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(Slate) — Above Port-au-Prince, in the terraced mountains of Kenscoff, 34-year-old Gerard Gilbert is tending his farm, a single acre of land on which he grows lettuce. Gilbert has been farming since he was 12 years old using the techniques his father taught him. Agriculture is his livelihood, as it is for two out of every three Haitians, but these days it barely provides enough to live on. Last year, a Haitian agronomist trained and paid by the United States Agency for International Development visited Gilbert’s farm and taught him how to grow bigger heads of lettuce. “I used to plant the seeds very near to each other,” Gilbert explained. “It was the traditional way to do it.” The agronomist gave the seeds more space and helped Gilbert create an irrigation system to use during the dry season. Since then, when Gilbert takes his baskets of lettuce to the local market, he takes home $5 per basket rather than the old $2.50.

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