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A Growing Balcony

Elide Barthole working in her balcony garden in Carrefour, Haiti. Photo: Simon Chambers

December 23, 2011

By Simon Chambers

Elide Barthole is lucky to still be living in her home in Carrefour, Haiti.  Over half the homes in her community were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.  Elide’s home looks somewhat unique, however, among those houses still standing in the area: it has no open land around it, but her balcony is surrounded by greenery.

Elide’s is one of 80 households in Carrefour that are part of an urban agriculture project PWRDF is supporting through CEDDIEC, the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s development organization.  In this program, 300 households around the Port-au-Prince area receive seeds, compost, agriculture training, and insecticides.

Households are chosen for the program based on the size of the household and having at least one child suffering from malnutrition living in the household.  Preference is given to vulnerable households (those headed by a single woman for example).

Elide spends about an hour a day working with the plants on her balcony.  In the 3m X 6m area, she is growing tomato, eggplant, basil, capsicum peppers, chili peppers, congo beans, parsley, lemon grass, and lettuce.  She makes her own fertilizer by mixing sand and charcoal, and gathered the various containers she uses to grow her vegetables from Port-au-Prince.

She has already started to harvest basil from the garden, which she shares with her neighbors to use in making tea.