The original project goal was to build 50 raised gardens for women living deep within the mountainside of Haiti. The Hait Plunge was able to build 37 with a $10,000 grant from the Two West Foundation, as well as several others from donations by generous friends of the program. As with any project in Haiti, cost over runs are a reality because of the circumstances. From the onset of the project in 2016 the cost of the wood for the gardens has more than doubled. HPI will continue to build the raised gardens but will use cinder blocks which are less expensive. Building with blocks presents its own set of problems especially when trying to transport 120 cinder blocks to the home of the women. Each block weighs 20 lbs.
A survey was conducted with the women in August 2017 to see just how much the gardens benefitted the women and their families. 30 women had three harvests and 7 had two harvests of the vegetables they grew: carrots, beets, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, and squash. A few experimented with broccoli and cauliflower. They used all of the produce to feed their families. A few would occasionally sell vegetables to the HPI teams because they wanted us to taste what they grew. When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in Oct. 2016 all of the major crops grown in the family gardens were destroyed. The only gardens that survived the hurricane were the raised gardens. For some families that was their only food source. The Haitian population living in the mountains grow all their own food. For 18 months previous to Hurricane Matthew Haiti suffered from a drought. Food was extremely scarce. Many survived on roots. 55% of the children living in our villages suffer from malnourishment and diseases related to it.
Women have also learned how to compost which is absolutely necessary to enrich their soil for each new planting. HPI received a grant to build a community compost bin which will be accessible to all the women in the village of Brely for their gardens. The plan is to build one large compost bin in each village for the women to access.
Each garden cost $300 USD to build, which includes the materials to build the garden plus the start up seeds and a water collection barrel.