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Samuel Lives on his acre plot with his wife and three children. Two years ago, his land was without plan or purpose. Year after year he grew the same crops on his land, with diminishing results. His soil was exhausted and he did not know how to improve his land. After joining Trees for the Future, he learned about the importance of rotating his crops, building nurseries, and planning and planting with purpose.  His biggest success has come from learning to grow tomatoes successfully in the off-season. Using the seasonal calendar training, Samuel has learned to plan his crops so that when the market is void of tomatoes, he is producing in droves. While Samuel used to grow only a few things, now regardless of the season, Samuel has many options of vegetables, grains, and fruits on his land. He explains, “my land is smart,” with a fence protecting it, fodder trees to feed his cows, fruit trees to feed his family, and a variety of healthy vegetables year-round.  Moreover, he is proud of his land and is thankful to be able to pass it down to his children and grandchildren someday.

Our Planting Partner

For the planting of trees, we teamed up with the amazing organization Trees for the Future (TREES). That is an international non-profit organization that ends hunger, poverty AND deforestation at the same time, one tree at a time. 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 more information, visit https://trees.org

Trees for the Future

Why Trees?

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.

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.

Trees help to lessen the wind that might affect crops, cool off ground temperatures, and trap moisture and nutrients in the soil so that food crops grow better in the improved microclimate.  Trees also provide fodder for animals, create living fences, and can be a source of sustainable fuelwood production.

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.

About Forest Gardens

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.

Watch this 20 minute documentary to learn how trees will make the dessert green again by regenerative agriculture with the Forest Garden Approach.

Amazing Farmer’s Testimonials

Project in Ikinu, Kenya: Susan smiles ear to ear when talking about the transformation she and her land have undergone since joining Trees for the Future in 2016. When she started, her situation was “not very good at all,” but today she knows how to plan and optimize her land to its fullest potential. Her family used to have very limited food options from their homestead, and endured long periods of little variety in their diets. Now, she shows off her tomatoes, passion fruit, tree tomato, papaya, maize, cabbage, kale, and potatoes – and that is just one section of her garden! She is able to eat a more diverse diet, while still having plenty of excess to sell at market. Success at the market has allowed her to pay school fees for her children and grandchildren. As she talks about the future, she also shares her hope to establish enough capital to set up a grocery and produce store in the coming year. Susan’s plans for the future have grown substantially since starting the program, and she looks forward to maintaining her Forest Garden for years to come, teaching her children and grandchildren the valuable lessons she has learned through her training. Click here to view some more pictures.
Susan Wanjiku
Project in Ikinu, Kenya: Samuel lives on his one-acre plot with his wife and three children. Year after year he grew the same crops with diminishing results. His soil was exhausted and he didn’t know how to improve his land and circumstance. He felt like his land was without plan or purpose, but in 2016 Samuel joined Trees for the Future and that all change. He soon learned the importance of rotating his crops, his TREES technician taught him how to build a nursery, and he began planning and planting with the purpose he had been missing. Samual says his biggest success has come from learning to grow tomatoes in the off-season. Using his seasonal calendar training, Samuel is now planning his tomato crops around the high demand periods when the market is void of tomatoes, and he is producing in droves. Where he used to grow only a few things, Samuel now tends to many different vegetables, grains, and fruits. With a living fence protecting his garden, fodder trees to feed his cows, fruit trees to feed his family, and a variety of healthy vegetables year-round, Samuel says simple, “My land is smart.” Today, he is proud of his land and is thankful to be able to pass it down to his children and grandchildren someday. Click here to view some more pictures.
Samuel Makena
Project in Uganda, Kole: Obia lives with his four children and wife in Kole, Uganda and is finishing up his second year with the Forest Garden Program. Obia finally feels secure feeding his family during the dry season. He and his wife previously grew only maize and sorghum on his land, harvesting and selling a few times of year. They needed to live off of their biannual proceeds year-round, which required careful savings and planning. This left them extremely vulnerable to problems with their crops, such as disease or pests, as well as dependent on unpredictable market prices, which could shift with little notice. Now, Obia grows onions, eggplant, green pepper, tomato, pumpkin, and boyo (a local leafy green) from seeds provided by Trees for the Future. Learning about the benefits of a vegetable garden, as well as the benefits of intercropping, Obia has added sweet potatoes, yams, sesame, and cabbages on his own. He now has vegetables and fruits available on his own land throughout the year and his family no longer worries where their next meal will come from. Click here to view some more pictures.
Obia Philip
Project in Tumuli, Tanzania: Ramadhani thanks Trees for the Future for giving his land a plan. Previously, Ramadhani broadcast seeds across his soil and hoped for the best. Much of his land was wasted and unused. He’s now thoughtful about how he plants, creating a living fence around his plot, and planting his seedlings in a nursery. He places his seedlings in well-spaced rows, and intercrops with trees. Through Trees for the Future, Ramadhani joined a Farmer Group, where he gets support and shares ideas. Together, they’ve built a larger nursery and spend time helping one another. Click here to view some more pictures.
Ramadhani Magwe
Project in Tumuli, Tanzania: Ending her second year, Safia looks forward to her vegetables growing for her family to eat and to sell at market. She will grow okra, pumpkin, amaranth, and spinach, alongside her sunflowers, maize, and chickpeas that she currently grows. Through her trainings with Trees for the Future, Safia’s land has been given renewed purpose. She plans and plants things thoughtfully and to maximize her land and the soils health. Moreover, she also enjoys the camaraderie of her farmer group and often barters and trades among the group. With the proceeds from selling vegetables at market, Safia looks forward to establishing savings for the first time, hoping her children will be able to achieve a higher education. Click here to view some more pictures.
Safia Bakari Hongoa
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