Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms

by Community Carbon Trees- Costa RIca
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Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Plant 30,000 native trees Costa Rican owned farms
Teresa chopping grasses away from baby trees
Teresa chopping grasses away from baby trees

This time of year means lots of rain in Costa Rica. And rainy season means the cattle grasses around all the trees we plant are growing thick. So, our workers have to return to every tree and cut away the grasses so that sunlight and air can circulate around the tree. especially during the first 4 years after we plant it. This makes the trees grow vigorously straight. Sometimes it even looks like the tree literally grew inches in a single day. It is truly an amazing experience to tend the trees over the following years and assist thier outstanding growth with good follow up care.

The workers who tend every single tree  are local Costa Ricans who  own  the farm itself or live in the surrounding community. As of this year, 2016,  we have more than 28 different family farms participating with over 12,000 diverse native trees planted, in two different communities, with 10,500 of these trees still under ongoing active management.  This year alone, workers have already chopped the trees  twice and will do return to chop grasses and vines one more time in early January to prepare all the trees for the long hot summer months from February to May. Regular paid employment for the local community builds long term resilience. The farmers develop a relationship with the trees and with each other and are accountable for every single tree for a total of 25 years.

So much community education happens in the context of this paid maintenance work. Fair pay stimulates conservation and practices of sustainable forestry techniques learned throughout the process. It also means the  highest carbon sequestration possible and the maximum environmental and socially just impacts measurable.  

Thank you for your ongoing support. Our community is expanding with your help and creating  positive effects in regulating global climate with grassroots real equaitable action for people and Nature. Pura Vida!  

Tree maintenance 4 years insures good growth
Tree maintenance 4 years insures good growth
Fair Pay Tree CareEmployment Conserves Rainforest
Fair Pay Tree CareEmployment Conserves Rainforest
Women empowerment with tree care maintenance jobs
Women empowerment with tree care maintenance jobs
Look at the healthy tree planted last year!
Look at the healthy tree planted last year!
Healthy tree planted 1 year ago
Healthy tree planted 1 year ago
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Newly planted tree
Newly planted tree

Each planting season we collaborate with new Costa Rican host farm families to plant more trees on their degraded farms. To date, 21 families are collaborating with us to reforest pasturelands with more than 10,000 diverse rainforest trees.  It is always a joy to move our tree planting work to a new host farm family in the Valley San Juan de Dios in Costa Rica. Maria and her husband Noah and their family are thrilled to be planting over 150 trees on their deforested land with your help this year 2016.

To begin, we toured Maria and Noah’s small farm with a group of agro-forestry students to decide what species to plant and observe any problems or challenges with the farm in general.  There is a small stream at the foot of the hill exposed to the sun. So, we decided to plant large majestic rainforest trees perfect for protecting these precious waters and slowing evaporation for generations to come.

After discussions of best land management practices, we decided to plant at least 30 cocoa trees and many cashew trees mixed in so that the family could harvest these fruits and earn money in the future by collaborating with our cooperative group to make chocolate and other tree products.

A few days later, the trees were delivered and the whole family enjoyed admiring the over 45 species of hardwoods and fruit trees. The selection of tropical fruits include mamon chinos, guanabana, anona, breadfruit, oranges, lemons, caimitos, guavas, guayabas, cashews, almonds, karao, carambolas and more.

A crew of three women plus Alvaro planted the trees over a two weeks of work and so far, every single tree is thriving. Our paid workers will be chopping the surrounding vegetation and carefully following these trees for the next four 4 years to achieve robust productive mature trees for maximum benefits.  

The early months of every tree are critical. We recently visited the newly planted trees to inspect their progress with a touring group from another community interested in copying our community reforestation model. Seeing the freshly planted trees so healthy was rewarding for all. 

The whole community benefits from our tree planting work. The workers and neighbors producing and planting and caring for the trees enjoy being paid for their diligent work. Literally, we plant a grocery store on every farm where we reforest by including fruit trees, medicinal trees and lumber trees. The host farm family grows an abundance of opportunities for tree products.

The trees bring a notable positive social impact to families like Maria and Noah, living in marginalized areas of Costa Rica. They regenerate what was previously deforested and unproductive land. Families like them along with our paid workers develop valuable opportunities in collaboration with growing the trees and creating a wealth of products from the long term sustainable management of the land and the trees.  

