Today, more than 400 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa will spend each day in extreme poverty, living on approximately $1 - $2/day. Most are rural farmers. As their crop yields fall from years of destructive farming practices and expensive chemical usage, their lands are also becoming increasingly degraded and deforested. Unable to provide for themselves and their families, these farmers sink deeper into a cycle of poverty, hunger, and despair that seems unbreakable for far too many.
Trees for the Future works with governments and the private sector to harness resources and deploy scalable solutions. We bring education, training, seeds and Forest Gardens to make a difference forever. Our close yet independent relationship with businesses and governments provide a sustainable and proven solution through Forest Gardens that increases the annual income of families by 400%, eliminates hunger, and increases access to nutrition and economic resiliency for thousands of families while ending the root causes of deforestation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I get more from my two acre forest garden than I could get from six acres of peanut crop. My children have a future now, and as I age, trees will continue to feed my family.”
Mate Mbeye, Forest Garden Farmer
Our latest data indicates that the Forest Garden Approach ends hunger for most families after the first year. Only 13% of our project participants were food secure when they joined the program, and after just 12 months of planting Forest Gardens, 86% of our farmers are food secure. We aim to end hunger in families before the end of the four year program and the data shows we will achieve it.
An important part of our success is in the diversification of food crops and marketable products. In the first two years of our program we increase the number of food crops and marketable products from 2 to 7.
Trees for the Future is now helping over 2,444 families in Sub-Saharan Africa eliminate hunger and rise out of poverty. Through this work, we are impacting the lives of their families and children, resulting in positive impacts for 21,138 people in 2016. A total of 82% of our farmers have seen significant income increases since the start of our program, with more than 92% now feeling capable with their new resources to brace for any unforeseen circumstances the future may bring.
Planting Forest Gardens ends deforestation and land degradation. By decreasing the use of destructive farming practices such as burning, clearing and plowing, Forest Gardens reduce deforestation by eliminating farmers' dependence on forests for food, timber, and many other non-timber forest products. Forest Gardens also do wonderful things for the soil, water and biodiversity. We work to end hunger and poverty near biodiversity preserves, such as in Senegal, where we are working alongside Jane Goodall International Spain. Our work in keeping farmers out of chimpanzee habitat will save the West African chimpanzee.
Whereas traditional agriculture has a heavy carbon footprint, particularly due to the use of harmful agro-chemicals, Forest Gardens sequester carbon that is built up on farm biomass.
The 3,049 Forest Gardens we have planted in recent years will sequester a combined 192,796 metric tons of carbon — an average rate of 62.8 tons of Carbon per Forest Garden.
Finally, through planting diverse trees and crops, nutrient and moisture retention in the soil is increasing, which allows for sustainable growing. Simultaneously, this helps wildlife conservation efforts as our farmers now sustain their livelihoods off of their lands, not by cutting down trees in neighboring jungles and forests; the natural habitat of many creatures such as birds, bees, bats and chimpanzees.
Trees for the Future is empowering women. In 2016, 1,418 agroforestry workshops were conducted with farmers. 44% of participants are women. We are creating hope and productivity with farmers by providing not just a form of sustenance but a sustainable vocation that heals the Earth while supporting its inhabitants. There is hope and we can turn the tide of deforestation, desertification, hunger, and poverty by investing in this approach.
“I thank you to the point of wanting to dance!”
- Malik Ndao, Forest Garden Farmer