It is hard to hear anything positive about Haiti amid the cacophony of alarms being sounded about the dire state of the nation. And while this negative media coverage is more than justified, there is also an extraordinarily positive story about three significant changes to the global agricultural sector that are being piloted at the moment by smallholder farmers in rural Haiti.
The first change is a radical new farming system called “regenerative” agriculture. This may be a new term for many, but it is steadily gaining adherents around the world who see it as a more holistic approach whereby farmers thrive by cultivating a healthy planet and community along with the products they grow.
The second big change centers on advances in data technology making it possible to track and measure—in granular detail and linked to geospatial mapping—the environmental and social impact of the regenerative crops grown by smallholder farmers .
The third change has to do with a new system of radical transparency that gives consumers direct access to data that verifies product claims regarding environmental and social impact. Why pay for expensive third-party certification when you can just put all the data out there and let people decide for themselves?
Each of these changes is sufficiently disruptive to qualify as revolutionary. And while that term could skew as hyperbolic or negative, it is used here to describe three processes that are of the transformative and paradigm-shifting type, and not political.
What is truly remarkable is that the front line for all three of these international and interconnected revolutions is in hundreds of Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) member farms, each less than 2 hectares or 5 acres and located in some of the most remote areas of Haiti.
This is indeed a big Haitian story. So big that it took four editors and a team of contributors, researchers and designers to tell it in a new online edition of The Lydion Magazine called Turning Earth Into Gold. Following are links to three of the main articles from the current issue.
Each of the articles in the Turning Earth Into Gold online magazine reflects a different facet of the Smallholder Data Services (SDS) platform and app. This new for-profit venture is the result of years of research and development by the SFA, and in acknowledgement of that critical role, the SFA is now a significant equity shareholder in SDS and an ongoing financial beneficiary.