Delicious dried mangoes from Haiti

Congratulations to the team from Beehive Wood Shop Classroom!  That includes Augustane Mexny, Jonathan Euler and Roger Gietzen of Global Freedom Project.  They built a solar dryer to TTFF specifications and are now in full production of dried mangoes!  They are in a remote part of Haiti in the Central Plateau.  The community sometimes has trouble accessing enough food.  Dried fruit like these mangoes produced locally have a long shelf life and retain all the nutrition of the fresh fruit.  This project is a real boon to the community.

We usually talk about breadfruit but as our name suggests, we are happy to help to plant almost any variety of fruit producing trees. We look for whatever type of tree suits the local climate and community’s needs.

Mango trees are a great choice in many places because they tend to be hardy, drought tolerant and very bountiful in production.  There are hundreds of varieties but the local Haitian mango (Madame Francine) is abundant, tasty, nutritious and best of all grows true to seed.  (Many fruit trees have to be grafted or are very difficult to propagate.)

Of course this solar dryer will be used for other fruit when fresh mangoes are no longer in season.

Congratulations and good luck to the community.

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Successful Cooking School in Pignon, Haiti

The town of Pignon in Haiti is located in the central plateau region.  The nearest large towns are Hinche and Mirebalais.  Our working partner Roger Gietzen has been assisting folks in this town for two years.   They have access to breadfruit but it’s been underutilized.  Roger suggested we organize a one-day cooking school.

We contacted our friends at Effort Vision to supply a batch of breadfruit flour.  John Ashford and his wife Dawn have been working in the nearby town of Montrouis for several years.  TTFF helped them to establish a breadfruit flour factory and they’ve become quite successful producing and selling products locally.  John agreed to provide the flour and transportation for attendees to the school.

Everything was set for April 20.  The truck was fixed just in time and all arrangements were in place.  Our instructor was James Charles, who runs Effort Vision operations under the leadership of Pastor Emmanus, who we have mentioned before.   James is a good guy who received training from TTFF and is now passing on his knowledge to others.

On the big day the crowd of approximately 40 people hiked down a mountain trail.  The fire was stoked and equipment was set up.  The batter commenced to being stirred!  Everyone paid close attention to the demonstrations and the various recipes.  You can see from the pictures.   Graduation consisted of sampling the tasty treats!

Cooking school staff

Big thanks to Roger, John, Dawn, James, Pastor Emmanus and all who helped.  TTFF assisted with funding and organizing.

This is a great example of how to help Haiti. We at TTFF help them to get started with a factory, getting organized, showing the way.  But then we want Haitians to help Haiti.  We’re delighted at the success of this cooking school.   And it’s also a great example of how partnering should work.  Trees That Feed and two other organizations collaborated generously to everyone’s success.

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Breadfruit to East Africa

Ecstatic we are to report our second shipment of trees has arrived safely.  They flew into Nairobi, Kenya, courtesy of Cultivaris in Germany and National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.   With a little help from Trees That Feed Foundation too, of course!  After being cleared at the airport they are hardened in a nursery then shipped out to point beyond, including farmers in Uganda and Tanzania.  The photo shows a happy group of students and teachers at Chang’Ombe Secondary School in Tanzania. 

It’s quite a team that gets credit for this success.  Joseph Matara of Grace Project in Kenya took the first steps.  Mary Kibai in Kenya was caretaker of the trees. She transported them from Nairobi to Mombasa.  Nick deKoning drove through the night to transport trees to Jinja, Uganda.

Mary drove the trees into Tanzania, but they had to be bare rooted first, because soil can’t be transported across borders.  With instructions from Joseph Johnson in Jamaica, Saimon Mollel carefully nursed these young saplings back to life.   The second picture shows those first few green shoots after these little trees had been on an 8 day journey.  Hooray!

Other people too numerous to mention have also contributed to this successful project.  Many farmers, workers, volunteers, teachers, students, have worked together as a team.   These nearly 3,000 breadfruit trees will bear fruit within 3 to 4 years and contribute to feeding tens of thousands of nutritious meals to students in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

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Here’s what we’ve done in 2018 …

Trees That Feed Foundation 2018 Achievements

Here’s what we’ve done in 2018!

… thanks to you and your support!  It’s a lot in just one year.  Your donations, your volunteer efforts, have all helped.  You’ve been talking about us, spreading our news, and “liking” our social media.  Thanks!  Word of mouth is our best advertising.  As the word spreads, more people will become aware of the benefits of planting trees, especially fruit trees, and will start to take action!  We get by with a little help from our friends!

