Growing big trees requires work
Listening to the farmers and workers we collaborate with in our projects is crtitical to success. Sometimes we disagree and this gives us a valuable opportunity to deepen trust while engaging in hands on education. For example, we recently had to address the desire of one farmer to apply herbicide to his land instead of engaging in the chopping work with machete. He believed the trees would grow better if they do not have to struggle with the sometimes aggressive cattle grass that often threatens to choke the trees.
Although we have a standard rule that no herbicides are to be applied to the land, we still had to make a special trip and meet with the farmer to address his concerns and ideas. Ultimately, he realized that he would be giving his job away to the chemical company if he applied herbicide to the land. Plus, we focused on the damage to the soil and surrounding wildlife and water supplies if he applied the herbicide. We brought him studies in Espanol concerning health problems assoicated with excessive herbicide use.
After many hours of touring the trees and discussions, the farmer agreed to forego the herbicide application and keep up with chopping the grasses with a crew of workers all being paid a living wage per hour to care for the trees. Victory!
Success depends on how we communicate. We cannot just deictate the rules with no regard for feedback or community pressures and opinions. When we meet face to face and talk about the solution, we end up changing paradigms in a hands on way over the long term. We also show respect ina real way for our local communities and deepen our relationships of trust.
Listening to Community is Key for Success
Growing trees requires hands on attention