A New Kind of Tree for the Holidays!

TreePicPostOnly one week left until Christmas! Still working on your holiday list? We have the perfect gift for your loved ones: a breadfruit tree.

One breadfruit tree is just $15 and can provide food for an entire family for decades.

By providing a breadfruit tree to a family, you are not just providing a meal or two; you are providing the means for a family to secure food for themselves for years to come.

Gift a tree in honor of your family and friends this holiday season while helping to ensure families around the globe have the nourishment they need to grow and be healthy. With each gift, TTFF can send you a gift card or electronic message for your loved one.

We hope you will join us in making the season a little more meaningful this year!

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Diversification for a Food-secure Future

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. Nyree Zerega, a TTFF board member, recently published an article about diversifying food using underutilized crops, particularly noting the importance of alleviating our reliance on wheat, corn and rice to achieve global food security.

Although the world has cultivated over 10,000 plant species for food,we rely on about 90 plant crops (fewer than 1 percent of potential crops) for 90 percent of our diet. And for nearly 60 percent of food needs, the world relies on wheat, rice and corn. This reliance distances us from reaching global food security. Why? Being reliant on so few crops “increases our vulnerability to crop failures due to disease, drought or other predictable stresses that can lead to famine. Additionally, many major crops require tremendous energy input…With more than 1 billion people suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition and considered food insecure, alternatives are needed.”

One of these alternatives includes breadfruit! “Breadfruit yield and nutrition statistics rival those of wheat and corn, and the trees are traditionally grown in multicrop agroforestry systems, which help prevent soil erosion and provide a complex habitat that can support a wider variety of wildlife and sequester more carbon than modern agricultural systems. Perhaps most compelling is thatbreadfruit can grow in parts of the world where food and economic insecurity are the highest, including Haiti, Liberia and Ghana.”

Check out the rest of the article here.

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Yvonne’s First Breadfruit Tree

Yvonne2Thanks to the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, a key partner and supporter of Trees That Feed Foundation, Yvonne has just planted her first breadfruit tree.

Yvonne is a member of theSmallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) in Haiti, a Haitian-led organization of over 2,000 smallholder farmers. SFA is also a key partner of ours, and it’s through their hard work and the support of the Breadfruit Institute that over 1,000 breadfruit trees are being distributed from Trees That Feed amongst farmers in their network. These breadfruit trees provide sustainable food sources for the community and lessen dependence on food imports. Thanks again to our amazing partners!

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Make It Better 2014 Philanthropy Award

MakeItBetterAwardTrees That Feed is thrilled to be a recipient of one of Make It Better’s 2014 Philanthropy Awards! Winners were recognized in six award categories: education, athletics, social service, environment, social justice and audience choice.

On Friday, National Philanthropy Day, Make It Better notified winners with surprise office visits. We happily welcomed the Make It Better team into our office with the exciting news that Trees That Feed won for the environment category. Trees That Feed has distributed over 60,000 fruit-bearing trees around the world to improve the environment and alleviate hunger. Thank you, Make It Better, for the recognition and honor!


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Trees That Feed Heroes: Mr. Locksley Waites

RandiAfiaLocksleyCathy2014Mr. Locksley Waites has distributed more than 6,000 treesfor Trees That Feed Foundation!  He is the project coordinator and tree crop agronomist for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Jamaica. Pictured here on the far left, with TTFF board member Cathy Lyn and University of Minnesota students Randi De Mel and Afia Adaboh, Mr. Waites is on a quest to plant fruit trees that reap economic benefits to individuals as well as his country. 

RADA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries started working together in 2000 to assist farmers in Jamaica with planting fruit trees, with RADA serving as the implementing agency. Trees distributed from this alliance feed people and provide an export market, while also helping with soil conservation.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Mr. Waites has four sons. He has partnered with TTFF from the very beginning in December 2009.  Mr. Waites has been invaluable orchestrating tree distributions in Jamaica and coordinating the people who make it all work. Thank you, Locksley!
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TIME for Breadfruit

SFA farmer getting trees AWe are excited to see breadfruit highlighted in TIME this week!Check out the article here, if you haven’t already. Josh Schonwald introduces readers to three superfoods, largely unknown in the U.S., that may just become the next big thing. Breadfruit, of course, is one. 

