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.