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3,000 Breadfruit trees go to St. Croix, US VI

Agricultural Fair, St. Croix, USVI, September 2018

As TTFF spreads our branches … er … wings … we’ve now sent 3,000 donated breadfruit trees to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.  We owe a huge vote of thanks to Ken Banks and Nate Olive, for getting this to happen.  And thanks to an anonymous donor too.  They worked together and took care of all the permits, inspections, shipping, clearing, transportation and re-potting, all the details for a successful transfer.

Ken Banks, now the newest member of the board of Trees That Feed Foundation, led a number of events.  He participated in their agricultural fair, and distributed over 900 of these trees to individuals, in one day!  The rest are allocated to various farms on the island, as coordinated by Nate.

Some of the 3,000 tiny breadfruit saplings shipped to St. Croix

Then there was a “slow dinner” at which various breadfruit dishes were served.  Some of the new recipes included tortillas, chaya fritters, breadfruit dumplings in grouper broth … and last but not least … breadfruit vodka, by Chef Todd Manley.  There are a few photos, below.   The potential for breadfruit, fresh or transformed into some kind of delicacy, is bright in St. Croix.

Breadfruit tortilla with green mango and papaya slaw

The people that made it happen! L to R, W Louis Hilgeman, Ken Banks, Sommer Sibily, Forest Stewarship Coordinator, US VI, Nate Olive, and Chef Andy Thaldorf, proudly wearing his TTFF apron!

Before we forget, Ken also transported various components of the TTFF “Factory in a Box.”  The shredder and grinding mill will allow fresh breadfruit to be processed into a nutritious, gluten-free flour with a long shelf life.


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Solar Dryer Engineering Drawings Ready!

Hybrid solar dryer engineering drawing

Hybrid solar dryer engineering drawing

Thanks to Northwestern University’s Engineering School, Dr. Stacy Benjamin, and Allison O’Donnell, we now have detailed engineering drawings completed!  These are available to anyone who want to consider construction of their own solar dryer.  Remember, it’s suitable for dehydrating breadfruit or really any other fruit, to preserve them for later consumption.  The dryer can also rely on a small propane heater, for those cloudy days when solar heat along isn’t sufficient.

We have drawings plus extensive detailed spec sheets.  Click here for a preview.   Contact us for more information.

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Mary featured on WGN-TV

Steve Sanders, popular host of WGN TV’s Midday News, invited Mary to talk about Trees That Feed Foundation.  The idea is to spread the word about TTFF’s work, and also encourage support for all organizations doing this kind of work, namely planting fruit trees, creating jobs and benefiting the environment.

This segment aired live today, August 27, 2018.  In five minutes Mary hit all the high points that viewers might be interested in–planting trees, helping entrepreneurs, feeding schoolchildren, and more.  WGN has a large viewership so this feature will really help to get the word out.  Follow this link to hear the entire segment.  Thanks go to Steve and the highly efficient staff at WGN TV.

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Solar dryer is in operation!

Trees That Feed co-founder Mike McLaughlin is a Physics major (BSc, University of the West Indies). He designed this hybrid solar dryer, to dehydrate fresh fruit and preserve it with a long shelf life.  The first live prototype in Jamaica is now in operation at Sydney Pagon High School, in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.  This project was funded jointly by TTFF and Rotary Clubs in Canada.

In this design air flows in through three solar collectors painted black and covered in plastic.  The air warms over the hot collectors and flows into the cabinet. Shelves inside hold the fresh fruit, sliced or shredded for quicker dehydration. A solar fan on the roof pulls the moist air up and away.  A full load of fresh fruit can be dried in 4 to 6 hours!

Learn more:  click here to watch a 30 second video explaining more details.

Hybrid Solar Dryer, Schematic

This schematic sketch is being converted into high quality engineering drawings by Northwestern University’s Engineering School.  And remember we have a complete detailed descriptive paper on the design and testing.  Click here to learn more.



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Trees That Feed featured on NPR

Mary McLaughlin was interviewed recently by Jerome McDonnell on “World View” on his Global Activism segment on National Public Radio.   Mary talked about Trees That Feed activities and accomplishments.  She sounded like a pro!   Click here to go to WBEZ’s Worldview page, to listen to the full interview!

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Another one of our Heroes: Ken Banks

Ken is Manager of Marine Resources Programs for the Broward County Florida Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division.  He has vast knowledge about coral reefs, manatee conservation and marine ecosystems.  He’s also passionate about growing plants and trees.  His backyard in Southeast Florida is a horticultural collection!  And he’s been a charter boat captain, an engineer, and a marine geologist.  He is also a passionate volunteer for Trees That Feed Foundation and he brings his storehouse of knowledge to our benefit.  He’s energetic, helped us deliver breadfruit trees to the Bahamas and US Virgin Islands, and located key research for us.  For the last three years he’s hosted our booth at the Fairchild Gardens Mango Festival.   He’s quite the hero.


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