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30 years and counting

A Letter from Our Executive Director

Dear Reader,

Over the last 30 years, we’ve made history together.

The 1st time was when we surpassed the planting of 100 million trees. It took us 25 years to reach our first 100 million, and just five years later we’ve already reached 160 million trees.

The trees we’ve planted over the years have not been seeds you simply put in the ground, but rather a careful, strategic process of selecting diverse seeds, growing strong seedlings in countless tree nurseries, and ensuring survivability after planting. We do not buy seedlings from commercial nurseries. We do not pay people to grow and plant trees. We have always invested in training impoverished people with the skills to do things themselves. With your support and with our dedication to sustainable and appropriate project design, implementing thousands of successful forest gardens with some of the most impoverished people, was us making history a second time.

In the last five years, while organizing what we’ve learned into the Forest Garden Training Program, we proved our hypothesis correct: that by training farmers to protect and diversify their fields with trees and crops, they can optimize the food produced and income earned, taking them to new heights. We proved that regenerative agriculture – based on trees and agroforestry – can indeed end global hunger, poverty, and deforestation on a large-scale. We proved that we can feed the world without destroying our Earth.

And what more fitting a way to honor our 30 year history than by teaching the world to do what we have learned. This year, I will personally be leading a global cohort of people through the United Nations to become certified in the very Forest Garden Training Program your tree donations helped create. Over many days and many time zones, I will take your message to the leaders of the world that we can save this planet, we can end hunger, and we can end poverty – all by planting lots and lots of beneficial trees in strategic agricultural systems.

Our first 100 million trees were enough to cover Manhattan 10 times, and we were just getting started. Our Forest Garden projects are designed to grow and scale. Through our new Forest Garden Training Center and mobile app, we are training and certifying other organizations and community leaders to join the regenerative movement. And if I am successful this spring at the United Nations and if we continue to pay it forward with your support, we will make history a third time by lifting ONE MILLION people out of poverty and hunger.

The next 5 years are critical, launching our most recent strategic plan which calls upon us to break the cycle of poverty and eradicate hunger for 1 million people by planting 500 million trees in 125,000 Forest Gardens. We will work with 125,000 families to revitalize a quarter of a million acres of land. As farmers elevate out of poverty, we will link them to credit, water, and markets; ensuring long term sustainability in their livelihoods while scaling a greener green revolution.

As I look back on the history of our organization, I am forever grateful and indebted to your support and generosity as you help us fight an essential fight; the one that will give our grandchildren the ability to call our Earth, “home.” If you’ve been our supporter over the last 30 years, we salute you. If you’ve joined us recently, we thank you. You are all investors in Trees for the Future as we uplift people and recharge the planet for the next 30 years to come.

In peace and friendship,

John Leary, Executive Director

P.S. Thanks to you, Trees for the Future has a solution that works and we have the resources to make global change but we still need your help to reach our goal. I ask that you please renew your support for a better planet with an end to hunger and poverty and a place for our children to call home. Join us by donating, by becoming a monthly donor in our Sustainers’ Circle, by leaving us in your legacy, by becoming a member of our major donor program, using your voice as an ambassador, or by partnering with us through your business.

Celebrate With Us

All year long we will be celebrating our 30th birthday! Visit our events calendar for regular updates on when and where we are celebrating in city near you. Interested in hosting an event? Let us know at

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Three Decades of Impact




See more of our impact in our latest Impact Report.

Farmer Success Stories

For the Upendo group of Tanzania, the farmers are each other’s biggest support system.
Trees for the Future
For Ndeye, trees symbolize peace and independence. 
John Leary
"I get more from my two acre Forest Garden than I could get from six acres of peanut crop. My sons have a future now, and as I age, trees will continue to feed my family."
Mate Mbaye
The advantages of the fodder trees are manifold. We are proud of our impact and continued benefit the role of fodder trees play for our farmers – they are a workhorse of the Forest Garden Approach.
Elizabeth Norikane

Plant Trees and Change Lives

Your donation has a direct impact on the earth and lives of the people who need it most. By helping us plant trees, you give families the ability to transition from unsustainable farming techniques to a Forest Garden system. Your donation not only sustains and empowers them, but also changes their lives forever.