Fr Jim Bretl Agriculture Center

In 2011 The Haiti Project bought 4.5 acres of land surrounding the chapel at Buchan Richard. This was the beginning of The Fr Jim Bretl Agriculture Center. In 2013 we moved to Haiti for half of the year Predominantly to develop the center and begin using it for demonstration gardens and educational workshops for peasant farmers. We introduced vanilla orchids and are producing beans at the center. There are peasant farmers raising vanilla beans as well.

The workshops grew out of a series of monthly farmer meetings that took place over a year. The focus of the meetings was, “What problem do you want to solve?” It took a year of meetings before the group, which numbered between 12 and 20, understood that they could do something about the problems they were discussing and take ownership.

Now, instead of “rescuing” people, we partner with people to find solutions.

We did this by facilitating adult education workshops. We are not education experts, but one thing Haiti has is selfless volunteers who are looking for opportunities to use their gifts and talents. We collaborated with these volunteers to lead these workshops and developed local Haitians into leadership positions.

The agriculture workshops introduced new crops, such as vanilla, and taught methods to increase food production in small areas. We also presented some workshops for women focusing on nutrition. Each of these workshops directly impacted between 150 and 200 people. When people left the workshops, they shared the information with their friends, family, and neighbors.

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