Another freshly planted tree
Another freshly planted tree
Maria is thrilled to receive her trees
Maria is thrilled to receive her trees
The whole family participated in identifying trees
The whole family participated in identifying trees
Tree delivery filled with biodiversity
Tree delivery filled with biodiversity
Noah and the group surveying the  land
Noah and the group surveying the land
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Jessica and Eduardo working in Tree Nursery
Jessica and Eduardo working in Tree Nursery

Rainy season has begun in Costa Rica and that means tree planting season. With the support of donors like you, our reforestation work is able to expand to a whole new community in San Jose de Rivas, near Chirripo National Park. We chose this community for numerous reasons.

It all starts with a human connection because our reforestation work is socially integrated in order to assure long term maximum survival of every tree for future generations. The process started back in January when two leaders came to our nursery asking for assistance in reforesting some steep deforested areas around a water spring that nourishes the entire area with fresh potable water. Concerned for the future of their water supplies, we began investigating if the rest of the community would be committed to participating in efforts to replant and care for a wide diversity of trees in this zone. Jessica and Eduardo came to our biodiverse tree nurseries over the last six months many times to work and learn how we produce the baby trees, organize our work, and learn to  inspire the rest of their community to get involved.

After making a solid connection with their community, these new leaders with Founder, Jenny Smith, offered an educational TREE TALK in the communal salon in the pueblo to gauge interest and commitment to the long reforestation process. Because current employment only consists in coffee farming in the zone, fairly paid jobs are a huge incentive for many members of the community to participate. So many people participated in the three hour conversation about biodiversity and the importance of trees to protect water supplies.  All signs indicated YES!

Yesterday, we delivered 450 biodiverse trees to a holding space in the community for acclimatization. Loading and unloading the trees is a great opportunity for everyone to connect and learn more about the different species of high altitude trees we will plant in the beginning of July. Another delivery of 600 trees will be made in two weeks for a total of 1050 trees of 40 species to be planted this year. This weekend we are investigating the planting site with the 7 workers, men and women, who will be doing the physical labor of carrying the trees to the site, planting and maintaining them for a total of 4 years paid by your sponsorship. We are so excited to share news about the continued progress of this new project as well as the ongoing maintenance of all trees planted in past years! 

Thank you for your continued support in our integrated work with communities in Costa Rica for the benefit of all of us! The more communities we can reach with biodiverse reforestation, the better our chances for saving the rainforest and stopping deforestation, as well as protecting water supplies and global hydrological cycles.  

Where the last tree is cut,  the desert is born!
Where the last tree is cut, the desert is born!
Jenny Smith gives an educational Tree Talk~
Jenny Smith gives an educational Tree Talk~
Biodiversity is key with community involvement!
Biodiversity is key with community involvement!
Unloading trees together in community area!
Unloading trees together in community area!
Our community reforestation includes everyone!
Our community reforestation includes everyone!
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Cocoa Tree 5 years old Theobroma Cocoa
Cocoa Tree 5 years old Theobroma Cocoa

At Community Carbon Trees, planting all different kinds of trees gives us plenty to harvest.  We are growing sustainable business with rainforest reforestation in the center.  The maximum positive impact to mitigate climate change on the planet is to reduce carbon emissions to lower temperatures and balances the water cycle. Trees on the Equator do all of this for us, and more. Planting new forests of trees with fairly paid local workers on their own farms creates a longterm commitment to rainforest conservation. Building a full circle of complementary entrepreneurial opportunities that empower women makes the reforestation work even more valuable. 

For example, we plant hundreds of Theobroma Cocoa trees on every participating Costa Rican owned farm.  In just four years, we have already begun harvesting the fruits. It all started when a cocoa chef from San Francisco Jay Holacek contacted us, seeking to participate with our active and organized community. Of course, we said yes. The local farmers all brought some of their cocoa harvest and we placed the beans all together inside a wooden box for fermentation for approximately one week. Often other fruit is also mixed in to accelerate the process. We learned to check the beans for good fermentation by cutting them in half and observing that no fungus has grown on the beans. This is key to flavorful, smooth tasting chocolate. The process is time-consuming and delicate. More and more, with the world demand for chocolate and dwindling resources, organic, wild crafted chocolate is a sought after delicacy. For now, we are happy to be learning the complicated process.