But what exactly is a superfood? Real superfoods possess “super-traits.” A superfood can be “high in protein, low in fat, gluten-free, loaded with omega-3s, bursting with antioxidants and overflowing with folate, fiber and phytonutrients.”
Breadfruit, as we know, is a “nutritional powerhouse…with more potassium in one cup than three bananas,” and it can help alleviate hunger for millions worldwide. Breadfruit is loaded with fiber, calcium, phosphorous, copper and other essential nutrients. Some cultivars even have high levels of beta-carotene, which makes breadfruit “a promising weapon against vitamin A deficiency, the leading cause of blindness in children.”
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Trees That Feed Heroes: Mr. Joseph Johnson

Mr. Joseph Johnson AMr. Joseph Johnson is an academically trained agronomist who understands breadfruit cultivars and knows the best varieties to plant. He owns and operates Eltham Gardens Plant Nursery in St. Catherine, Jamaica, and serves as Chief Plant Propagation Specialist with the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture at Bodles Research Station. TTFF secures a variety of fruit trees, including breadfruit, mango, avocado, pomegranate and cashew, from Mr. Johnson’s nursery.

In 2014, Joseph cultivated and shipped over 1,000 pomegranate plants to Haiti and handled all aspects of transport. He also just recently shipped 1,000 cashew seeds from Jamaica to Haiti.

Our hero is an innovator! Using his expertise, Joseph is working on a new way of grafting so that original roots will produce better plants. He is focusing on the June Plum, which has excellent juice. (One may argue that this juice could easily replace orange juice.)  Another one of his projects includes developing a new way of air grafting pimento (allspice).

Mr. Joseph Johnson always gets our trees to the right people, and he makes sure that they are planted properly. He is a perfect TTFF partner, hero and friend! Thank you, Joseph, for all of your help and wise advice.

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Breadfruit Boost for Schools

Paul speaking ATrees That Feed Foundation isexcited to announce the launch of our school-feeding program, Trees That Feed in Schools, an initiative built in partnership with the Jamaican Government and Rotary!

The program kicked off last Friday at Ocho Rios High School in Jamaica.Thousands of breadfruit trees will be distributed to schools islandwide over the coming months to help fight hunger and boost feeding programs for students.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, hails the program:

“Planting trees is healthy for the environment and is a positive contribution to future generations. In addition, the planting of breadfruit trees, in particular, has the benefit of increasing food supplies for the Jamaican population while promoting national food security,” he noted.

Read more about the new initiative here.

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Trees That Feed Heroes: Mr. Eric Helgemo

Eric AAugust 27th, 2014. Eric Helgemo is not only a crucial partner of Trees That Feed Foundation’s, but also a true hero of ours. Eric is the President of Three Angels Children’s Relief, a non-profit organization working to help orphans and at-risk families in Haiti by providing both education and care.

Eric grew up in California and has had many careers, including construction worker and sheriff. He fell in love with Christine, and when they married, Eric joined his father-in-law’s nursery business.He became a master nurseryman and managed one of the largest nurseries in California.

When TTFF held its first meeting to discuss expanding into Haiti, Eric flew in to join us in Illinois. This superhero is a man of action! His resourcefulness and resolve are an inspiration. In 2009, Eric had volunteered to fly to Haiti to deliver Christmas gifts that his church had collected for the children of Three Angels. While there, he was concerned that they had no disaster preparation, so he created a plan and conducted drills with the children to teach them what to do in an emergency. When the earthquake hit Haiti only a few weeks later on January 12, 2010, these children were prepared. Although much of their building collapsed, all of the children were safe.

In November 2011, Eric, Christine, and their three children moved to Haiti for a three-month stay to oversee some projects. They ended up staying, initially with a two-year commitment, and are currently homeowners still working tirelessly to improve lives and land in Haiti.

Eric and his team at Three Angels have a three-acre plot in Port au Prince that was fallow (plowed and harrowed, but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation). Once he heard about our work, he encouraged Three Angels to convert this property into a farm and plant nursery. TTFF provides the young trees, and Eric and his team grow the plants until they are robust enough to be distributed. We work together to provide trees to highest need communities in Haiti.

A problem-solver with a huge heart, Eric Helgemo is our hero. Thank you, Eric!

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Jamaica Research Project Completed!

September 1, 2014. Randi de Mel and Afia Adaboh, two graduate students from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, recently completed their TTFF summer research work in Jamaica. Randi and Afia spent six weeks investigating and reporting on the breadfruit production value chain and measuring the survival rate of TTFF breadfruit trees. Their final report will be available shortly.

Below is a map of breadfruit plantations in Jamaica visited by the research team.Click on any dot to learn more about farmers and processors who are caring for TTFF breadfruit trees. This map will grow to be a tool to help support farmers and develop markets. Based on the team’s work, breadfruit continues to prove itself in being a valuable supplement to food production in Jamaica. Recommendations from the conclusion of the project include increasing the formation of co-operatives to bring critical mass to breadfruit production. Interestingly, the team found the highest breadfruit tree survival rates among organic farming methods!

We are looking forward to Randi and Afia’s presentation about this TTFF project atColumbia University’s 2014 International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice in New York City on September 17th. Thanks again, Randi and Afia, for all that you have done to help propel TTFF’s mission!


View larger map

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