On May 18, we celebrate the day in 1803 when Haiti’s first flag was created. The country was still under French rule, but revolutionary troops needed a flag to fly as they marched on what is now the capital, Port-au-Prince. Less than eight months later, on January 1, 1804, independence was declared, making Haiti the world’s first independent Black republic.
Today, Haitians are still fighting for autonomy on multiple battlefields more than two centuries later. One front is agriculture, a vital lever for rural economic revitalization. Yet, over the years, local production and markets have been undermined by trade policy and food aid that have flooded Haiti with cheap or free imports despite the consequences for local economies or farmers and their families.
Fortunately, a growing number of organizations across sectors in Haiti are working to revive rural economies by strengthening agricultural production, value chains and markets — all to increase family incomes and get local food to children in need. A new force in this push for Haitian food sovereignty and rural economic development is the 14-member Haiti Food Systems Alliance. This alliance promotes and fosters locally-led agriculture, health, childhood and higher education, research, and economic development efforts. Several of them have collaborated for years, together with WKKF, to build the groundwork for the Alliance.
Please enjoy these beautiful Flag Day videos that we first shared with our Haiti Peer-Learning Network partners at our conference on May 18, 2021.