Trees That Feed Heroes: Sandra Myers

sandra Myers photo 2Sandra Myers is our hero extraordinare in Barbados! Representing Trees That Feed Foundation, Sandra is collaborating with Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Education in Barbados on an education project that will eventually reach 105 schools. As part of Earth Day 2015, Sandra and 20 Sandals volunteers launched the project in three schools where theyplanted food-bearing trees and engaged students and teachers in helping the environment. Students were thrilled to get their hands dirty!

Sandra grew up with her older sister in Kingston, Jamaica. After attending the University of the West Indies, she relocated to Barbados in 1996 for a one-year contract that turned permanent. She worked in human resources, consulting and traveling to Dutch and English speaking countries in the Caribbean. Her workshops focused on strategic planning, performance management and staff morale improvement.

When Sandra retired, her volunteer career began. She works with the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI), which focuses on sustainability and is an education and demonstration center for Barbados. CPRI’s purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment, aligning closely with TTFF’s mission.

While growing up in Jamaica, Sandra and Mary McLaughlin met as students attending St. Andrew’s High School for Girls. When they reconnected a few years ago, a new partnership was born. TTFF gained a tireless hero, and Sandra now drives to work with a huge smile on her face, doing something that makes her feel good every day! Thank you, Sandra!

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Dryer Design: Part 2

Here’s the next stage!Dryer Part 2

The solar dryer comprises four modules: the collector(s), lower cabinet, upper cabinet and roof. The collectors get warm in the sun, and warm air flows into the cabinet. The cabinet (lower portion) gathers the warm air from the collectors and directs it upwards. So, each of the heat collectors feeds into this lower portion, which is now mostly complete. The upper portion of the cabinet holds the shelves which carry the fruit. As warm air rises through the cabinet, it dries the fruit.dryer part 2 pic 2

The fourth module is the roof which protects against rain and augments t
he natural convection. The roof will hold a solar exhaust fan to transport moist air out, and so drying out the fruit. We think this solar dryer will work for breadfruit, mango, paw paw and other fruit, depending on the season. Stay tuned for our next dryer update!

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Dryer Design and Data

Mike Dryer Trees That Feed Foundation’s newest project: a solar dryer for breadfruit! Based on some great preliminary work through our partnership with Northwestern, we are getting a prototype ready for the Caribbean. Mike has been hard at work on this project, as you can see. Read an update from him below:

“Here is the first solar dryer component, the solar collector. This is a 4′ x 8′ corrugated metal sheet, painted black, within a wood frame, covered by an acrylic top. Solar energy at the earth’s surface is approximately 1 kW per sq. meter. This collector is roughly two square meters and the idea is to feed warm air into a cabinet dryer. The warm air will rise through the cabinet and dry out the shredded breadfruit, which sits on stainless steel mesh shelves. Dried breadfruit has a long shelf life (one year or more), so this process will help supply food year-round to people in Haiti, Jamaica and elsewhere. Solar test graph

Here is the actual data on the solar collector.Even in the cool Chicago spring, we raised the air temperature by over 25 degrees F and lowered relative humidity from 42% to 16%. That should dry out the fruit and preserve it nicely. And it should work even better in the hot tropical sunlight of Jamaica and Haiti! 

Next step … the cabinet and its ventilation. Stay tuned.”

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Teaming up with Sandals

Sandals launchThis past Earth Day marked the first step in an exciting new collaboration between Sandals Foundation and Trees That Feed Foundation! 

Under the lead of TTFF Barbados representative Sandra Myers, Sandals and TTFF joined together to provide food-bearing trees to three primary schools in Barbados: St. Lawrence Primary, Milton Lynch Primary and Christ Church Girls Primary. Over 20 Sandals volunteers joined Sandra to help with the event. This is the first step toward a launch of a school distribution program that will hopefully reach over 100 primary schools in Barbados.  

To learn more about the Earth Day event, click here. Stay tuned for exciting updates about this upcoming program!

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Trees That Feed Heroes: The Gordons

Gordons2This amazing couple leads the Jeffrey Town Famers Association (JTFA), a key partner of Trees That Feed Foundation’s. They have been dedicated to Jeffrey Town since moving back to Wordsworth’s hometown almost two decades ago.  Wordsworth, who is known as Joe, left Jamaica as a teenager after WWII. Along with thousands of other Jamaicans, he sought factory work in England.  While there, he met Ivy. Ivy grew up in England and was teaching home economics when she met Joe.

Today, Joe is JTFA President. He serves as JTFA’s leader and inspiration, focusing on organic farming and sustainability. Ivy Gordon recently retired from teaching food and nutrition, heading the home economics department at Guy’s Hill High School.  She began community development work in 1995 when she joined JTFA.  Currently she edits the Jeffrey Town Bulletin and writes blogs, grants, and books.  Ivy also leads workshops with farmers on a wide variety of environmental issues.

Located in rural northeastern Jamaica, the JTFA operates a community radio station 16 hours a day through volunteer efforts. JTFA’s mission is to harness all available assistance for community development using agriculture as the platform to sustainably develop human and physical resources. Jeffrey Town boasts solar powered systems, gabion basket retaining walls to combat soil erosion, an internet hot spot with free access and group chicken raising.  (AND they host the St. Mary Breadfruit Festival!)