After proper fermentation, the beans must be dried. Most chocolate chefs prefer sun dried cocoa beans.  They must be kept dry and for approximately three days and then stored in airtight dark place.   We have learned that making chocolate is like making fine wine. Every harvest is different depending on the soils, the weather, the shade, the fermentation, and the drying and toasting process. 

After the beans are dried, toasting the beans to the desired smooth flavor begins. On average, toasting takes about 30 minutes at 340 degrees.  Then the shells are cracked open and the women roughly grind away the shells and break the beans into smaller pieces called "nibs". Some people like to eat the nibs plain and we have already had success selling them at local farmers markets.  One the shells cracked away from the beans, we used a blow dryer to "winnow" away the shells from the cocoa "nibs".

Now everything smells incredible and tasting begins in earnest. We used an old champion juicer to rough grind the toasted cocoa beans into cocoa "liquor".  This is a slow process. We ran the paste through twice to create a shiny, smooth liquor.  Now comes the sugar. But not just any sugar. Our chocolate is extra special because our ACCT community group grew and prepared the brown sugar too. Using traditional methods, the sugar was cooked down and poured into seasoned wooden molds. We toasted the grated brown sugar or "tapa dulce" to make sure it was dry before mixing in 35% sugar to %65 pure, cocoa liquor.  Our 1 kg batch of chocolate liquor was ground all night long with a fabulous machine that our chef loaned us. The next morning, we awoke to a completely homogenous and smooth paste, sweet, rich, flavorful and free of bitterness. 

Stay tuned as we grow more opportunities from the trees you help us plant with your generous sponsorships. Thanks for your continued support. The more trees we plant the more chocolate we can make. The more businesses we grow from the trees, the more sustainable the rainforest will be. 

Toasted cocoa beans
Toasted cocoa beans
Inside a freshly harvested cocoa fruit. Delicious.
Inside a freshly harvested cocoa fruit. Delicious.
Maria y Isabel cracking the toasted chocolate
Maria y Isabel cracking the toasted chocolate
Grinding twice into cocoa liquor... pure chocolate
Grinding twice into cocoa liquor... pure chocolate
Seriously yummy...
Seriously yummy...
Grinding chocolate with brown sugar all night long
Grinding chocolate with brown sugar all night long
Our community grew and made the brown sugar too!
Our community grew and made the brown sugar too!
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Heart shaped havillo trees for you!
Heart shaped havillo trees for you!

I am always amazed at the generosity of trees.  They give us nothing short of the fundamental necessities for life, like oxygen and clean water and food. The simbiotic relationship we humans and animals share with the trees on the Equator is nothing short of amazing. Trees give us what we most need. Through photosynthesis, trees 'inhale"  the  carbon dioxide that humans and animals and cars and factories and airplanes "exhale".  Through the process of evotranspiration, trees transmute this greenhouse gas along with the rain into oxygen molecules and water vapor. Trees breathe with us, exchanging every breath we take for a new one. So basic and so seemingly simple. 

Did you know that rainforest trees absorb much more carbon dioxide because they are growing near the Equator where they enjoy a full year round growing season. More trees growing long term on the Equator like Costa Rica where our community organization works equals more balanced global climate for all.  It gives us all hope that we can truly make a difference and positive impact for a better world.

People like you who give trees are indeed a reflection of true generosity and hope too! With every breath we take, with every tree we care for, we send gratitude and well wishes for you in 2016! Thanks for being a part of our growing movement to save tropical rainforests by planting more biodiverse trees with fair paid communities and follow up care included.  Feel the fresh breeze! The trees are sending warm oxygen and shading clouds your way! Enjoy!

Paid labor changes paradigms and grows big trees!
Paid labor changes paradigms and grows big trees!
Thanks to our committed Sponsors!!
Thanks to our committed Sponsors!!
TREES give us Yummy food! Tropical Grapefruit
TREES give us Yummy food! Tropical Grapefruit
Trees recycle Water in huge quantities!
Trees recycle Water in huge quantities!
Equator Trees make clouds! Blessings of light 2016
Equator Trees make clouds! Blessings of light 2016
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Organization Information

Community Carbon Trees- Costa RIca

Location: Platanillo, Perez Zeledon - Costa Rica
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jennifer Smith
Founder CEO
Platanillo, Costa Rica
$276,272 raised of $333,000 goal
 
1,972 donations
$56,728 to go
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