Wednesday, October 20, 2010


(Toronto Star) - By Kenneth Kidd

In the middle of Jane Wynne’s plant nursery, there’s a little area with a Creole sign that reads, "Baz compos", the place where Wynne makes compost out of all manner of bio-waste.

Right next to it are some of the 3,000 saplings destined for planting at the main farm much further up the mountain. The saplings are a hardy, self-regenerating variety of privet and Wynne hopes the ensuing shrubs will become a renewable source of charcoal, the cooking fuel of choice in Haiti.

Her other motive: with privet easily available, perhaps thieves will stop felling ancient trees at the top of the farm, which since her father’s death in the mid-1990s has operated more as ecological preserve than fully-working farm.

It’s a small measure, and so, too, is the program Wynne recently launched to get 104 women in nearby villages to start protecting the soil around their homes.

But she knew the approach would have to be indirect, so she first asked the women what they needed most. Potable water, they said. So Wynne outfitted them with water filters, on condition they start gardening.

“We give each one an avocado tree and we want each woman to take care of that tree as if it were a child,” says Wynne.

They’re also encouraged to start a compost and plant papaya, partly because the latter’s leaves can serve as protective mulch. The women are now growing little crops of broccoli, carrots and chard.

At a minimum, says Wynne, it makes them see the connection between soil and life.

“Compost, to me, is a must,” she says. “Life is all about recycling everything. You cut the chain, the cycle of growth and death, if your throw everything away.”


To watch a couple recent interviews with Jane Wynne follow the link to:

Part 1

Part 2

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