For the planting of our trees, we work together with the American non profit organisation Trees for the Future and the Belgian vzw Promobutler Foundation. Read more about them below.
We looked at a lot of options before choosing our official planting partner and Trees For The Future (TREES) simply was the best. It’s an American non-profit organization that ends hunger, poverty AND deforestation at the same time, one tree at a time. They have more than 30-years experience in planting trees and achieve the best results and cost per tree because of that. It is one of the few organizations we found that not only fights climate change but also changes people lives by doing it. In addition, they are also 100% transparent concerning the financials of their organization and projects (something which a lot of NPO’s are not!). Through their Forest Garden Approach, Trees for the Future trains farmers to plant and manage Forest Gardens that sustainably feed families, raise incomes by 400 percent, and heales the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1989, TREES has planted over 150 million trees.
For our ‘1 product, 1 tree’ project, we donated directly to them. However, later on in this project and for other projects, we donated to Promobutler Foundation first after which they donated directly to Trees for the Future.
The only drawback of working together directly with Trees for the Future is that you don’t know exactly where your trees will be planted except when you are going to fund for a whole project, i.e. donating at least $10.000 per year (read more) for 4 years and we can’t pay that at this moment unfortunately. BUT, during our 5 million tree campaign, we met the founder of Promobutler Foundation. This is a Belgian vzw that encourages other companies to adopt sustainability into their business model and to donate money to plant trees. All the funds they raise will go directly to Trees for the Future. So, Promobutler Foundation acts as an intermediary between us and Trees for the Future which causes more paperwork and 5% extra administrative costs BUT the big advantage here is that they gather much bigger sums of money so that they can donate to a whole project ánd thus are able to track everything extremely well! And we prefer full transparency above everything else.
Also wondering why we like to plant trees, how Trees for the Future plants all the trees and the reason why it’s only $0,1 per tree? Well, wonder no more because we’ve got you covered with some lovely answers below!
Because planting trees only has benefits. When we started House Raccoon, we wanted to do something that didn’t just compensate our impact on the environment. We wanted something that went 1000 times beyond that. Therefore we plant one tree per product. There are many ways that trees are beneficial to both people and the environment. Trees are habitat for biodiversity. Trees create much of the planet’s oxygen. And trees help combat climate change. The list is nearly limitless, but by partnering with Trees For The Future and their Forest Garden approach, we focus on the role trees play in agroforestry and in helping farming families improve their land quality and productivity.
In addition, we don’t plant trees everywhere, we only choose to plant in Africa. Planting trees in Africa has so many positive side-effects in contrary to planting trees elsewhere. The soil will become fertile again, farmers will have an increased income, children will be able to go to school and so on. These are effects we simply don’t see when planting trees in for example Europe or North-America. Because of the aligned goals of the farmer and the tree planting organization, we are also sure that the trees will survive for many years to come. Apart from that, planting trees in Western countries is 10-40 times more expensive and we will always choose for the largest impact for the money donated. Finally, because of the warm climate of those countries, the trees will grow much faster and suck up a lot more C02!
Forest Gardens are also known as polyculture, permaculture, agroforestry, etc… and define a multi-layered, multi-purpose distribution of vegetables, bushes, and lots of trees designed to optimize productivity of a piece of land. It is a farming system that thinks vertically, not just horizontally. Forest gardens stand in stark contrast to modern industrial agriculture which encourages farmers to plant one or few crops. Time and time again, these monocultures contribute to chemical-intensive, environmentally-destructive, and deadly consequences for biodiversity and long-term human prosperity.
Agroforestry (= Forest Gardens) is a model that integrates trees into agriculture, landscapes and is particularly appropriate for resource-poor farmers in developing countries. In addition to providing fruits, berries, and nuts, trees provide environmental services that are essential for the world: they can improve the fertility of degraded soils (through nitrogen fixation), prevent wind and soil erosion (contributing to improved fertility), increase water penetration into underground aquifers, and contribute to improvements in the growing environment. The result is that, apart from all the positive impacts on the climate and ecosystem, farmers earn up to 400% more with the Forest garden approach which banishes hunger, improves educations (especially for the woman!) and remove the need for migration.
Watch this 20 minute documentary to learn how trees will make the dessert green again by regenerative agriculture with the Forest Garden Approach.
So, how does Trees for the Future plants trees for only $0,1? The €0,10 is enough to provide African farmers with the tools, knowledge and seeds to successfully plant their own trees. Because they are not paid for doing this, the cost per tree stays incredibly low. The farmers however get the most out of it. They receive a full 4-year education project which learns them how to engage in regenerative agriculture with the help of the trees. This allows them to increase the fertility of their soil and increase their income up to 400% so that hunger is drastically reduced, there is a great surge in education and woman empowerment and the need for migration will be drastically reduced.
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