The Fleri Farm Story
“Agriculture is the basis of all civilization” (4-H). It is our original vocational calling (Genesis 2:4–15). Food security and job opportunity are two of the biggest obstacles to breaking the cycle of poverty in Haiti. So, Fleri Farm was established in 2017.
Starting with 3 employees on 7 acres, we’ve grown to 50 local farmers producing 25 crops on 30 acres. Fleri Farm is located 4 miles northwest of downtown Port-au-Prince, just 2 miles north of Hope Village. Our land bridges the Menelas and Fontaine Duvivier neighborhoods, an area that has been hit very hard by political unrest during recent years. Our current focus is the growth and strengthening of our Community Farming initiative.
Community Farming Plots
Most of Fleri Farm is leased to individuals or small groups living within walking distance of the farm. Tenants are given access to seeds, tools, and irrigation. They choose to pay cash or a minor share of their harvest for rent, and utilize their crops for their families or small businesses. As of spring 2021, we have 50 participants, with plans to grow to 100 by the end of 2021.
Our Community Farming Program:
- Builds neighborhood interest in the performance and security of the farm
- Empowers veteran farmers to mentor other inexperienced tenants
- Provides a platform for ministry and discipleship activities
- Welcomes schools and other groups of children to learn about farms and land care
- Creates business opportunities for 5x more families than conventional staffing
What’s growing on the farm?
Fleri is a polyculture farm. Multiple crops of different sizes and types are interplanted. Crop diversity makes more efficient use of sunlight and nutrients, while minimizing the need for pesticide or fertilizer. Polyculture offers higher potential yield versus mono-crop farming, and is easy for community farmers to maintain with basic tools. The canopy includes 2500 mango, plantain, coconut, papaya, and avocado trees, plus 500 recently planted citrus, breadfruit, and cherry saplings. Tall crops include okra, corn, beans, eggplant, sugar cane, yucca, and amaranth. Shorter crops include onion, peppers, melon, carrot, and peanut. Support crops including vetiver, citronella, castor, and chaya help to retain soil, deter pests, and build mulch.
Farm to Table:
The majority of our harvest belongs to the community farmers. Some is directly used by their families and neighbors, some is sold to local restaurants or markets, and some is purchased by Healing Haiti. Thus, our harvest directly impacts the food security of the neighborhoods surrounding Fleri Farm, and our ministries in Titanyen and Cite Soleil. A small portion is used at Fleri Resto, with focus on ingredients that can be difficult to source locally during certain times of year, decreasing dependence on imported food.
Value-added farm products are an attractive prospect for economic development, because of the fine flavors and long growing season of many Haitian crops, and close proximity to North and South American markets. Dried mango slices, peanut butter, jam, and salsa are prime candidates. Their long shelf-life gives better access to food during undersupplied seasons. Recipes can include material salvaged from blemished crops, which otherwise would be sold at low grade or wasted. Non-food products such as oils and lotions can be derived from crop waste or support crops. Overall, there is potential to create a good income source that competes minimally with the local food supply.
Staff spotlight: Novay
Upon entering Fleri Farm, you’ll be cheerfully greeted by Norvert (pronounced no-vay). Norvert has four children, is a career farmer, and has lived most of his 55 years within walking distance of Fleri Farm. His youthful enthusiasm combine with decades of experience and deep relationships in the surrounding neighborhoods, all of which make him an effective leader and mentor for our growing group of community farmers. Norvert’s favorite fruit is mango, fresh from the tree. He can often be found playing or watching soccer with kids of all ages in the neighborhood.