Happy New Year! Due to your ongoing support, we are excited to report that last year the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation planted and distributed 22,255 fruit trees and held 117 orchard events for poverty-stricken communities and schools in East Africa, Central America, and the U.S. Along the way, our staff provided horticultural training for more than two thousand tree planters and environmental curriculum for more than two thousand students--inspiring the next generation of environmentalists.
In El Salvador, FTPF is in the midst of a ten-year project to plant 100,000 native breadnut, mango, and cacao trees for low-income families to provide a source of income and nutrition. While visiting one family to evaluate trees we planted previously, our team was greeted with a basket full of juicy, purple mangoes. The president of the community association (pictured) told us: “We have been able to feed ourselves, make money, and have noticed a change in the environment ... a return in the native bee population and the health of the soil around the river. Thank you for all the effort you have put in towards the success of our land.”
On Kisima Island, off the coast of Lake Victoria in Uganda, we encountered a village with just a single fruit tree (pictured) on the entire island! This lonely avocado tree is so valued that there is a protective wall built around it and the family that cares for it was teeming with pride about how well it is doing. FTPF was honored to donate an additional 300 fruit trees, along with horticultural training, for this small community that has no access to fresh produce without traveling to the mainland. A fruitful future awaits!
In Jinja, Uganda, we met Clinton and Solome, two students with a passion for planting trees. As we were working with schools in their community, they felt compelled to join the effort and set a goal for themselves to plant 100 trees on their own, giving themselves a deadline to finish by the time of our last school project. The community called it the “hundred tree challenge,” and the national media reported on their progress as well.
Our dynamic duo planted their 100th tree at the second-to-last school and decided to ask their peers at the last school (pictured) to join the effort and plant an additional 100 trees to double their goal. As the 200th tree was planted, the students gathered around and sang songs while the tree was placed in the ground--a powerful symbol of how communities can work together to exceed goals and take action for their environment.
We are grateful to the families in El Salvador for caring for their trees, ensuring they provide income and nutrition for their children. And to the village of Kisima Island for transforming their food desert with just one fruit tree into a future oasis with hundreds. And to Clinton and Solome, and like-minded students everywhere, for their impassioned efforts to join FTPF’s mission to make communities greener and healthier.
Planting fruit trees is a powerful thing. And we couldn’t do it without you. FTPF is proud to report that last year, 92 cents of every dollar donated to FTPF was used in our life-sustaining programs. Moving forward, we need your help to expand our programs in East Africa, Central America, and across the U.S. Together, we can plant a fruitful future.
The Entire FTPF Team