Jean is our master gardener in the village of Fiarenana. Zahana hired him in 2009 to revitalize the once existing nursery in the village from many years back. Initially hired short-term to grow coffee plants for the village, Zahana has now hired him on and ongoing basis.
Jean has proven an invaluable asset with his amazing green thumb. He is very knowledgeable about the local plants, can grow almost anything, and has decades of experience as a gardener in his region.
Jean is very involved in the school gardens and under his guidance the student are able to plant, and tend to, a schoolyard full of vegetables.
Inspired by the example of Jeans success in our second village (Fiarenana), our first pilot site of Fiadanana now has a second Zahana gardener as well. The new gardener is working closely with Jean as his apprentice, but also has some amazing results growing trees for the school.
One of his greatest assets is that he is willing to experiment. While most farmers are traditionally skeptical when it comes to new crops Jean is willing to just plant it and see if it will grow. As a paid staff member of Zahana he has a guaranteed income and can afford the "luxury" of trying out if something new will grow at all, even if he is not sure it will yield him a harvest.
If a new cop succeeds under his care his credibility and trust with the community make is much easier to introduce something new.