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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One of Our Heroes: Dennis Holyn


Meet Dennis Holyn.  Dennis lives in the Chicago area, was educated in Canada, but is from Jamaica originally.  He’s had a successful career as a sales executive in the tourism industry, mortgage banking and healthcare.  He finds time from his busy schedule to volunteer for Trees That Feed Foundation.   He is not only full of ideas, but he is also a man of action.  We had a big trip to Jamaica in January and Dennis coordinated all the logistics, including pre-planning trips to breadfruit orchards, government offices and meeting arrangements.  He is married, has two children and cares for his elderly mother.  Thanks for all the hard work, Dennis!


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Trees That Feed is Branching Out!

Branching!  Get it? We’re excited to report that Trees That Feed Foundation now has excellent partners in Africa, folks we know and trust and can work with effectively and efficiently.  So we’re extending our reach.  Last week, working with our suppliers in Germany, we shipped 750 breadfruit trees by air to Nairobi, Kenya. They were successfully cleared through customs and quarantine, and are being held now in a shade house.  There they will strengthen and grow for a few weeks, and later be moved out to farms.  They are destined for suitable locations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and perhaps points beyond.

The photo shows young breadfruit seedlings that have been replanted into grow bags, where they will sit for a few weeks.

This photo shows local ladies in Kenya, delighted to be receiving tree saplings.

Joe Mataro and his team from Grace Project worked hard to get this accomplished, from import permits to replanting in the right size grow bags.  Thanks, Joe, for all the hard work involved!

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TTFF is pleased to release our 2017 Annual Report …

There’s a lot to read about!   Follow this link to learn more about our recent activities, including building the market chain for fruit.  We are helping to propagate and plant trees, care for them including pruning, reaping and selling the fruit, and producing retail post-harvest products!  You’ll also read about our coloring books, recipes, and financial results.

Thanks go out to so many of you who have provided the support that makes our work possible.

Thanks also go to Greg Eckel, who created this very professional document for us.

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Konparet, a tasty, healthy Haitian bun …


Konparets fresh out of the oven

And it’s even better when made with breadfruit flour!  It’s most popular in Jeremie and now is spreading all over Haiti.  Jeremie is located near the end of Haiti’s southern peninsula.  It was an active port for ships trading goods around the Caribbean and North America.  In the days before refrigeration, ships needed foods that remained good to eat over long voyages.   Konparets are tasty when fresh and still tasty days, weeks and even months later.  They are inexpensive and form a staple part of the local diet.

Konparets fresh out of the oven on cooling racks

Heartline Bakery in Port au Prince

There are various different recipes for Konparets, with each bakery keeping its formula a secret.  But the main ingredients are well known, namely flour, ginger, vanilla, grated coconut, and locally producted butter or lard. No eggs!  Now, with a steady supply of breadfruit flour to be blended into the recipe, we have reports from Pierre-moise Louis that customers prefer this new taste!

Trees That Feed Foundation is working with Pierre-moise, Charlotin Frednaud, Ruth Portnoff and others, to popularize Konparet and to promote blending in breadfruit flour for special appeal.  Soon bakeries all around Haiti will be selling Konparets! TTFF predicts success for the product and better nutrition all around Haiti.

Read more, in an interesting article by Bette Gebrian Magloire, PhD …

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TTFF wraps up a successful 2017 with a visit to Haiti

Attentive audience at TTFF Breadfruit Conference

In December, Trees That Feed co-founders Mary and Mike McLaughlin traveled to Haiti. They held a conference to share knowledge about breadfruit trees, their planting, care, reaping, and more.  There was an excellent discussion about how to start and manage a small business.  TTFF wants to help Haitians to operate successful, profitable small businesses such as tree nurseries and creating breadfruit products.  Businesses like that create jobs and diminish dependency on outside charity.

Other conference sessions included sharing of successful production techniques by Pierre-moise Louis, of Jeremie Breadfruit, and Charlotin Frednaud, GAPL.

Following the conference a small group took a field trip to a local bakery, where they are making new products using breadfruit flour.  One very successful product is the Konparet, a small bun, delicious and with a long shelf life.    Another tasty product is the Haitian “patie,” a tasty crusted turnover filled with either vegetables or meat.  And the supply of breadfruit flour (now half a ton monthly) is steadily increasing.

