Mar 6, 2017

Trees Give Hope to a Ugandan Farmer

The family's all here and excited to plant trees!
The family's all here and excited to plant trees!

Dear friend,

Trees for the Future is  busy working on planting trees with our Ugandan farmers. We wanted to share the story of one farmer, Afiya*, who has made a great effort to make her life better through planting trees.

Afiya is a widow who looks after 9 of her 20 grandchildren. Three of her sons were captured during the insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army in the early 2000s and she took in their small children. With such a large family, Afiya has a lot of mouths to feed. In addition to her struggles, two her daughters died of AIDS-related diseases and left behind several children that have also been raised by Afiya and their older cousins.

In 2017, with the income she could generate from growing trees and vegetables next year, Afiya hopes to buy new school uniforms and shoes for her grandchildren. On her three acres of land, she has planted a Forest Garden on one acre. This small but productive Forest Garden increases her number of valuable crops from an average of three to an average of 12. These crops include fast-growing trees, fruit trees, and many nutritious vegetables to help feed her growing family and create a more food secure future.

With your support, Afiya is earning more income and creating a more sustainable and propsperous future for her large family. Through your donations to this project, her life and the lives of her children are better.

We can't thank you enough for your help of this family and many others like it!

Sincerely,

Trees for the Future

*Name of actual participant changed in this report 

Afiya with her granddaughters
Afiya with her granddaughters
Afiya outside of her house
Afiya outside of her house

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Mar 2, 2017

Trees for the Future Final Senegal Project Report

A female farmer waters her baby trees in her Fores
A female farmer waters her baby trees in her Fores

In 2016, TREES launched its second project using the Forest Garden Approach in the Kaffrine Department of Senegal, the fourth project in the country. To kick off the project in early 2016, technicians took 244 farmers through a Forest Garden planning process to map their land and develop Forest Garden designs based on their families’ needs and market opportunities. As the year progressed, technicians successfully led each of the participant farmers through the process of growing and planting thorny and fast-growing nitrogen-fixing trees. The farmers raised and planted the trees in living fences to ensure the protection of their plots. They also planted fast-growing fertilizer trees in alleys across their sites to fortify the long-term health of their soil. By the end of 2016, participants planted more than 354,800 trees. After participating in composting and perma-gardening training events, they also began planting a selection of nutritious vegetables, including lettuce, onion, turnip, tomato and cabbage.

 With continued guidance and mentoring from technicians, farmers recently began the second year of the project by reassessing their Forest Garden designs to reflect on their goals for the project and what they have learned from each other and their technicians over the course of the first year. As the upcoming June-October rainy season quickly approaches, the technicians are now training participants to grow and plant an array of fruit and nut trees that include cashew, citrus, papaya and soursop. These trees will improve household nutrition while producing an abundance of fruits to sell at different times throughout the year. When dry season gardening begins in the autumn, farmers will learn to grow and manage an even greater variety of nutritious vegetables, specifically selected for the market opportunities they provide.

 Thanks to your generous support, and that of Jade Yoga who matched the first $15,000 raised, the Kaffrine Forest Garden Project has been a huge success so far and we certainly expect this success to continue. Over the next few years, these 244 farming families will continue to diversify their Forest Gardens, planting more fruit trees as well as timber trees and various other perennials to maximize and optimize the use of their land and resources. In this time, participating families will watch their lands transform before their eyes.

 The participants of the Kaffrine Forest Garden Project entered the project farming parched, sandy soils that literally just grew peanuts, a crop whose unstable prices and singular payouts each year led to high levels of vulnerability and deepening levels of poverty. By the end of the project they will have fields protected by trees and other perennial plants that produce an abundance of fuel-wood and animal fodder. Their soils will be more fertile, hold more water, and produce numerous fruit, timber, vegetable crops, and more. These same families will soon be harvesting a wide variety of products throughout the year, with yields increasing instead of diminishing, providing them with something to eat, sell, or trade, ever day of the year. This is how your support is helping families in Africa climb out of poverty. This is how smallholder farmers can protect and revitalize the Earth. This is the power of the Forest Garden.

 

A we have reached our current funding goal for this project, we can't thank you enough for your support in making the lives of these families better. If you are interested in learning more about our other projects that need help in Uganda or Tanzania, please visit our Global Giving project page

One of our farmers sits proudly with his tree nurs
One of our farmers sits proudly with his tree nurs

Links:

Feb 22, 2017

Forest Gardens Reduce Drought Vulnerability

Talk to any farmer in Africa and she will tell you that the rains are increasingly unpredictable. They rarely follow normal patterns, droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity, and when it does rain it comes in torrents, washing away crops and flooding villages. These factors make it more challenging than ever to grow food, even as the land itself becomes increasingly infertile from unsustainable agricultural practices.

Stories of drought in Africa are all too familiar, and it is one that farmers in our Forest Garden Projects in Tanzania are once again telling. Over the past few months your support has allowed us to purchase and deliver 156 50-gallon water barrels to help 488 families collect and store water to grow trees. It has also helped us to subsidize water costs for farmers’ tree nurseries, as water scarcity has led to fees for water usage in the area. Unfortunately the rains still have not come. Without rains they can’t plant the trees, as they will not survive the harsh, dry climate in their fields, and it is too laborious and wasteful to irrigate seedlings outside of the nurseries. The water barrels have allowed them to continue caring for seedlings in the nurseries, however. TREES’ technicians have worked with farmers to prune the leaves and roots of the young seedlings, which help them to conserve water so they can plant them when the next rainy season does arrive, expected in March.

TREES’ Forest Garden Project is continuing despite the drought in Tanzania. Farmers are currently learning to raise diverse vegetables in permagardens, to provide a variety of foods to eat and sell while they wait in hope for rains to return. When they do, TREES will encourage farmers to double down in planting trees and other perennial crops following the Forest Garden Approach. The various species of trees and plants in Forest Gardens protect and fertilize their soils, and provide farmers with something to eat, sell, or trade every day of the year. The fruit trees, timber trees, and other perennial crops that farmers plant are far more resistant to drought than are annual crops. Their deep roots access water far below the surface; their branches shade the soil and reduce surface temperatures, helping to preserve moisture; the leaves they drop help to mulch, protect, and fertilize the soil; they continue to grow and produce long after annual crops have withered and died. Though droughts certainly still take their toll, families who have established Forest Gardens are far less vulnerable to drought, and they are better protected from the floods that often follow drought conditions.

On behalf of the 3,904 women, men, and children benefitting directly from our Forest Garden Projects in Tanzania, we thank you for your support. The rains will come again, and when they do, these families will continue to use the water barrels you donated to continue establishing Forest Gardens to increase food security, income, and resilience in the face of an increasingly erratic climate.

Links:

 
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