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Farm plan to help Haitian children

Plotting the future: Pictured from left, John Singleton, Tom Wadson, two Haitian ladies and Phil Rego of Feed My Lambs Ministry

Bermudians are leading an initiative to build a farm in Haiti that will serve children at an orphanage and school.

Project manager John Singleton is being supported by the technical expertise of farmer Tom Wadson; they will join forces with Bermudian Phil Rego, who runs the Haitian orphanage Feed My Lambs Ministry.

A fundraising dinner is being held at Wadson’s Farm this evening and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go towards the building of the farm and purchasing supplies including seeds, fertiliser and farming equipment.

Mr Singleton is looking for volunteers to join the mission, which is due to take place during the last week in October.

The farm is to serve the Feed My Lambs Ministry orphanage. If extra crops are available the excess food will be donated to the school which was built by the Genesis Foundation for which Mr Singleton previously worked.

There are about 55 children at the orphanage and about 650 at the school.

It is hoped that the farm will eventually expand and if enough crops are grown to serve both the orphanage and school, any further yield could be sold to the larger community to create an income stream to benefit them.

Mr Singleton, who has been on five trips to Haiti in four years organising and contributing to similar community projects, told The Royal Gazette: “After living in Haiti and seeing it first hand I realised the need for food security in a country that is living hand to mouth.

“By having this farm it will not only provide food but also inspiration for the community to grow their own food through our teaching component. Year one is the pilot programme and we hope to buy more land and generate more crops.”

Mr Wadson has already visited the plot and will accompany the team for the building in October.

He hopes to build 12 plots initially and include nutrient dense foods as well as chickens which will provide eggs for protein as well as fertiliser.

He said: “I’ve learnt a little bit in the last 40 years of doing this and have done a lot of work in a lot of different countries. There is clearly a need there and they managed to acquire this piece of land so I said, ‘yeah, I’ll go take a look at it.’

“To my absolute delight there is plenty of water. We set up a little pilot plot to show the guys the principle of it all.

“All the components they already have fit really well to do this. It gives us all kinds of opportunity and we want to make it as self-sustaining as possible.

“I have the skills to give these people a serious hand-up. It is very simple. Not a lot of fancy tools are needed — it is all very manageable.”

Mr Wadson said the locals are already excited about the project.

“The children are loving it already; they are freaking out. The best was this guy who came to me and said, ‘we’re going farming.’ He left and when he comes back a few minutes later he has got on this pair of shiny, brown leather cowboy boots and says, ‘let’s go farming!’ So there is the technical part but a social part of it too.

“We are looking for variety, some taste and clearly nutrient density.”

Anyone wishing to attend tonight’s fundraising dinner should visit www.ptix.bm and click on “Farm to Table Fundraiser Dinner”. There will be cocktails from 6.30pm and dinner, with ingredients sourced from Wadson’s and catered by Island Restaurant Group, from 7.30pm accompanied by live entertainment. Anyone wishing to make donations towards the project can also do so through that link.