During Lent 2004, St. Andrew began an initiative to aid the children of Haiti. It began with prayers. As we learned more about the dire need in Haiti, our relationship grew. First we collected vitamins for the children. Next we sponsored a local Haitian’s training to become a health worker. Then, through the leadership of parishioner Dr. Charlotte Farin, who is also a professor of animal science at NC State, the Haiti Goat Project was born.
The core concept of the program is simple: to survive and succeed, children need food. St. Andrew is part of a larger project to build an infrastructure for raising fish, chickens and goats that provide a stable source of food, and most importantly vital protein, lacking in the children’s diet. Our parish has focused on beginning and expanding the goat population.
St. Andrew’s parish has raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years that funded the creation and advancement of the herd, provided critical supplies and built the goat barn, a facility that has been used not only for housing the goats but also for training other producers on ways to manage their own animals.
The Farm-to-Fork Chili Kabrit program began in 2012 when a group of St. Andrew’s parishioners traveled to Christianville to see if making goat-vegetable chili could be done and if Haitian children would actually like it. It was a success on both accounts and the Farm-to-Fork program was born. The Farm-to-Fork Program is a perfect example of how all of the programs in Christianville work together. Chili Kabrit starts with protein provided from goats purchased from local farmers or by the Haiti Goat Project. Vegetables come from local producers or from Christianville’s gardens. The students of the Christianville vocational agricultural program and the culinary institute work together to produce the chili. The end result is a highly nutritious and transportable food product that also supports the development of the local economy. Each month more than 800 US dollars are pumped into the local agricultural economy to directly support local goat producers and vegetable growers in the Gressier community as they provide the components needed for making Chili Kabrit.
Every Lent our parish collects donations to support the ongoing work of the Haiti Goat Project. Through the parish’s generous suport, we have accomplished:
- Establishment of a goat herd that produces high quality animals that are available for distribution to other producers or to school feeding programs
- Providing educational programs and hands-on training for producers interested in improving their goat management skills
- Construction of an excellent facility for handling the growing Christianville goat herd and for testing methods to improve pastures and forages to support better goat production in Haiti
- Development of a feeding program for local children with distribution of over 900 meals a month
- Providing an economic stimulus to the local agricultural economy by purchasing Farm-to-Fork program supplies from local goat farmers and vegetable producers.
The Big Picture
The project is headquartered at the Christianville Foundation, a 65-acre compound in the town of Gressier, Haiti. Our parish’s financial support has enabled the farm operation to build a successful goat program. By introducing genetics from U.S. herds, the program has built a sustainable herd – which means a reliable source of food for school children. The farm feeds lunch to 1800 children each day.
Our support was also instrumental after the 2010 earthquake in reconstruction of a Haitian school, providing the goat barn as a facility to house school children and then rebuilding the goat program after it was used to meet immediate needs during the crisis.
Plans for the Future
Between 2014 and 2016 the Farm-to- Fork program grew from providing 225 meals each month in Fall 2014 to 450 meals each month in Spring 2016 to 900 meals currently being served each month to rural school children. Our goal is to double, or even triple, our monthly Chili Kabrit production so many more needy children can be served and stronger economic support can be provided to goat and vegetable producers in the local community.
The goat heard has grown to over 65 animals with a goal of growing the herd to 85 animals this year.
Support Haiti Goat All Year Long
You can also help the Haiti Goat project when you buy books through barnesandnoble.com. 6% of your purchase will be returned to St. Andrew and donated to the Haiti Goat project if you enter their website by clicking this Barnes & Noble Link.