Root Project

Celebrity Chefs, Influencers Launch Campaign to Plant 1 Million Trees in Haiti

The Root Project—Envisioned by Chef Dominique Crenn—to Help
Coffee and Cocoa Farmers After Hurricane Matthew

March 14, 2017 (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) — A group of celebrity chefs are joining forces to raise funds for Haitian farmers who suffered the loss of 100 percent of their crops during Hurricane Matthew. A campaign envisioned by Michelin-starred Chef Dominique Crenn and Michelle Jean from Zesa Raw, with others such as the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, Martha Stewart and designer Phillip Lim lending their support, the Root Project has plans to plant 1 million coffee and cacao trees in Haiti.

Proceeds of the fundraising campaign will go to the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), a leading development organization in Haiti, which will implement the project alongside local partners including Agridev. In addition to planting the trees, PADF and Agridev will support Haitian fair-trade and organic farming cooperatives, helping them cultivate specialty-grade coffee and cacao.

Hurricane Matthew was the worst hurricane to strike Haiti in more than 50 years, destroying 100 percent of crops in some areas and leaving 1.4 million people in need of immediate humanitarian aid. Today, as many as 400,000 Haitians in the affected areas still do not have reliable access to food. Many people cannot feed their families, and their income from the harvest is diminished.

“Farmers in Haiti have lost their livelihoods and are struggling right now. Through this campaign we want to support them and do our part to see them through this difficult time,” says Crenn chef/owner of Atelier Crenn, a Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant. “We strongly believe in sustainable agriculture as a means for economic development. When we support farmers, it opens up a world of possibilities for future growth.”  

Dominique Crenn officially launched the campaign Feb. 25 in Camp-Perrin, Haiti, by planting the first tree. Her visit included meetings with government leaders, local partners, the private sector and farmers and a fundraising dinner with Haitian chefs.                                             

With the tagline “Plant Today, Grow Tomorrow,” the campaign aims to protect and revitalize Haiti’s rich agricultural history and put farmers back to work to achieve long-term economic growth for Haitian communities.

PADF has worked in Haiti for more than 35 years as a catalyst for community-driven development. The foundation has implemented hundreds of projects in agriculture and rural development and employment generation as a trusted partner of the Haitian government and local grassroots organizations.

“PADF is proud to partner with renowned chefs who are passionate about empowering Haiti’s farmers,” says PADF Country Director Nadia Cherrouk. “Agriculture is one of the most promising sectors for economic growth in Haiti, but it has been threatened by natural disasters, climate change and other factors. With the Root Project we see an exciting opportunity to turn the tide and invest in Haiti’s future.”

For information about the campaign or to donate, visit