Here at Love A Child, we believe that love is something you do. As an organization, we are deeply committed to sustainable development initiatives in order to promote self-sufficiency for the Haitian people. Right now, it has some big goals for the region of Fond Parisien, Haiti. With the help of Mike Welch of Harrison Poultry and the USAPEEC International Poultry Development Program, as well as Larry Guest and friends, the Poul Mirak chicken farm cooperative is taking major steps toward reaching some of those goals.
The sustainability programs consist of eight interconnected elements that work together to provide long-term employment, increase local food security and reduce Haitian dependence on outside resources.
Our chicken cooperative began with great initial success in 2013, with just two local chicken farmers raising and selling 500 chickens within six weeks. Recognizing that a larger-scale chicken farm project led by the Haitian community themselves could bring about greater self-sufficiency, the Love A Child team got to work on plans for long-term sustainable development. The result has been transformative.
Thanks to the support of the USAPEEC and others, the newly expanded Love A Child chicken cooperative, known as Poul Mirak (“Miracle Chickens”), launched in September 2014. We have nine total chicken houses that can house up to 500 chickens each. Each house rotates into production with six of the nine houses raising chickens simultaneously, one week apart in age.
The USAPEEC International Poultry Development Program has helped our chicken co-op members in developing a shared labor model for success by providing training and helping mentor the co-op members in raising healthy, happy chickens for the community.
Each week, the co-op members work together to manage and maintain these nine chicken houses, as well as negotiate the retail and wholesale sale of the chickens. To ensure choice product, we feature Cobb Cornish Rock chickens. By six weeks,
the broilers are big enough to be sold retail in the marketplace or wholesale to restaurants and processors.
All of the villagers in Fond Parisien benefit from this co-op farm. In addition to having affordable chickens to buy for family meals, adding life-enabling protein to their diets is among the benefits. Profits earned by the co-op members from selling the chickens are used to keep the chicken co-op going, as well as provide meaningful income to care for their respective families.
The chicken co-op program promotes cooperation, health, and sustainable economic development in a region of Haiti that had been plagued with poverty. Moreover, with the co-op members receiving ongoing mentoring, the program will also open doorways to these chicken farmers who will eventually start their own independent businesses. This enables new chicken farmers to join the co-op and receive training, further promoting sustainability by community-led efforts that offer food for life.
For more information about our chicken co-op program, please visit our website. We encourage all Community Chickens readers to think of something they can do to help.