Levo International is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to enabling individuals to improve the conditions of their lives. We do that by advancing food stability in developing countries and food responsibility in the United States. Levo is evidence that we can all make a difference! There is no need to wait.
Levo International came about because the Boy Scouts thought that the founder Christian Heiden’s Eagle Scout proposal was too ambitious. Christian had proposed the construction of a hydroponic greenhouse for an agency operating in Haiti, but the costs and risks associated with the project were outside what the Boy Scouts thought were prudent.
Undeterred, Christian completed his Eagle Scout project building a greenhouse for his high
school and then set out to do what he had always wanted to do. With the help of his parents and brothers, a plan was put together and executed to begin to bring sustainable food supply to the most desperately poor country in the Western hemisphere.
Thanks to the willing participation and support of Many Hands for Haiti, Christian, Bill and Nate Heiden built a demonstration greenhouse in July of 2016 on the Many Hands compound in Pignon, Haiti. A new team of young people joined the effort and in 2017 eight hydroponic farming units were installed and are currently being piloted.
In January 2018, Nate Heiden, our Field Scientist, went to Pignon for an extended stay to train up the Many
Hands staff on the ground and to refine the processes we will use to scale up the operation. Over the next eighteen months, we expect to install as many as 150 new hydroponic farming systems for families throughout Pignon and begin to expand to other sites in Haiti.
Levo still exists in the “start-up” phase. We are putting systems and processes together and building partnerships. Our mission is not to be one more agency doing relief work, but to partner with local residents through existing relief agencies to provide lasting change. We are convinced that real and lasting change will not happen unless, the citizens of Haiti take the lead and build the infrastructure that leads to wealth creation. Agriculture is one of the few activities that has the create wealth (not just grow or compound wealth, but create it where there wasn’t any before). To that end, we are providing a “technology transfer,” which will enable the development of local economies. We have developed a family hydroponic system that is able to be installed in the most diverse locations with minimal space.
The organizational structure requires that locals are integral to the effective implementation. We are not trying to do for them, but simply provide the resources and knowledge base for the target population to do for themselves. While it does require a significant upfront effort from our staff, in the
long run, the model is more sustainable, because the recipients of the benefits are active participants.
Once we have completed our pilot phase, we will begin to create a microfinancing offering to help accelerate the distribution of these farming units as economic drivers, not just food providers. This element of our model has the obvious benefit of increasing the commitment of the recipients to the success of the growing efforts. It also enables a
more rapid scaling up of our distribution efforts.
Domestically, we have paired the idea of food sustainability with food responsibility. We offer backyard size hydroponic greenhouses to interested gardeners. These “Patio Houses” provide a great opportunity for you to have an abundance of fresh vegetables free of unwanted chemicals. At the same time, proceeds from your purchase provide the materials for a hydroponic unit in Haiti.
As we build we a volunteer driven organization. If you have an interest in helping, please contact us. We have a lot of opportunities to contribute!
Financially, we rely on the generosity of individual donors. We have a variety of sponsorship opportunities. Donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated.
Meet the Team
A Team Effort
Founder, Christian Heiden (far right) was joined this year by (from Left to right) Jonathan Heiden, Josh Velera, our translator, Fransle, and Brian Waterson. As we get the organization off the ground, we are an all volunteer organization.
Head of the hydroponics program in Haiti. Kely is responsible for overseeing the building, distribution, and training in use of the "Babylons" in the Pignon community.
Picture yourself helping to provide food security for those in the Western Hemisphere most in need. We need your help.
How can you help? There are lots of ways to help! Click the button to the right to learn more...