheer up: Despite the gloom, the world truly is becoming a better place. Indeed, 2017 is likely to be the best year in the history of humanity. 

To explain why, let me start with a story. I’m on my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student, who this year is Aneri Pattani, a newly minted graduate of Northeastern University. One of the people we met is John Brimah, who caught leprosy as a boy.

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Monday
Jun122017

Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Merge to Create Single Agriculture Sustainability Standard

REPRINT > Sustainable Brands

Two of the world’s leaders in sustainable agriculture and certification, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have announced plans to merge later this year in an effort to simplify the certification process for sustainable agriculture.

Under the name Rainforest Alliance, the organization will continue to address environmental and social issues around the world, including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a single global certification standard by 2019 that will streamline certification for farmers and empower companies to build more responsible supply chains, more efficiently. It will also work to expand advocacy efforts and through new partnerships ensure conservation of entire landscapes in priority regions from India to Indonesia and Guatemala to Ghana.

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Thursday
Jun082017

A possible future for Haiti

REPRINT > The Economist

DUSDUNES, HAITI – Swivel, clank, scoop, dump. On the outskirts of Desdunes, a town in Haiti’s fertile Artibonite valley, three enormous excavators sink claws into the banks of the muddy Duclos canal. Arching across it, their slender hydraulic arms uproot small trees and drag them through the clay-coloured water as they gouge out mud from the canal bed. They deposit the glistening sludge, mixed with tall grasses, on their side of the channel, forming a neat ridge. Bored-looking policemen lounge in the shade of palm trees, ostensibly to deter thieves from stealing the machines’ batteries. Blue-grey herons stand to attention; cows and horses graze. Ahead of the excavators, the canal is a mere incision through the fens. Behind lies the result of their work: the canal looks wide enough to accommodate a battleship. Naked boys dive in, seeking respite from the Caribbean sun.

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Tuesday
May232017

Timberland and Thread Partner to Drive Social Impact in Haiti

The Timberland X Thread collection features five styles of men’s footwear, two bags and one T-shirt —
all made from recycled plastic bottles collected in the streets of Haiti.

REPRINT > by Mary Mazzoni for Triple Pundit

Earlier this month, outdoor gear giant Timberland announced a partnership that quickly drew attention across the web.

The company collaborated with Thread, a Certified B Corporation based in Pittsburgh, on its latest clothing line. The startup transforms plastic bottles from the streets of Haiti and Honduras into what it calls “the most responsible fabric on the planet.”

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Tuesday
Jan312017

A Phoenix Rising in Haiti

An SFA tree nursery under construction in Archambeau, Haiti, next to a giant breadfruit tree felled by
Hurricane Matthew last October.

Smallholder farmers throughout the southwestern region of Haiti have risen up to begin rebuilding following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew last October. One image taken last Friday captures the spirit of this vast enterprise as a farmer (above) works on a new tree nursery next to a giant breadfruit tree felled by the storm.

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Wednesday
Jan042017

Haiti Gains Regional Support for Smallholder Cotton Production

The author's great nephew Tobias, with help from the always patient family dog Loki, modeling a shirt
made from smallholder-grown organic cotton from Brazil.

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) represented Haiti at a meeting in Paraguay last month to discuss strengthening the cotton sector throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. And yes, the photo below is part of the story... keep reading.

Much of the meeting's agenda focused on the experience and needs of smallholder organic cotton producers in the region. While Brazil produces the most conventionally-grown cotton, it was surprising to learn that Peru is the regional leader in smallholder organic cotton. There are also significant smallholder cotton operations in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and other countries.

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Tuesday
Dec202016

First Steps Towards Farm Recovery in Haiti

Hugh Locke and Timote Georges (second and third from left) meeting with representatives of the 1,200
family farms the SFA is helping to restore following the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Last Friday my colleague Timote Georges and I were in the southwest of Haiti meeting with leaders representing the 1,200 farm families that we are assisting to start farming again following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew on October 4th.

In partnership with Project Medishare, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) is providing the seed, tools and training these farmers need to get going again. Crop destruction ranged from 75 to 100% in this region of Haiti, which traditionally accounts for more than half the country's total food production.

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