Trees for the Future Participates in “Cracking the Nut 2018”

Trees for the Future (TREES) participated in this year’s Cracking the Nut Conference in Antigua, Guatemala. This two-day conference, held on June 12-13, 2018, offered three themes of discussion to participants in attendance from around the world. Trees for the Future presented under the Promoting Sustainable Resource Use and Poverty Reduction theme with their presentation entitled “How Forest Gardens Achieve Zero Hunger and Triple-Bottom-Line Resilience.” Other themes in the conference included “Introducing Technologies in Support of Climate Resilience” and “Using Digital Platforms to Facilitate Agricultural Knowledge and Finance.”

Speakers Ashleigh Burgess and Michael Carson led their discussion on the Forest
Garden Approach (FGA) to touch on its many short-term and long-term benefits. With a
focus on the parallel advantages created for smallholder farmers and the environment, the
Forest Garden Approach improves the livelihoods of vulnerable populations through
the combination of environmental sustainability and optimization of land use
while mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing the population’s carbon
footprint.

This session highlighted the non-profit’s facilitation of agroforestry and sustainable farming
practices in the FGA to fight deforestation while improving the food security, dietary diversity, and resilience of households in the program. Following a reflection on the success observed from 14 projects in 6 countries, TREES led a hands-on activity to elaborate on what is taken into account when designing a Forest Garden, as well as the challenges experienced and solutions found through the FGA.

Additionally, TREES demonstrated how they apply agroforestry concepts to create a
conscientious farming model with an interactive mapping activity. This activity took
into account variables that often drive the FGA, such as group dynamics, geography,
and agricultural experience. With this in mind, meeting a triple bottom line of positive
environmental, social, and economic impact can be achieved quickly following the
introduction of this ecological farming model. With this model farmers are able to produce
what they need for their families, their livestock, and local markets- all while helping
to restore ecosystem services, biodiversity, and soil health.

The session ended with a reflection of the success of the Forest Garden Approach and program implementation through Trees for the Future over the years, as well as discussion of the future of this farming model. By including new “nuts to crack” such as water funding, microfinance, and dispersing the FGA through TREES’ online training center, the presentation ended with a rich discussion of how other organizations may implement this approach. With a quick look at the mobile collection of impact data, climate-smart agriculture methods, Integrated Pest Management practices, empowerment of women through the programs’ methodology, and highly effective and replicable training program, the success of the FGA is obvious.

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