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Farmers, food recipients meet at Plant a Row for Haiti event

Posted by Cara Bayles  November 12, 2010 11:18 AM

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(Courtesy of Bill Stanton)

Celebrants gathered at the Voice of the Gospel Tabernacle to celebrate the first year of the Plant a Row for Haiti Project.


Farmers from Greater Boston met members of the immigrant community they served last night at the Voice of the Tabernacle Church.

Haitians who used more than 5,000 pounds of produce donated to two Mattapan food pantries from July through October brought home-cooked dishes to the potluck event.

For its Plant a Row for Haiti project, the Boston Natural Areas Network culled produce from its own Boston Natives learning farm in Mattapan, various community gardens, the state-owned Brookwood farm in Milton, and various farms in the Trustees of Reservations. While the vast majority of the produce came from the farms, the gardens netted more than 1,500 pounds of food, according to the network's spokesman, Bill Stanton.

"The genesis of it was the earthquake in Haiti," Stanton said on Thursday, "but we hope to do it again next year."

The produce fed 150 families, and was distributed through the tabernacle church and Haitian-American Public Health Initiatives.

While not all of the Haitians served by the program were refugees of the earthquake, the program indirectly aided victims, said Jean Marc Baptiste, the executive director of HAPHI, because many immigrants in Boston wanted to send money to their relatives in Haiti.

"It was a really shining example of how a community working together can help each other," Baptiste said. "A lot of immigrants ended up sending money to relatives in Haiti, and some had to make choices between buying groceries and sending money. Many people are affected not only in Haiti, but over here as well."

Stanton said events like the one held last night's event allowed the people who benefited from the program to share their gratitude and their cooking by bringing homemade food.

"This marks sharing, and a community coming together in a neighborhood that's had a rough couple rough weeks," he said, referring to the murders on Woolson Street and another homicide this morning on Fessenden Street.

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