Entrepreneurs from Montrouis, Trou du Nord and Jeremie

We owe thanks to the Hotel Montana for hosting us.  Pictured outside the hotel are (L to R) Mike, Mary, James, Charlotin, Pierre-moise and Ruth our Haitian country representative.  These three young entrepreneurs represent the future of Haiti as a country becoming self sufficient in food production.

Mary and Mike also traveled to Jacmel, a town on the south coast of Haiti.  In past days Jacmel was a desirable tourist location and shipping port.  Many of the old buildings remain, including a poetry staircase!

Mike McLaughlin in Jacmel 2017

M&M visited the Good Samaritan school in Jacmel, where TTFF has been providing 100 pounds of breadfruit flour each month, enough for over 1,000 meals. We also provided coloring books with pictures showing the benefits of planting fruit trees, with descriptive text in Haitian Creole (as well as French and English).  The students show off their work quite proudly.

Mary and Mike held a number of other very productive meetings that will expand and extend our work in Haiti.  We will be providing equipment to one group, Women & Children’s Hope; 1,000 fruit tree saplings to a French group near Jacmel; and we will be working with Food for the Poor to boost their development programs.

Cheerful young student at Good Samaritan School, Jacmel

Trees That Feed Foundation wants to thank all our donors for making this work possible.  Through your generosity, thousands of fruit trees have been planted, helping to reforest the country as well as provide meals.  TTFF has also supplied equipment and training, to help launch small businesses.  Haitians are honest, hardworking people–we’re helping to provide them with knowledge and opportunity.

All this happens through the generosity of people like you!

Thank You for a Successful Year!

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2,500 Coloring Books to Jamaican Schools

Trees That Feed Foundation (TTFF) has distributed 2,500 educational coloring books to schoolchildren in Jamaica.  Each 40 page book, titled Plant a Tree and Good Things Happen has sections focusing on the benefits of having fruit trees, including nutritious food, shade, carbon sequestration, soil retention and an improved local economy. As the children color each page they learn that good things can happen for the air, rivers, soil, birds, animals, and of course people and their jobs.

Trees That Feed Foundation is working in partnership with Do Good Jamaica, Dan Malone with the Peace Corps Jamaica, Paul Issa of The Issa Foundation, and BREDS/Jakes in Treasure Beach. Each leading partner will distribute the books to several schools in their local communities.  A teacher’s guide accompanies each set of books.

The book is designed by the educational arm of Trees That Feed Foundation.  Thanks go to Judy Osgood, Nancy Kurz and Gabriel Osson.  It is most suitable for ages 5 to 10.  Even adults will find it fun working with children and discussing the lessons on each page.  “Over time generations of schoolchildren will appreciate the value of fruit trees to the environment and the economy,” said Mary McLaughlin, co-founder of TTFF.

A Kreyol version is distributed in Haiti and a Spanish version is currently being developed.

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Cooking Schools Popularize Breadfruit Flour in Haiti

Fresh breadfruit is known and loved across Haiti.  But breadfruit flour is relatively a new idea.  It’s a great ingredient, nutritious and gluten free.  Soon we think it will be a part of mainstream culinary habits in Haiti.  To that end, Trees That Feed Foundation is holding a series of cooking schools all across Haiti.

In the North, Charlotin Frednaud produces high quality flour made from breadfruit.  It’s being distributed to over 20 schools in the area, who serve it as a hot breakfast porridge for their young students. In addition Charlotin is promoting wider, more varied used of the flour.  Together we’re finding creative new recipes to tempt the palate as well as provide good nutrition!

To do this we’re holding cooking schools, in and around Trou du Nord, Haiti. TTFF supplies the ingredients and underwrites the teaching costs.  Charlotin organizes the teachers, who are local chefs who have learned and practiced with various breadfruit flour recipes. They pass along their skills to the other student chefs and bakers. Over 200 people have already participated in these schools.

In Port au Prince, big thanks go to Ruth Portnoff, who has energetically organized several cooking schools. Working with local chefs, we have developed recipes for an instant Fritay mix, and other delicious foods. Fritay, a Haitian fried dumpling, is a staple street and kitchen food.

In the West, Pierre-moise Louis, from Jeremie Breadfruit, is making konparets, a kind of Haitian biscotti. By using local foods, adapted as appropriate, we are gaining rapid acceptance of breadfruit flour as an ingredient.

This approach feeds more people with nutritious, tasty dishes, and sets the stage for an active local marketplace in breadfruit flour. Everyone benefits, from the farmer, to the processor, the distributor, the chefs and the ultimate taster!

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