Why Agriculture

by | Apr 4, 2024

Love in Action compels Many Hands to address food insecurity in Haiti. Learn about the different ways we are developing communities through agriculture.

Haiti has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world. Nearly half of the population does not have enough to eat, 1.3 million are highly food insecure, 22% of children are chronically malnourished, and 66% of children under 5 suffer from anemia. These numbers are all rising daily in light of the current unrest.

Many Hands realizes that one of the most effective ways to step into this gap is through agriculture, and because of this, many of our programs center on this life-giving practice. We focus on meeting the food challenges that rural Haitians face, providing farming resources, creating scalable solutions, and furthering the agricultural education of local farmers. By focusing on sustainable farming solutions that meet the community’s needs, we tackle food insecurity, giving families the power to feed themselves.

Community (or Alpha) Gardens are plots where caregivers in the First 1,000 Days program can grow food for their families or to sell. They receive help, guidance, and training from our agriculture team throughout the growing process. Caregivers come to our campus to tend their gardens and learn skills and techniques as they work. When the crops are ready, caregivers will harvest them to eat or sell back to Many Hands for use in our programs. Produce grown in conjunction with our Alpha gardens produced over 15,000 pounds of food used by our daily programs. This kind of sustainability ensures we are set up for the long haul! Growing food locally is critical to creating food security. Through our production, supplemented with investments in local crops, we feed more than 1,600,000 meals a year.

Beyond the Alpha Gardens, Many Hands is also providing useful teaching for others in the community. This training program teaches local farmers best practices and techniques, allowing them to diversify their skills and increase crop yields. We select leaders from communities to learn from a qualified Haitian Agronomist, working together in classes and training plots. Students gain access to tools, water, seeds, and more.

Many disabled Haitians are unable to support themselves financially. With no sustainable income or access to food, they rely on others. We empower these individuals by teaching them to grow food using a raised garden bed. These are installed either on our campus or at their homes. These garden beds allow disabled individuals to create food security for themselves. Participants receive instruction and some starter seed to begin. They come daily to weed and water their gardens, learning from our agricultural team, and the produce they grow is theirs to sell.

The Husbandry Economic Project (H.E.P.) farmers’ cooperative is a holistic approach to community development, providing sustainable income for families. The cooperative works on a family-based distribution model. Parents with children in our programs can receive a pregnant goat and learn to breed and manage their herd with the help of our trained staff. Those in the Power to the Parents program visit our campus monthly for health checks on their goats. These checkups give us visibility into how the goats are doing and allow us to catch any problems early on. When raised to market weight, goats can be sold at market or back to Many Hands, feeding the children in our programs. Many Hands matches profits earned, and funds can be placed into an education fund for their child. By providing families with a means to support themselves and their children, we are giving power and dignity back to families.

Our agricultural program is also blessed to partner with local universities. In 2023 alone, we hosted eight interns. In doing so, we helped spread the reach of a growing agricultural sector throughout the country.

In Abaco, we are also building programs and partnerships focused on food production, agriculture training, and school-based programs to expand access to fresh, locally-grown produce. Through hydroponic farming, we aim to overcome the limitations of arable land and increase resilience against hurricanes. We will provide various training, including backyard farming, hydroponics, and raised garden bed farming, to enhance agricultural knowledge in the community.

Many Hands is constantly looking for ways to make food production more accessible to all who are willing to learn and work. We invite you to learn more about these programs and the people behind them:

None of these programs are possible without the support of donations from people like you. We invite you to come alongside us this month to reach our goal of raising $20,000 for Garden training for 100 families, helping them support themselves in the future.

If you would prefer to support our Agriculture programs generally, please click the button below and choose “where most needed” from the drop-down, and write Agriculture in the comments.

About Many Hands:

Many Hands is an Iowa-based nonprofit creating local and global life-transformation by strengthening families.  Established in 2008, the organization focuses on six key areas for transformation, including education, agronomy, leadership development, safe homes, medical assistance, and economic development. Each year, the organization reaches at least 25,000 people through their Haitian operations, IMPACT trips, and Many Hands Thrift Markets located in Grimes, Iowa, and Spencer, Iowa. 

Many Hands is called to transform together, to be love in action, in a broken world. 

Learn More

With instability and violence threatening people, life in Haiti is harder than ever before. Starting at $50, you can make a real difference for families facing critical needs.