EPIC and our partners work to provide tools, resources and training so that Haitian farmers can grow sustainable crops that feed their community and provide an ongoing source of income over the long-term. This program also offsets human-caused declines in the endangered Black-capped Petrel population by engaging communities living adjacent to or near petrel habitat in activities that alleviate poverty and are beneficial to petrels.
Establishing and supporting Village Savings and Loans Associations in Haiti, the foundations from which sustainable agricultural practices are launched, is a strategic approach in partnership with Plant With Purpose. Through meetings, training and regular communication, problems are identified, and best practices are implemented at individual farms and then throughout the farming community.
Many sustainable practices have been embraced by Boukan Chat farmers, including the use of soil water retention and stabilization strategies along farmed hillsides. This and other agroecological techniques support long-term sustainability of farm plots by maintaining soil productivity, thus preventing an historic practice of clearing additional forested lands. Cisterns have also been built to support the community in weathering periodic droughts.
Tree planting throughout farmed areas has become an established practice as it increases soil retention, alleviates soil erosion in farmed areas, while also increasing income potential to families, thereby improving Black-capped Petrel habitat. To support this effort, EPIC helped to establish tree nurseries in Boukan Chat, Haiti that supplies the farmers with planting materials to establish sustainable perennial agroforestry systems and replace short‐term cash crop production.
By recognizing the intertwined relationship between poverty alleviation and conservation, EPIC’s sustainable agriculture program empowers communities living adjacent to or near the petrel population with tools to rise out of poverty and restore the Black-capped Petrel’s forest habitat. These program activities achieve a broader watershed-level impact, as communities are equipped with the tools needed to bring about sustainable economic, environmental, and community renewal.