Trees for the Future

Our mission is to improve the livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands
Sep 16, 2015

Nursery season is off to a great start!

Tawa woman looks at neighbor
Tawa woman looks at neighbor's trees and sees hope

In the last six months, Trees for the Future has been working hard to prepare the 288 participants of our forest garden project in Tawa, Kenya. These farmers will plant and care for forest gardens that will help them increase their incomes, boost their family's food security, and access new market opportunities by selling products like fruit to a new nearby fruit juice factory.

The farmers are participating in a four-year long program which will allow them to plant a diverse mix of trees and vegetables on their farms. We are working with farmers to grow different types of vegetables such as kale, spinach, onions, amarantha and sweet peppers. Additionally, the farmers are preparing to plant fodder trees like Leucaena leucocephala, Leucaena Tri-candria and Sesbania sesban, as well as fruit trees like mangoes, avocados, and papaya. Finally, they will also  cultivate fast-growing agroforestry trees like Grevillea robusta, Jacaranda mimosifolia, Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, Senna siamea and medicinal trees like Moringa oleifera. All these species were selected by farmers based on subsistence needs and market opportunities.

This combination will help farmers stave off hunger and have economic returns in the short term via vegetable and tree planting, while preparing their plots for robust soil regeneration through trees like Leucena leucocephala and Grevillea robusta.

Right now, we are working with farmers to distribute nursery kits and other necessary supplies.

  • Trees for the Future has been able to support these farmers with farm and nursery equipment like forks, hoes, shovels, and watering cans. All the 288 farmers in our Tawa program benefit from these tools. The tools will help these farmers when managing thousands of seedlings in their nurseries and when planting seedlings on the farm.
  • Because Tawa is one of the very dry areas of Kenya, Trees for the Future supports these farmers with water liners as well as training them on how to capture rain water. Currently they are using water liners to capture rain water and also store water for their vegetable and tree nurseries. With water harvesting, the farmers will be able to minimize losses in terms of seedlings drying up during dry times.
  • Our Tawa area farmers benefit from vegetable seeds which they learn to grow in their forest gardens. Currently the farmers are using these vegetables as food at home and to sell at market. This helps them earn cash to enable them to buy basic goods like sugar, flour, salt and cooking oil. Their children have been able to benefit in terms of  immediate nutritional improvement.
  • Our Tawa farmers continue to establish more tree nurseries and currently they are managing different types of seedlings which include fodder trees, agroforestry trees, and fruit trees. Each of these farmers anticipate out-planting thousands of seedlings during the upcoming  long rainy season (October-December).

 

With your help we have been able to reach 200 of the 288 farmers in our Tawa Program. There are many more to help in this project so please consider donating today!

Life is Tawa is difficult
Life is Tawa is difficult
A Tawa woman tends her vegetable nursery
A Tawa woman tends her vegetable nursery
Life is hard but there are kittens to help!
Life is hard but there are kittens to help!
An established nursery with a growing live fence
An established nursery with a growing live fence

Links:

Sep 12, 2014

Haitian Farmers See Significant Improvements

Children hold up seedlings in Bethel
Children hold up seedlings in Bethel

Trees for the Future’s (TREES) work in Bethel, Haiti has had successes with farmers both economically and environmentally.  Haiti’s history of deforestation has had serious local environmental implications, including recurrent droughts and destructive soil erosion. Unsustainable agricultural practices, like slash and burn (clear-cutting natural trees and shrubs to be burned as a short-lived soil nutrient injection), fuel these environmental phenomena and continue to be the standard across much of the country. With TREES’s agroforestry interventions, however, our participant farmers are noticing significant yield increases and re-greened landscapes.

TREES has made great strides with participant farmers in Haiti in stabilizing participant farmers’ livelihoods while fortifying the natural environment in which they work. Increased yields have been seen in a variety of local farmers’ garden produce, such as tomatoes, beans, and cabbage, and through diversification of their farm products to incorporate a variety of tree species. New products coming from farmers’ land include timber, fruit, and leaves that can be consumed or sold. With diversification of products, these farmers are less vulnerable to price spikes and drops in any single product. Increased local diversification of crop species also mitigates environmental vulnerability to pests and diseases by ensuring that overall crop loss to any single combatant is reduced.  Additionally, the incorporation of trees into previously established agricultural systems is helping ensure the long-term viability of farmers’ land. Formally, monocrop harvesting meant that stripping the land of nutrients and leaving it vulnerable to extreme desiccation from the sun and the erosive powers of wind and rain. Tree cover is now increasing leaf litter in tandem with nitrogen fixation at the root level, continuously recharging the soil’s fertility. New tree canopies are offering shade protection while tree roots are effectively stabilizing the soil. What’s more is the sense of environmental responsibility fostered through our consistent training program and technician follow-up. The farmers we have worked with now understand the indispensability of the land, soil, and natural environment. Project successes have positively affected both the participant farmers and the environment in Bethel, Haiti, but ongoing challenges along with a strategic organizational redirection have made continuing work there out of our focus.

With minimal inputs, participant farmers have successfully incorporated tree species into their agricultural systems, offering a more sustainable long-term source of income generation.  Activities at the Bethel project site included training on tree nursery establishment and management, outplanting techniques, orchard management, and gardening. Extended tree varieties included coffee, pomegranate, cashew, citrus, breadfruit, along with a number of fuelwood and timber species. This past year, farmers in Bethel have planted just over 12,000 trees. Despite these numerous successes over the years, Trees for the Future is redirecting its agroforestry international development efforts toward more consolidated geographic areas outside of Haiti, aiming for a greater and more efficient impact. 

On behalf of Trees for the Future and the farmers of Bethel, Haiti, I would like to thank all those who have graciously donated to the project. It is your donations that have made all of these strides toward food and environmental security possible.

A Bethel farmer transports seedlings for planting
A Bethel farmer transports seedlings for planting

Links:

Jul 7, 2014

Bethel Report (April-June)

A child joins in the tree planting
A child joins in the tree planting

Hi GlobalGiving Supporters!

Trees for the Future (TREES) continues to make significant progress in combating poverty, food insecurity, and land degradation in the village of Bethel, Haiti. Working with the farmer group leader, TREES has extended integrated land management strategies promoting tree planting with 10 households primed to plant over 12,000 trees this year. For each farmer a variety of trees are being incorporated onto a single piece of land based upon diversifying agricultural production, plant interactions, and spatial and temporal spacing. The new initiative is called the Forest Garden, and as an integrated system, it has more potential than any individual component.

These tree varieties have been selected for their ability to produce a variety of forest products including fruit, timber, and fuelwood. By encouraging farmers to diversify the trees and crops on their plot of land, they not only increase their own food security, but they can mitigate risks associated with fluctuating agricultural markets and pest attacks. Soil-enriching nitrogen-fixing trees also help to build the soil and contribute to general soil fertility. The system improves farmer livelihoods and the environment at the same time, and it has taken off in Bethel with 21 participating farmers this year. The first rainy season’s planting (April-June) was successful and the second (August-October) is poised to be even better.

To find the project enter in the following GPS points into Google Maps: 18 45.665, -72 23.179

Links:

 

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