| Jul 1, 2020
In a drastically changed world, the work continues
NSP staff with farmers and trees planted
Our world seems unhinged these days. The problems that plague our societies are on spotlight, as borders and businesses and ‘normal life’ continue to close down from a pandemic that swept the world away overnight. We’re all pivoting to find a new normal, whether it be our daily routines, our work life, with our family and how we stay connected to friends.
This pandemic has, in some way, brought us together as a global community. Whether in a bustling city in the US or a village in northern Uganda, we’re all facing a similar reality: how do we keep our families safe and our children fed? How do we protect our grandmothers from a virus that may disproportionately affect them?
But even in a drastically changed world, the work continues. We’ve been asked to look at what is essential. The Native Seeds Project has always believed that our work is essential. We’ve always looked to the future: how will we ensure the longevity of soil fertility to make sure communities can continue to grow their own food, and have abundant harvests? How do we bring back tree cover to ensure microclimates that boost crop productivity and ensure long-term, sustainable food security amidst growing climate change concerns?
We’re happy to say that even in the midst of a global pandemic, our resolve in the importance of our work remains unchanged. We are essential. Our work is essential. As people lose jobs and the economic fallout of the pandemic becomes more certain the world over, our commitment to food security and restored forests with ample biodiversity has never seemed more important.
So, even in a drastically changed world, the work continues. Uganda has enforced a very strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, namely because the government understood that their healthcare system does not have the capacity to deal with a pandemic. That lockdown meant the temporary halting of our activities, but as the lockdown eases up, our colleagues are slowly getting back to work.
We work closely with 1,000 farmers to restore tree cover and to diversify farming systems, all to make their croplands more resilient and more abundant. We established the first native tree nursery in the region, and continue to be a beacon of native tree restoration in the region. When we first started our work, people raised their eyebrows at us: why native tree species? What do they do? Five years later, we have organizations and even local government departments coming to us for recommendations on their own native tree restoration and agroforestry projects. Why? Because native tree cover is essential to healthy ecosystems. And healthy ecosystems are essential to food security. And food security is essential to the livelihood and the health of local communities. For today’s generation and tomorrow’s.
We know there’s a lot of problems in the world right now. It can be hard to sift through which ones most need our support. Sometimes all we can do is put a bandaid on a problem rather than finding the surgeon that can remediate the root issue. We want to let you know that in this metaphor, our project is a well-trained surgeon. We don’t put bandaids on the problem of food insecurity by running food banks or handing out GMO seeds. We look at the entire system–for us, the ecosystem–to see how we can address the root cause of ecosystem loss and inconsistent rain fall–and do the surgery necessary to restore the land back to its optimal functioning. For the human communities that live on it, and the biological communities that comprise it.
This is how we change the world for the better. We hope you’ll continue to support our work, as we continue to plant trees to restore forests and to restore communities’ holistic livelihood. Our Ugandan farmers have never needed your help more than they do right now.
From our land to yours,
The Native Seeds Project team
Adding trees to croplands
working with community members