29 May Orchards Adding to Nutrition/diversity
Trees, the more we plant the better we will be. Trees provide food, oxygen, soak up gases such as carbon dioxide, help climate change, give homes to wildlife, and welcome shade on very hot days. During Hurricane Matthew’s massive destruction, October 2016, 90% of all trees were destroyed in SW Haiti. Planting orchards to replace these trees will help to bring down the prices of imported fruit at the marketplace which will help with the increasing food-insecurity problems that are present in this area.
Three types of trees have been added to the farms – Mango, Lime and Soursop. The newest addition is soursop. The outside of this fruit looks a little strange, with its leathery skin and prickly outer coat. But break into this tough skin and you will find a special treat. Soursop has the luscious taste of a combination of strawberry and pineapple and is well known for not only its fruit but also its delicious juice. One would think, how could anything this good be good for you? But surprisingly, with every bite, this fruit is packed full of nutrients. Soursop is rich in antioxidant compounds, which help to fight inflammation. It has anti-arthritic properties, and is full of Vitamin C, E, zinc which combined can promote vision health. Not only is the fruit full of nutrients but the leaves also provide more health benefits. When applied topically, soursop leaf can enhance wound healing and reduce inflammation. Scientists have found the extract from the leaves to be effective at reducing the frequency and duration of certain types of seizures. Its leaves have also been under intensive anti-cancer studies that so far have had very positive results.
Diversifying crops is also fundamental to grow healthy crops. Growing different crops helps to protects from disease, pests and drought. PHF pays close attention to diversifying their crops for these reasons. In addition to the three tree farms of mango, lime and soursop, PHF is growing 7 different crops on their farms which include, ground crops, other experimental crops as well as plantain.
Healthcare in Haiti is not available to many, and the healthcare that is provided is often limited in scope. Therefore, the men of PHF are finding ways to grow fruits and vegetables with the most nutrients and disease fighting benefits possible to help build strong bodies and ward off specific diseases. Well Done PHF! So much thought and planning is being put into this project, to benefit SW Haiti as well as the entire country.