Haiti Solidarity raises funds by farming

The Students for Haiti Solidarity club is cultivating produce and flowers as part of a fundraiser to help SOPUDEP, the school’s sister school in Haiti. Club members have begun planting crops on a piece of land in East Palo Alto purchased by Cornelia Fletcher, a friend of the club’s advisor, history teacher Seth Donnelly.
During the first months of the project, the club aims to sell produce such as onions, squash and a variety of winter crops along with flowers in the school’s parking lot. Donnelly hopes to work in conjunction with other school fundraisers, like the annual pumpkin patch run by the athletics department.
“Hopefully we can be successful and develop a tradition,” Donnelly said. “Everyone’s gotta get food, so rather than going to the grocery store or even the farmer’s market, [people could] come get food grown locally by the students and know that [their] money is going towards a good cause.”
The idea for the fundraiser originated this past summer, when Donnelly and Fletcher were inspired by a community organization in Haiti called Sakala which was responsible for the largest urban garden in the country.
The club will donate all of the profits from the project to its sister school in Haiti. In addition to benefitting the sister school, Donnelly said that the project will have positive effects in the local community.
“We think it’s not only good for our sister school in Haiti but it’s good for getting more and more students involved from any club on campus and local food production,” Donnelly said. “We hope it’s a win for the environment, a win for our students and a win for our Haiti sister school.”
The Students for Haiti Solidarity club has hosted two sessions so far with a fair amount of support. Though the fundraising effort hasn’t faced significant obstacles, the administration has been proceeding cautiously.
“Any time you enter the business of selling food you have to be really careful…[but the administration] certainly supports the concept and the kids are really into it,” Donnelly said. “There seems to be a fair amount of momentum developing.”