Veggie Platter

A Healthy + Viable Community

Communities in the Caribbeans

 

Sadly, Caribbean countries have grappled with poverty and related problems for decades. The Caribbean’s small island economies have been facing formidable challenges in dealing with globalization, particularly in relation to the vital agricultural sector. Race, class and gender hierarchies of colonial domination have left a legacy of exclusion of the poor. Despite general improvements in living standards, poverty rates average 30% of the Caribbean population.
 

With a population of approximately 21 000, the municipality of Miches (where our pilot project #1 is located) has historically been an isolated community located in one of the poorest regions of the Dominican Republic. 55.6% of the population lives in poverty and 9.4% in extreme poverty. The main economic activities have been agriculture, cattle-raising, artisanal fishing, micro-business services and artisanal crafts. The population has been the socioeconomic challenges of emerging rural communities, such as unemployment, low levels of education and underdevelopment.

Unskilled labourers and farmers represent the largest and second largest proportions of the economically active population, respectively; both segments lack skills and are poorly paid. Climate change impacts, such as stronger hurricane events, have put additional hardship on farmers due to loss of yields and incomes. The lack of applied technical knowledge and vocational skills put more stress on the population, as Miches is slowly moving towards becoming the next big tourist destination in the country.

 

In the agricultural sector, most small farmers lack the adequate tools to properly manage their fields and tend to overlook safer, more ecological practices to treat their soil and crops, mostly due to little conscience of the environmental and health consequences associated. They also face challenges when it comes to organizing to gain better control of the commercialization of their crops and end up selling through intermediaries who keep most of the profit.

 

#FOOD SECURITIES

Today, resilient food systems are more essential than ever.

Small farmers and local women networks have to develop in order to support increasing demand

for secure, local supply chain for healthy organic food.

 

Our pilot project in Miches has so far been incredibly successful

The SeaGreen project has offered an integrated approach that provides benefits to local residents and agricultural communities by helping in the creation of alternative livelihoods and increasing decentralized food production for enhanced food security.

 

Our work has included:

  • supporting a group of women in the community of Hicaco Blanco {Miches} to enhance technical skills on agricultural practices

  • establishing organic home gardens, where these women can grow produce for domestic consumption, share with neighbours and possibly sell any surplus

  • teaching some basics in finance and business such as non-formal training on domestic finances

  • commercializing value-added products that can leverage sustainability to garner higher prices in the market (via an eco label).