Training for Haiti’s Living Food Bank Begins in Wisconsin
Friday, April 1, 2011
Montello, WI - As the country of Haiti struggles in so many ways, there is good news as well. The launch of the first Living Food Bank® aquaponic system will bring fresh fish and vegetables to many. The construction of this system is nearing completion on the Northwest Haiti Christian Mission (NWHCM) campus in Saint Louis Du Nord, Haiti and the training for the individuals who will oversee the operation of the system has begun in Montello, Wisconsin.
Nelson and Pade, Inc., a Wisconsin-based company specializing in aquaponics and the creator of the Living Food Bank®, in collaboration with NWHCM, has begun training three enthusiastic people who will be travelling to Haiti to manage the new aquaponic system at NWHCM. The Living Food Bank® uses a science-based aquaponic system, solar energy and a tropical greenhouse to grow high quality fish and vegetable crops. Aquaponics is an integrated method of raising fish and vegetables in a soilless system. In Haiti, tilapia, a fast-growing fresh water fish, along with leafy greens such as Swiss chard, collards and kale, and peas, beans, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers will all be grown.
Ed and Lora Ginter, from Kentucky, and Chris Clarke, from Montana, all arrived at Nelson and Pade, Inc.’s facility in Montello on March 8 to kick off their 2 month Extended Stay Learning Program. Nelson and Pade, Inc.’s new demonstration greenhouse has various aquaponic systems in operation which are very close in design to the systems in Haiti so, even though the training is taking place far from Haiti, the information and application will be parallel to the system at NWHCM.
It has been a fun and fascinating first 2 weeks for Ed, Lora and Chris, learning the daily operation of the systems, water quality testing and monitoring, fish feeding and feed calculations, filter maintenance, seeding, transplanting, harvesting and system assembly.
Nelson and Pade, Inc.’s John Pade and Education Director, Sarah Kaatz, have been providing direction and education to Ed, Lora and Chris. During the next 6 weeks, advanced principles will be covered, including fish biology, fish stocking, plant culturing and health, pest scouting and control, bio-security, nutrient dynamics, system and greenhouse maintenance and more. Plus, the team will assemble, test, crate and ship the complete solar energy system to Haiti.
Upon the completion of their training, Ed, Lora and Chris will travel to Haiti - Ed and Lora as long term missionaries working to oversee this and other aquaponics projects, and Chris to assist with the start up and operation of this system. Rebecca Nelson and John Pade will also travel back to Haiti, to help with the start up of the system. As NWHCM expands their aquaponics projects and installs additional Living Food Bank® aquaponic systems, they will have a serious impact on the availability of fresh food in Northwest Haiti and beyond.
This project is headed toward success due to the combination of using a science-based aquaponic system design and a comprehensive training program from Nelson and Pade, Inc., along with the well-established and very capable Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, a holistic ministry that currently feeds 15,000 people per day, provides medical and surgical services, nutrition programs and many other services to residents of northwest Haiti.