Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farmer to Farmer Honors the Life and Dedication of John Malcheski

John Malcheski pauses for a photo during a 2005 FTF Trip to Haiti
The Farmer to Farmer Team at Partners of the Americas would like to share our appreciation for the support, dedication, and friendship of volunteer John Malcheski. John passed away in his home on the evening of March 22, 2011, at the age of 78, after a brave battle with cancer. Click here if you would like to read the obituary. We continue to appreciate and benefit from his guidance and his keen sense of humor.
Benito and John, 2007

John completed 7 trips to Haiti with the FTF Program between the years of 2005 - 2009 and became an important adviser to "Makage", now Makouti Agro Enterprise, during its early years and beyond. He first traveled after a tumultuous time in Haiti's history in 2004, shortly after the creation of a vegetable producers' cooperative, Makage.

Through the years John has supported its leaders and members, especially founder Benito Jasmin who is almost like family to John. He also established a productive partnership between Partners' FTF Program and the Friends of Haiti in Green Bay, WI. Six years later, Makage is now Makouti Agro Enterprise, a diversified agribusiness providing goods and services throughout Haiti in the areas of animal production, vegetable production, nursery development, beekeeping, processing, marketing, and technical assistance.

John and Benito build rabbit nest boxes in Grand Boulage

With his humor and direct way of speaking, we have always found John to be very quotable. We thought you would enjoy some quotes from his trip reports over the years, which show both how far Makouti has come with his support, and how much he cared for his friends and work in Haiti.

"Despite being down during the revolution, there has been significant progress in developing this model of production and marketing. The future of Makage is very positive, with some additional help. In some 22 assignments I’ve worked on over the years, this one is going to succeed and benefit its members. It has given members about 3 times more for their product than they used to get." -2005
Checking the progress of the garden

"Makage, with an influx of capital, can build strong rural communities. They know what the market needs. We volunteers and U.S. groups must try to increase our efforts to meet the needs of this model co-op." -2007

"Benito and I spent 2 days in a mountain village, Grand Boulage, where Makage would like to introduce rabbit production to that area...It can give these people an excellent chance to increase their income." - 2007

"The rabbits are growing and doing very well and are being expanded to many different areas. Those that do it well are starting to sell rabbits and rabbit meat." -2008
Sampling some good Haitian cooking

"Makouti brings so much education in the form of training. This helps thousands of people who are in animal productions, bees, vegetables, tree planting and food processing. The training centers for the rabbits is coming into full bloom with plans to expand the teaching area and even provide food & lodging to future participants who come from greater distances." -2009

John was able to see his hard work pay off. As of early 2011, Grand Boulage now has 3 commercial-sized rabbitries which bring in US$1,537/yr, a good sum in Haiti. The rabbitries greatly enhance the income of the community, and at least one of the rabbitry owners has used the money to pay for a tutor and fulfill her dream to learn to read and write.

John meets the schoolchildren in Grand Boulage

"The work of POA and Benito Jasmin is absolutely outstanding. POA and FOH have been good for each other in the common effort to improve people's lives in Haiti." -2008

"I truly enjoyed working with such dynamic people who are trying to improve Haiti." -2005 

"As i leave this project, I can say that i learned a lot. I’m sure there are other efforts that are successful, but this one, is a grass roots effort with minimal outside help. It is building  pride and confidence in a group of producers. It gives them positive hope to improve their lives and help this country." -2005

The video below was shot during the first few years of John's travels to Haiti. The children of Grand Boulage are singing and celebrating, to the delight of their guests who are present, including John on the right.


  1. My thoughts of appreciation go out to John, his family, and all those who knew him as a friend and colleague. John exemplified all that a volunteer can bring to a long-term relationship -- much more than technical expertise, but a long-lasting friend and someone who cares deeply about all those he works with. The Partners of the Americas family will miss John, but will continue to carry forth the ideals that he brought with him on every voyage to Haiti.

  2. A big thank you to all of the Farmer to Farmer Team. He loved working with you and advancing knowledge and skill sets to benefit the good of others. This tribute is truly wonderful and we thank you for all of your time and dedication to supporting John in his work. It's especially neat seeing photos of him that we have not seen before. The "Haitian cooking" photo is a family favorite.
    Thanks again for the tribute, and supporting John.
    Family of John Malcheski

  3. You are a really human being and lots of appreciation work your are doing for people, child and farmers. I appreciate you.

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