Hunger remains a critical and far-reaching concern, casting a shadow over the lives of 828 million people worldwide in 2021. Alarmingly, by the year 2030, an estimated 8% of the global population, or roughly 670 million individuals, will continue to grapple with food insecurity. This crisis strikes particularly hard in Africa, where harsh growing conditions, conflict, and limited access to social services combine to leave one in five people chronically hungry. The direst conditions are witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa, where a staggering 146 million people are ensnared by acute hunger.
Furthermore, poverty maintains an unyielding grip on farming communities, particularly in Africa, where a staggering 70% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, yet 40% of this very population grapples with the hardships of living below the poverty line.
Trees for the Future (TREES) stands at the forefront of a mission that empowers farmers to reshape the landscape of agriculture through sustainable practices and the cultivation of productive lands. At the heart of their endeavor lies a steadfast commitment to achieving SDG 2: Zero Hunger, which aims to end hunger, enhance food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Recognizing the pivotal role that food systems play in exacerbating environmental crises and yet serving as the bedrock for humanity's most fundamental needs, TREES has shouldered the responsibility of finding sustainable solutions. Their innovative Forest Garden Approach, a proven methodology, demonstrates that farmers can harmonize with the land to restore and protect it, while simultaneously enhancing food production beyond what conventional agricultural methods can achieve. Crucially, this approach also serves as a bulwark against the impacts of climate change.
TREES goes beyond ensuring that farmers have more to eat; it ensures they have more to sell. Farmers typically cultivate just one or two crops when they enter the program. However, upon graduation, they're proficiently growing an average of 16 crops in their Forest Gardens, effectively doubling their income through produce sales alone. Empowered by increased income, farmers diversify their revenue streams, venturing into endeavors such as honey businesses, organic fertilizers, fodder sales, and even restaurants, all nurtured by Forest Garden farmers within the program.
At least 30% of program participants at TREES are women. The organization actively fosters opportunities for female farmers, often underrepresented in the industry. As they progress through the program, women emerge as leaders in their communities and the sustainable agriculture movement. Their children, benefiting from higher incomes, gain access to enhanced educational opportunities, including university.
The impact of TREES' Forest Garden Approach transcends these environmental benefits. It synergizes seamlessly with several SDGs, notably SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 13: Climate Action, and SDG 15: Life on Land. With over 40,000 farmers across sub-Saharan Africa trained in this approach, TREES is not only breaking the cycle of land degradation but also rekindling a harmonious relationship between food systems and the environment.
Youtube credits: @TreesForTheFuture
More information: trees.org