Together, this dynamic team has made Jeffrey Town a model for community development.  They won the Michael Manley Award for Community Self-Reliance in 2006 and 2011, the award for best radio story at the CARDI/CTA Caribbean Media Awards 2012, and the United Nations Development Programme Equator Prize in 2014.  Our heroes, Joe and Ivy Gordon, go above and beyond!  Thank youfor planting trees and promoting breadfruit flour with TTFF!

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Clif Bar Fueling More Breadfruit Trees

Clif Bar LogoTrees That Feed Foundation is excited to be teaming up with Clif Bar Family Foundation this year! We recently received a grant from the organization to distribute more food-bearing trees throughout the Caribbean.

Clif Bar Family Foundation works to increase opportunities for outdoor activity, reduce environmental health hazards, build stronger communities, create a robust, healthy food system and protect Earth’s beauty and bounty. You can learn more about Clif Bar Family Foundation’s mission and priorities here.

With Clif Bar Family Foundation’s support, Trees That Feed Foundation will continue to provide sustainable food sources to communities that need them most. Stay tuned for more about what we accomplish together in 2015!

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New Video!

We are excited to share our new video with you! On National Philanthropy Day, Trees That Feed Foundation won a 2014 Philanthropy Award from Make It Better. As an award prize, a team of very talented people worked with us to create a new informational video about our organization.

Thank you, Make It Better, for honoring the work of Trees That Feed Foundation and helping us share our message. Click play below to watch the video. Enjoy!

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1,000 Cashew Trees for Haiti

Cashew Seeds Blog Post AAugust 13th, 2014. While our largest focus here at TTFF is on breadfruit, we also distribute trees of other varieties. Depending on climate and growing conditions, these varieties have included pomegranate, mango, lychee, guava, ackee – and now cashew!

The cashew is an important nut crop that provides food and employment to various nations. Through the generosity of TTFF supporters, we were able to send the first TTFF shipment of cashew seeds down to Haiti. They were delivered to Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), one of our partners, where the seeds were distributed to farmers amongst the organization. Timote Georges, SFA Co-founder, called this morning to report that the cashews are thriving with a 95% germination rate! Not only are resilient, fast-growing cashew trees ideal for the climate in Haiti, but they also provide economic opportunity for farmers and families. (The New York Times just featured a piece about the potential of cashews for juice – check it out here!) We can’t wait to see continued success with cashews in Haiti.

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Trees at The Source

Jordan ASeptember 11th, 2014. Trees That Feed Foundation has the privilege of working with individuals, communities, and organizations all over the world, all of whom share a common goal of improving the environment and alleviating hunger. Some of these individuals include Peace Corps volunteers, working on environmental causes. TTFF recently provided trees to Jordan Waldschmidt, a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica, for her community project. Meet and hear from her below!

“My name is Jordan Waldschmidt and I am serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland Jamaica. My position is with The Source, a community resource centre that aims at serving the people of four surrounding communities. As a green initiative volunteer, part of my role is to help The Source become more environmentally conscious. With my supervisor, we made the decision to create a community garden will serve The Source greatly. As a part of building the community garden, we decided to plant trees.

I found out about TTFF through a fellow volunteer, and the process of getting trees could not have been easier! I sent out an email asking for information, received a prompt email in response with the application, filled out the application, and then a week later I found out that eight trees were ready to be picked up in Spanish Town!A week later we launched the garden project and planted the trees, and everyone in the community came out to help. It was a great day, and I was told by many of the children that they really enjoyed planting the trees. Thank you, Trees That Feed! We can’t wait until the trees start growing and bearing fruit!”

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Trees That Feed Heroes: Cathy Henry

CathyMrs. Cathy Henry is spearheading Trees That Feed in Schools (TTFIS), the flagship partnership program between Trees That Feed Foundation and Rotary. Through TTFIS, Trees That Feed, Rotary and the Jamaican Government have come together to place food-bearing trees in Jamaica’s schools. Thousands of students across the island will have access to nutritious, sustainable food sources due to Cathy’s leadership and passion. We can’t thank you enough, Cathy!

Cathy was born in Winnipeg, Canada and is a member of St. Catherine’s South Rotary Club in Ontario. She spent her career as a nurse and is married to Dr. David Henry. They have two children and four grandchildren. Cathy lived in Jamaica for over five years and saw firsthand the island-wide poverty and hunger. Upon reflection of her own family’s blessings, Cathy wanted to assist those less fortunate. Rotary’s mandate of “Service Above Self” and presence in over 170 countries inspired Cathy to help build and lead the TTFIS program. Cathy travels throughout Jamaica and to various Rotary clubs in Southern Ontario to talk about breadfruit, meet new people, form partnerships and build awareness about the global scourge of hunger and poverty.

The program has grown to now have Rotary International on board. Cathy hopes that other Rotary Clubs worldwide will be able to learn from the TTFIS’ method of distributing food-bearing trees in Jamaica and will adapt the program to the needs of their respective countries. The TTFIS program and Cathy’s influence is teaching all of us how a simple, inexpensive tree can grow to form a sustainable way of alleviating hunger and poverty worldwide. Thank you again, Cathy, for all that you are doing!
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