Hope in Haiti, Day 3: Farm to Table

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorFifty-two orphanages. 279 schools. 25 million meals.

It’s all in a year’s work for Convoy of Hope in Haiti.

Since 2007, Convoy has delivered 78 million meals to Haitian children.

“The Haitian people, they call the food ‘convoy.’ They say, ‘I want to eat some Convoy,'” says Dormeille Olson, a local translator we met on the site of Convoy’s 36,000-square-foot warehouse.

Convoy raised $1 million to build the warehouse last year – a significant upgrade from a 7,500-square-foot building – on property owned by veteran service agency Mission of Hope.

The first shipment of Haitian-grown rice and beans is in the warehouse.

The first shipment of Haitian-grown rice and beans is in the warehouse.

Another number keeps the program alive: 47,000. That’s how many children are next on a list for the feeding program.

“The main goal is to get the kids doing better in school and better physical development,” says Lookens Pickering, assistant director for Mission of Hope, an organization that’s partnered with Convoy for food distribution.

On our warehouse tour, we walked right into a historic event. The first shipment of locally grown rice had arrived and would be packed for storage and distribution beginning Monday. The rice – and some beans – represents the first packing project under a three-way partnership with Convoy, Mission of Hope and Minnesota-based Feed My Starving Children. Two years in the making, it’s enough crops to pack 400,000 meals, grown by a cooperative of some 3,000 Haitian rice farmers.

Manasse Mersilus, Convoy of Hope's local agriculture lead, holds the first bag packed with Haitian-grown rice and beans.

Manasse Mersilus, Convoy of Hope’s local agriculture lead, holds the first bag packed with Haitian-grown rice and beans.

The organizations act like three legs on a stool. As it was explained to me, Convoy is the dirt and seed for local farmers; FMSC is an expert in packing systems; and Mission of Hope has the distribution channels.

In the agriculture program, farmers agree to give 10% of harvest back to feed children, 10% for seed next season and 80% of their own choosing, usually selling at market or feeding their families.

“You should be sustainable on your own because you have the seed,” says Manasse Mersilus, Convoy’s local ag lead, of the expectations on the farmers.

It makes me think back to what I heard co-founder Hal Donaldson say on the airline commercial:

“Dropping food off the back of a truck, anyone can do that. But are we making lasting change?”

Hope in Haiti 2013 004

Hope in Haiti 2013 019 Hope in Haiti 2013 017 Hope in Haiti 2013 021


0 Responses to “Hope in Haiti, Day 3: Farm to Table”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

RSS Latest Headlines from SBJ.net

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

SBJ Tweets

Archived Blog Posts

All content © 2008 SBJ Publishing Inc.

*The newsroom blog of Springfield Business Journal

%d bloggers like this: