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  • Writer's pictureiMa James

Transforming Degraded Land Into Forest Gardens

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Here is the transcript for this video blog if you prefer to read:

The 25¢ per tree planting option plants trees in Forest Gardens in Africa, converting desertified and barren lands into lush food oasis’s. The top-rated nonprofit Trees for the Future works with farmers whose land is so depleted that it can only be farmed with intensive inputs, and which produces tiny yields. The farmers volunteer for a 4-year Master Forest Gardener training program, where they receive seed and education for how to restore their land to fully functioning ecosystems that meet all of their needs while enriching the Earth and increasing their income by up to 500% within 4 years.

They start by planting a perimeter of 2,000 fast growing multi-purpose trees, around an average of a 2 acre piece of land. The seedlings are grown in nurseries and are planted in the beginning of the rainy season, growing up to 15 feet in one year and rebooting the life in the soil while creating a living fence around the property. By the following year, the soil has improved so much that they're able to start planting fruit and nut trees, and soon after, they're able to inter-crop rows of vegetables. The Forest Gardens become self-sustaining systems that feed these farmers and give them abundant produce to take to the market.

The farmers then collect seeds and teach their neighbors how to recreate the system on their land. When enough land is restored, rainwater is able to soak down into the Earth through the healthy soil and channels created by the tree roots, recharging the water table and bringing back rivers and streams. Forest gardens restore functioning ecosystems, pulling an amazing amount of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere while bringing fresh water down into the water table and enabling these hardworking farmers to grow themselves out of poverty.

The majority of Africa was once covered in diverse jungles that were cleared for agriculture. But without the protection and natural cycles of the functioning ecosystems, the topsoil lost its fertility quickly and the land has degraded into desert. Forest Gardens are a great example of how forestry and food production can work together harmoniously. How land can be quickly returned to functioning natural systems. How people could restore their land and livelihoods instead of having to migrate, and how we can feed the world using natural systems that are low tech, low input, and therefore extremely resilient and dependable long term.

At 25¢ per tree, it only costs $8 per month to plant a tree every day in Forest Gardens. You can also make one-time donations of any amount. Visit the home page to start supporting these amazing projects that are healing the earth, changing lives, and building a better future.

Trees Are Awesome is volunteer run with 100% of your donation going directly to the planting project of your choice. Visit the home page to start planting trees today.

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