"K.A.S." Konferans Agrikol Sid / Agricultural Conference South was held on June 28-30, 2016 in LaBaleine Haiti. An effort to assemble people working in agriculture, from Agronomists, Community leaders, Ag development workers, to Farmers. A effort to bring hope and inspire. The vision for KAS; to see the Gospel and Light of Jesus Christ spread throughout our communities by coming together to learn and share successful techniques of caring for what God has given us, and then taking what we learned, going out implementing what we learn into our communities.
KAS was hosted by HRM at their headquarters in LaBaleine Haiti, A small town in the 4th section of Aquin, Sud, Haiti. And was planned/organized by a group of Ag development workers in the country of Haiti. Billy Oram "Genesis 2:15 Ministries" Etienne Francois "Passion for Haiti" Clint Bower "Agri-Plis" Bryan Beachy & Josiah Karn "Haiti Relief & Missions Gode" and Jesse Myer, Preston Brechbill & Richard Buissereth "Haiti Relief & Missions LaBaleine"
There were 81 delegates representing 37 different organizations. Each morning started with breakfast and then Chapel which included singing and worship. Followed by two 45 minute teaching sessions by two preliminary speakers. Followed by a noon meal and it was off to the fields for practical workshops from 12:30 - 4:30. Networking/Sharing for 1 hr, Supper from 5:30-6:30 and then off to the main auditorium for evening sessions on various topics of agriculture.
The main focus on the conference was Conservation Agriculture, Soil life, Agroforestry/Reforestation and Animal Husbandry/Animal Health.
The first topic for day one was, The Vetiver System by Darius Jolbert. Some of the points he stressed were how the soil is one of the most important aspects of farming and being able to receive a harvest. If we don't protect our gardens from erosion by making living terraces, how will our children be able to cultivate the ground we farm now if its conditions is on a steady decline in stead of a steady incline.
Darius Jolbert's workshop, explaining the simple but very effective and practical side of the vetiver system. The use of the A frame to determine contour, plant preparation, the importance of tight plant spacing when planting,
Billy Oram (Rhoda Beutler Translating) with the second topic, "FFF" Foundations For Farming. He gave the amazing life story of Brian Aldridge and how FFF was founded on biblical principals. Being good stewards of what God has given us, by not wasting the resources he's given us. Protecting the soil with God's blanket "Mulch"
Josiah Karn doing the workshop on the FFF system (top)
DR. Kelly Crowdis having a workshop on Donkey & Mule Health (bottom)
We had a conference theme song that we learned and sang together multiple times through out each day to help motivate each other and take action! Above is Etienne Francois and a couple of his friends teaching the audience the theme song.
Wednesday, Day two started with Rhoda Beutler speaking about underutilized plants. Haiti has a abundant supply of edible plants full of nutrition. Rhoda spent time explaining how valuable some of the plants can be if added to a diet. Some of the main plants Rhoda talked about were, Haitian Basket Vine, Moringa, Chaya/Fle Papay, Cranberry Hibiscus, Roselle and Grain Amaranth.
The Second speaker was Brian Flanagan who spoke on the subject of Agroforestry. Brian has worked in Haiti in the field of Agroforestry and therefore had some very helpful insights on what to do and what doesn't always work the best. Also had some very helpful insights on the business side of it, making sure there is a market for the fruit you plant. Do your home work because Agroforestry is a long term project.
The afternoon work shops on day two consisted of Rhoda Beutler cooking underutillized crops and having all the delegates sample the food. (Top) Kelly Crowdis giving a educational talk/workshop on rabies. (Middle) Brian Flanagan taking the delegates on a tour through a Saman/Mango/Coffee Agroforestry plot established in 1999 by a development worker in LaBaleine.(Bottom photo)
Thursday, Day three started with Pierre Angelo Joseph talking about Reforestation. He gave some shocking numbers about Haiti, Haiti has the highest rate of deforestation compared to all other countries, 80% of Haiti was originally forested and only 2% of Haiti's original forests ramain. He shared some encouraging stories of a group he is involved with in reforesting areas of Haiti.
The second topic on Thursday was on Soil Life by Brad Ward. This is always a topic that draws allot of attention and interest. The Science of soil and the thought of the soil being alive was brought out and a new thought to many of the delegates. Also Brad explained the food chain in the soil and how if you take one away the chain breaks. Brad also expressed the vital point of ground cover and composting.
The workshops on day three were on, Composting by Bryan Beachy, making hot compost in the photo above, Bryan also talked about the deep liter composting system with hogs and vermiculture. (Top) Underutilized plants workshop by Rhoda Beutler. In this workshop Rhoda covered the different plants, how to harvest, care for and propigate. (Middle) Green Manure Cover Crops by Clint Bower, planting leguminous crops such as, Jack Bean and Velvet Bean to cover the ground while growing, fix nitrogen, then cover the ground for the coming crop and decompose on the ground adding to the humis. (Bottom)
Above are misc pictures from the conference.
Thanks to all who helped to make this conference possible. To God be the glory.