Today’s guest on EcoAlert with Nadine Patrice is Aleme Nicolas Benissoit, a Miami-Dade College student learning agro-business techniques to help in the redevelopment of Haiti.
Open Letter to friends from Aleme:
As we begin a new year, I want to take a moment to let you know how very much I have appreciated having you as my sponsors for my Agro Ecology studies. I am thankful for all that I have received from you. It has meant so much to have sponsors like you.
After we all had a wonderful moment at the fundraising party for my school last year, I am so grateful to get back to you and inform you what I have done so far. Since my time in Miami, I have been volunteering with several organizations to gain more experience in agro-ecology. I have worked at tree plantings, tree pruning, sustainable agriculture, and habitat restoration with Audubon Society under supervisor Garry Hunt, Earth learning garden (Dr. Mario Yanez), Tremendous Miami (Amy Creeckmur) and Miami Dade County (Joy Klein). I was selected to attend Weston A. Price conference in Fort Worth, Texas which focused on, nurturing therapies and health doctors, traditional alternative medicine, Lacto-fermentation, campaign for real milk, pasture livestock, nutrient-dense foods, soy alert, nutrition myths, bio-dynamic farming and composting.
Also, I was able to spend two weeks interning at Twin Oaks, an organic farm in Northern Florida owned by Renee Savory. During my internship I helped Renee build chicken tractors, made jellies and preserves, and helped in the Seaside market, Florida, fed the animals, made compost, worked in her organic garden and processed chicken.
I was also able to spend two weeks with my family in Haiti. I shared some ideas with them such as, nutrition, how to eat healthy food, grow organic garden, build chicken coop, involve in community engagement They were so excited to see me, and I was so happy to see what they have been doing during my absence especially at the ecological reserve where my mentor Jane Wynne is working hard at the farm. She’s impressed me by the way she grows strawberries in recycle gallons, tires, and raised beds. In addition, she is working hard with young kids, students and different groups teaching those more about soil conservation, composting, recycling, plant propagation and reforestation.
Recently, I received a scholarship from Earth Learning garden to attend the first financial perma-culture and local business summit in Florida. I have experienced how to run a community garden and a local business. Here are a few key words I wrote down: policies and procedures, location, tools, seeds. Soil qualities, maintenance, eat local food, food security; make profit on sale, benefit this garden will provide for the community, make connection with people, community engagement and so on. It was a wonderful movement for me. I talked to one of the key note speakers, David Rose, who has worked with united Nation in Haiti and established an Eco village for about 35 000 people. David Rose and the other people I have met at the summit are very willing to help in the field of permaculture. I think the connection I have made with them will be helpful.
Last summer, I completed 3 credit hours in Algebra. Last fall, I completed 13 credit hours in the required Biology1, grades: lecture B, laboratory A, Pre –Calculus and Trigonometry B, 5 credits combined classes, Human Growth and Development A. This semester, I am currently taking the required Chemistry 1025, 3 credits, Calculus 1, 5 credits, Reading2, 4 credits. After I complete my first two years with a total of 60 credit hours, I hope to transfer to Florida International University so that I may get a degree in Agro Ecology. I had a meeting with Dr. Baht and Professor Ron Mossman from this department who are advising me to get in when I will be ready to transfer. As I believe is the first step on a path to a sustainable environment where the soil is stabilized, people have food, and all other benefits.
Your kindness and especially your generosity will continue spreading all over Haiti especially my home town Kenscoff. Thank you again. I appreciate all that you do and the opportunity you will continue to give me to go to college.
Aleme Nicolas Benissoit
Student at Miami Dade College