Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Permaculture as a Means of Restoring Haiti's Environment and Economy

Haiti Rewired (an ongoing conversation about technology, infrastructure and the future of Haiti) has an interview with Geoff Lawton of the Australian Permaculture Research Institute on using Permaculture to rehabilitate Haiti`s landscape and provide sustainable livelihoods for residents.

Whereas typical government or corporate aid generally encourages dependence and helplessness, Permaculture has the opposite effect. By integrating local people`s skills with local resources, Permaculture projects create independence by teaching people to think for themselves and act in the best interests of their communities.

Although Haitians need emergency food supplies for the short term, it would be to their disadvantage to receive emergency aid without help for the long-term sustainability of the population. One of the reasons for Haiti`s ongoing poverty has been "aid" from organizations such as the World Bank that created the need for more and more exports to generate cash to make payments on the debt. Instead of growing food to feed the local population, Haitian agriculture focused on growing cash crops for export.

The urban gardens of Cuba are a good example of how a nation can deal with a crisis constructively. I have read that Havana`s urban plots provide more than 90% of the city`s fruits and vegetables at a low cost -- small gardens are far more efficient than large farms, and since the produce can be sold right where it is grown there are no shipping costs.

See Eat Local - Cuba`s  Urban Gardens Raise Food on Zero Emissions

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