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!
The Trees for the Future Team
Margaret's daughter cooks maize from Forest Garden
A new tree grows resiliently in dry soil