Saturday, September 6, 2014

Kenel' first week with urban farmers in Portland, Oregon

simpson farm, csa farm, northeast portland, sarah taylor, kenel

Kenel has come to Portland from Hinche to spend the year in Portland, Oregon.  Having, through no fault of his own, lost his agricultural school scholarship in Haiti, Oregon State University offered him a year internship in small farm agriculture and sustainability.  This blog, which we will try to write together hopes to document what he learns and its relevance to life in Haiti.

The United Nations estimates that 6.7 million Hatiens are food insecure.  Three quarters of the people live on less than $2 per day and over half live on less than $1.   Many of the most loved foods and indeed staples are imported and many crops face the challenges of hurricanes, droughts, a lack of irrigation and a loss of top soil due to de-forestation.

In Portland, many people have re-committed themselves to local, seasonal food, small farms, cooperative agriculture, backyard bees and chickens, rain catchment and preserving food.   Can these farmers and alternative technology engineers teach Kenel things that might help the people of Haiti?  Can Kenel come to understand the ancient wisdom of his island; things often lost in the centuries of slavery, colonization and dictatorships.   What can he learn about global economics and politics and how it effected hunger on his home island?

He has been here one week and I am humbled every minute by what we have in comparison to an average rural family in Haiti.  It is making me look at everything.   But for now we are rolling up our sleeves and making pickles, catsup and drying our harvest.  We are digging into the question of food preservation both here and in Haiti.   i look at my yard, full of ornamentals and see all the food that could be grown there; food for my family and food for the food bank.

It has been fun to watch Kenel ride his bike through Portland, work on a small farm, help the school gardner and take his first stab at bee keeping.  He has seen and tasted so much.

Here is Kenel.....

My first week at school in Portland, Oregon it was very good.  I learned a lot about farming, I learned how to plant things to feed people. I think it was pretty easy to me, I hope next week it will be good too.  I learned about bees so I think many of you guys know how important bees is important in the world, the bees help us pollinate plants in the world. I hope when I return to Haiti I will teach people how to do bees more than they know already. I am so happy to be in United States of America for school and then bring what I learned back to Haiti, Haiti needs that and Haiti wants that too in the future.


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