haiti: raising awareness of gmos and supporting local food
In 2008, the food crisis in Haiti meant that large quantities of food were imported into the country as humanitarian aid. In most cases, no information was provided on the nature of the products, including whether or not they contained GMOs.
FoE Haiti worked to raise public awareness of the harmful impacts of GMOs on human health, agriculture and the environment. They also worked to reinforce local food production in Savane Brulée, where they were already working with the community to build rainwater harvesting systems and help people adapt to climate change.
FoE Haiti produced and distributed training materials on GMOs, and organized events to inform and mobilize people on the GM issue.
They also distributed locally grown seeds for planting in the next farming season. Unfortunately, this crop was largely ruined by the hurricanes. FoE Haiti assisted the affected communities after the hurricanes, by providing locally produced food and other necessities.
FoE Haiti helped with the production of maize, and when this was harvested in November, they organized the storage of part of the crop for planting in spring 2009.
People in Savane Brulée are now well informed about the risks of GMOs. Women were particularly involved in all the awareness raising activities.
The community now has a seed store, and a system to ensure that seed is saved from each harvest to enable other smallholders to develop their farming activities.
One of the most positive impacts has been the growth of community solidarity and mutual aid in a difficult period. Women in particular were involved in distributing locally grown food to hurricane victims.
FoE Haiti has put a framework in place to ensure the project continues. They have set up a committee to oversee the seed store, and have submitted a proposal to the FoEI Membership Support Fund to extend the rainwater harvesting project.
with thanks to our funders: the sigrid rausing trust