Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) believes that one can make a difference. FTFA’s founder, Jeunesse Park, is an example of just one person, making a huge difference. Thinking ahead of her time, Park started FTFA in 1990 as South Africa’s first, and only, social enterprise realising sustainable development through greening, climate change action, sustainable natural resource management and permaculture food security programmes. In the 22 years since, FTFA has distributed over 4.1 million trees, facilitated the creation of thousands of organic food gardens, bamboo bioenergy plantations and some sustainable farms for the poorest, and launched the first carbon calculator (and mobile phone calculator), the Climate Hero Awards Africa and the Carbon Protocol in South Africa.
FTFA’s objectives are:
- To contribute to greening, climate change action, sustainable natural resource management and food security;
- To create awareness of the benefits of environmental improvement activities amongst all communities of southern Africa;
- To contribute to wealth creation, sustainable development, enhanced environments, capacity building and skills development.
Working in partnership, and with the support, endorsement and cooperation of government, the private and public sectors, aid agencies, organisations, media and individuals to achieve these aims, FTFA implements six programmes: Trees for All, Trees for Homes and Bamboo for Africa (the last two registered under the Carbon Protocol of South Africa and internationally as Verified Emission Reductions through the Verified Carbon Standard), Food Gardens for Africa, EduPlant and Farmer Eco Enterprise Development (FEED), each with various projects.
These programmes and projects lead to healthier lives for impoverished communities, more sustainable green environments and increased awareness of our impact on the planet and the need to address this. For a complete list of FTFA’s history, development partners, board members, patrons, employees, projects, products, media, financial statements and more, please refer to the award winning website, www.trees.co.za and mobi site, mytrees.mobi.
The challenges facing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) today are measurably greater than in previous years, despite the fact that they provide essential services to an ever growing number of desperate people. NGOs such as FTFA, which addresses issues of food insecurity and climate vulnerability, fill a void between slow moving bureaucratic governments and the growing population of refugees, homeless, hungry, abused and destitute. This is set to become ever more pronounced as the effects of climate change on the poorest, especially here in Africa, worsens.
Because the response time is often faster, more localised and most especially sustianable in the long term, FTFA helps to play a vital role in assisting thousands of people to feed themselves and their families, while teaching skills that uplift, upscale and empower those previously disadvantaged.
This is relevant to all our programmes but can be upscaled to impact an even larger area through our Bamboo for Africa and FEED African programmes, both of which offer enterprise development (ED). FEED offers immediate ED as emerging organic farmers are taught to develop the land, plant, harvest and sell produce. ED benefits for these emerging farmers are enhanced over time as they learn to process and distribute produce to market, run packhouses and more. Bamboo for Africa includes not only the planting skills at the outset but infrastructure development skills as well.
These programmes not only provide fundamental business and agricultural skills, but livelihood development as well. In a country with gross unemployment, increasing food insecurity and vast degraded environments, this form of enterprise development is vital.
With the global economic downturn and corporate social investment (CSI) funding drying up, NGOs have to offer an alluring package to the public and private sector, and FTFA is no different.
FTFA is ideally placed to provide immediate measureable benefit to communities. With our 22 years behind us, there is a wealth of experience on hand, passionate individuals, tried and tested formulas, a recognised brand, and a history of creating sustainable community projects with adherence to budgets and reporting schedules.
Whether it be through planting trees, bamboo, food gardens or mentoring aspiring farmers, we tackle the issues faced head on. FTFA is working for the people and the planet, and always with the knowledge that one can, and does, make a difference.
For more about Food & Tress for Africa, refer to www.trees.co.za.