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Aug 25, 2017

Ajok doesn't let insects bug her Forest Garden!

Ajok with her natural pesticide mix
Ajok with her natural pesticide mix

At Trees for the Future, we encourage our farmers to adopt low-cost, sustainable alternative technologies that make their Forest Gardens better. One farmer in Uganda has had great success with creating her own natural pesticide, a skill that she learned from a Trees for the Future training.

Mixing a few common plants and materials found around her home, Ajok has found a way to naturally keep bugs and other pests away from her garden. Ajok explained she was skeptical that a combination of plant leaves such as neem and mango, plus soap and water would effectively do the work of the expensive chemicals she had been buying in town. But after using the mixture, she discovered the pesticide worked extremely well. In fact, neighboring farmers who were using chemical pesticides continued to face issues with termites and bugs attacking their vegetables while her crops remained unscathed.

In the last few months, Ajok has saved more than $45 from making her own pesticide.  She also no longer needs to use the harsh chemicals that will leech into the soil, air, and other plants. In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, she is also improving the health of her farm, family, and community by using this natural, organic repellent.  Neighbors began talking of Ajok’s pesticide and word spread quickly throughout her village. Many farmers have began buying her organic mixture instead of the chemicals. She has produced more than 30 litres of the pesticide - and she is just getting started!

Due to this success within her community, Ajok was invited to present at the regional level to demonstrate how she makes the pesticide. For her most recent batch, she used a portion on her own field and was able to sell the remainder for an $11 profit - an amount that might not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way in Kole, Uganda. With the profits from her sales,  Ajok has been able to pay family member's debts. In addition to her own children, her niece and nephew have lived with her since her brother passed away a few years ago, and now she is able to support their education, as well as provide healthier, chemical-free foods.

Soon Ajok has plans to train a group of women farmers so they are able to make the pesticide themselves and sell excess for profit. The training she received from Trees for the Future has lead Ajok to improve her life and pass along the lessons she has learned to others.

Thank you on behalf of the Kole, Uganda farmers and Trees for the Future for making this possible. We couldn’t do it without your sustaining support!

 

Sincerely,

Trees for the Fugture




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Jun 2, 2017

Forest Gardens Help Farmers Grow a Business

Simon stands next to his living fence
Simon stands next to his living fence

Simon is entering his second year with the Lira, Uganda Forest Garden Project and shared the many ways in which his trainings and experiences have enhanced his land and the way he works. An ambitious farmer and innovator, Simon had diverse crops and interesting projects on his land. However, there are a few key ways in which Simon and his family has seen major improvements.

A few years ago, Simon’s land was vulnerable to grazing and roaming cattle. Now, the living fence protects his lands and establishes a clear boundary. In addition to the obvious benefits, Simon has also noticed an improvement in his soil from the nitrogen fixing trees that compose his fence.

Previously, Simon  would purchase chemicals in town to use as pesticide and manure to enhance growth. Now, he has learned how to make a natural pesticide with chilies and various plants he grows on his plot. And instead of purchasing manure at market, Simon has begun composting in his Forest Garden, which has generated rich soil he spreads on his crops. He also intends to sell excess soil as an additional source of income, once his compost pile expands.

Simon has taken the lessons learned through his trainings and applied them throughout his Forest Garden, with great success. He work alongside his sons has brought more yield of diverse foods, increasing his family’s dietary consumption and diversity, with excess sold to bring in additional income. His soil is healthier and he now grows his crops organically – all of this achieved in his first year with the program. We cannot wait to see what Simon and his family is able to achieve in the coming years.

Through three trainings held this year, farmers in Lira learned to optimize their vegetable growing space and think of ideas to branch out into business like Simon. We encourage our farmers to be entrepreneurial and think of innovative ways to add to the Forest Garden’s value. We are glad to see these efforts taking off and on behalf of our farmers we want to thank you for your help in making it happen!

Sincerely,

The Trees for the Future Team

Simon proudly shows off his trees!
Simon proudly shows off his trees!
Simon & his son give a tour of their field
Simon & his son give a tour of their field

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Jun 2, 2017

Forest Gardens Teach Farmers Resilience

Margaret talking about the long drought
Margaret talking about the long drought

The rains have been late, unpredictable, or sometimes non-existent during recent years in Tanzania. For many of our farmers, like Margret in Tumuli, this has lead to problems staying on schedule with planting season, low germination, and dying seedlings.

Unfortunately these changes in weather patterns are no longer a rarity – they are the new normal. As such, our farmers are strategizing on ways they can still flourish in these conditions. When we met with Margret during planting season, she shared that she had not yet out-planted – she was waiting for the rains. As it has difficult to guess when the rains would come and for how long they would stay, Margret shared her plans to construct a water drum where she will be able to collect rainwater to water her plants and get her through the dry seasons. Just finishing up her first year with the project, this is her first savings goal she aims to meet. She has already set aside the space and spoken with vendors and fellow farmers who have already erected rainwater drums.

In the meantime, Margaret has been working with her eldest children, Samuel and Pendo, to collect rainwater in various vessels. They have managed to get by eating stored maize. With this collected rainwater, her seedlings have done quite well compared to previous years. This is because Margaret has learned how to keep a nursery. In the past, Margaret would broadcast seeds around her field, hoping a fair amount would take, always with varying results. As the spread was vast and somewhat unpredictable, she was unable to water the field. Now, in a nursery, her seedlings are protected and close together, easily watered. The nursery technique she learned in her Forest Garden training has been instrumental in her successes this year.

Margaret and her children are optimistic about the future as they see their vegetables begin to emerge in the nursery. She knows the changing weather will present challenges, but she is thankful for the resiliency the Forest Garden has provided. As her garden grows and she sees her profits increase, she looks forward to having collected water on her homestead, accessible year-round. Without the resources and planning preparations the Forest Garden technique has provided, none of this would be possible.

Our Tanzanian farmers have planted 439,806 trees since the start of this project and hope to plant many more with your help. On behalf of our farmers and our team, we want to say "Thank you" for supporting our work, and that we couldn't do it without you!

 

Sincerely,

The Trees for the Future Team

Margaret's daughter cooks maize from Forest Garden
Margaret's daughter cooks maize from Forest Garden
A new tree grows resiliently in dry soil
A new tree grows resiliently in dry soil

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