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Chefs see seeds of hope in Haiti


Port-Au-Prince, Haiti – As flags flew and music echoed through the streets in honor of the country’s second annual Carnaval des Fleurs, Chefs Aarón Sánchez and John Besh toured Haiti with international relief and development organization Oxfam to see innovative agricultural projects and take in the country’s vibrant culture and delicious food.

The chefs toured projects in Port-Au-Prince and the Artibonite Valley to meet with groups Oxfam is supporting as they work to build a better future. The tour included stops at a blossoming rice farm where women farmers have increased their yields and reduced water and fertilizer use by utilizing the System of Rice Intensification, a technique that has already spread widely among rice farmers in Southeast Asia.

“I was inspired by the signs of hope and strength we saw across Haiti,” said John Besh, a chef and philanthropist from New Orleans. “It was powerful to witness firsthand how strategic investments in the right places can help create a foothold for communities that are working hard to lift themselves up and grow.”

“From lush rice fields to thriving urban gardens it is difficult to miss the hard work, creativity and passion of the people we met,” said Aarón Sánchez. “As chefs we speak the language of food and can understand how necessary it is to come together to support each other.”

The chefs were also welcomed at two of Haiti’s premier culinary schools and groups working to encourage Haitians to buy products made in Haiti and to cook using Haitian ingredients. Chefs Sánchez and Besh collaborated to cook a traditional New Orleans Jambalaya made with Haitian ingredients.

The chefs were visiting Haiti as part of Oxfam’s GROW campaign which works to build a world where everyone always has enough to eat. GROW is encouraging greater investments in small-scale farmers, especially women like the chefs met in Artibonite.


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