In January of 2015, ISCA was invited by Chalice Canada to conduct a community livelihood assessment in the community of Terrier Rouge, Haiti. This assessment resulted in a long and successful relationship for both organizations, one that has created thriving community agricultural projects supported by sustainable field staff and an agricultural supply store. It was in early 2017 when Chalice and ISCA began discussing the possibility of replicating this success to other Chalice field sites – namely Ukraine.
ISCA members, David Mackay and Lloyd Dalziel, travelled to Ukraine in May 2017 with Chalice Country Representative Randy Spaulding. Over a two-week period, we conducted a livelihood assessment in Chalice project sites of Ternopil and Lviv. The goal of the assessment was to determine if there existed natural, physical, and human resources that could be leveraged to provide livelihood opportunities for Chalice beneficiary families.
During our visit, we learned many things about agriculture, food processing, marketing, and the challenges and opportunities that exist in each. The families we met were all master gardeners, growing and storing their own vegetables and cereals for their families. However, in many cases the family lacked access to capital or resources for intensifying production, or the organizational capacity to access higher yielding market opportunities. One opportunity that repeatedly presented itself was that of a dairy processing unit. The families we visited all valued the nutritional value of milk products and stressed the importance of buying and consuming local products. A natural advantage for many was access to high quality forages, which supported the dairy model by providing feed to ruminants (cows and goats). Milk production and dairy processing appears to be a value proposition worth pursuing, and both Chalice Canada and the Lviv site, together with ISCA, continue to examine what a future model may look like.
What most impressed both ISCA team members was the warmth and hospitality of the hard-working families we encountered. Each of these families had a unique story to tell us. However, the common thread that weaved through each story was their desire for a better life for themselves and their children, and their eagerness to work together to achieve this goal. ISCA hopes that our relationship with Chalice, both in Canada and Ukraine, continues to grow as we work together to support these hardworking Ukrainian families.
Blog entry written by ISCA-AIDC Chair, Lloyd Dalziel