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Haitians fighting food insecurity, in New York and beyond

A variety of factors cause food insecurity in communities across the United States, and the world. Addressing the issue effectively calls for a variety of measures and people who understand the communities affected. People like these Haitian-American advocate, based in New York, who are fighting food insecurity, locally and internationally. They shared with The Hatian Times about their work and how being Haitian influenced their career choice.

All interviews were condensed and edited for clarity. All photos by Leonardo March.

Benia Darius, 25, Special Projects Coordinator and Youth Food Justice Network Organizer at East New York Farms, a United Community Centers project. East New York

Darius is in charge of scheduling distributions of food and distributing food throughout the community. In addition, she organizes young people and creates workshops around food and social justice issues that affect black and brown communities.

“[Let’s] remove the stigma around growing [food] as a Black person. When I first started this in the field, I was 14. There was always the talk around: ‘Oh, that’s slave work.’ And I was kind of like… My dad was a farmer in Haiti. I came from a family of farmers. We don’t see it as slave work, we see it as a means of providing for your community.”

Benia Darius

Listen to Benia Darius’ interview

Jean-Martin Bauer, 43, Senior Advisor, United Nations World Food Programme.

Bauer works implementing food aid programs all over the world. He works on data analysis, understanding how many people need food aid, food assistance, for how long for what reasons and how to advocate for that.

“I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it weren’t for my background as a Haitian-American.”

Jean-martin bauer

Listen to the Jean-Martin Bauer’s interview

Dr. Antoine Vaval, 73, Director of the Gethsemane Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church food pantry in Crown Heights/Flatbush.

Dr. Vaval, a retired teacher, manages the church pantry, which feeds visitors from Flatbush, Canarsie, Midtown and East New York.

“After my retirement, I decided I wanted to provide the same resource to the entire community because these resources helped me growing up.”

Dr. Antoine Vaval

Listen to the Dr. Antoine Vaval’s interview:

Lucy Saintcyr, 31, Founder & Director of Supper Collective. Flatbush.

Supper Collective is an organization offering free food and prepared meals to those in need.

I see in restaurants how Caribbean culture directly affects a lot of these new dishes (heavy quotes on new dishes) that chefs are putting out. And I don’t often see that level of quality and care brought back to the neighborhoods that inspired it.

Lucy Saintcyr

Listen to the Lucy Saintcyr’s interview:

Leonardo March is Brooklyn-based visual journalist from Puerto Rico. In a previous life Leonardo was a photographer and graphic designer, skills he’s refocusing to cover the Haitian Diaspora in the US. Leonardo can be reached at

More by Leonardo March

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