Nature and trees have always been something I have valued since I was a little girl. I loved climbing trees, playing with sticks and leaves and having fun. But for farmers in Senegal, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, trees are a scarce sight. To make a living in Africa, many people have resorted to peanut farming. To farm peanuts, farmers cut down acres of trees to create expansive fields for the peanuts. But by cutting down the trees, the land has become depleted - dust blows across their fields in a desert like climate. Peanuts take most of the year to prepare, plant and harvest, and when they finally sell the peanuts, they get only one pay day for the whole year. Many families run out of money mid year, and have to go on minimal resources for the rest of the year. In addition, they have limited fodder for their animals, and find it hard to send their children to school when they have to have them on the farm to make crops to put meals on the table.
Trees. org is helping on multiple fronts in Africa to help farmers stay out of poverty, end hunger, and bring back trees to their environment. They send members of their organization to help train farmers how to build what they call a forest garden. A forest garden is a sustainable garden that is surrounded by trees to keep animals and desert conditions out, and a climate suitable for growing all kinds of crops inside. In the first stages of the process, African farmers are taught to plant trees in a rectangular pattern along the fields that will soon plant crops of all different sorts. They are trained to learn how to use minimal water, and to grow food, as well as fruit trees, native crops, animal fodder, timber and anything else that would be needed to support a family. So many of the farmers that used to live in Africa have left because they see no hope in farming, and see a dark and cloudy future. But these gardens give them hope; they are able to provide for their family year round, and are bringing back the trees that used to cover the landscape. In addition, forest gardens are helping to end hunger and poverty so more children that would generally be working on the farm now have the opportunity to go to school. Just 10 dollars can provide enough seeds for a whole family, and 50 dollars can get them the kit to help make a forest garden. 240 dollars can help train a farmer to grow sustainable crops for his family, and just 640 dollars can get a family in Africa training, tools and all the materials needed to plant their very own garden. 149,804,877 million trees have been planted so far by trees for the future. Make a difference and help get a family out of poverty and back on their feet.