FTPF is working to solve several of the world's most pressing problems with one simple solution: planting fruit trees.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Planting in both urban and rural areas helps local and global environments by cleaning the air, water, and soil, offsetting carbon emissions, cooling heat island effect, preventing erosion, and filtering storm water. In areas of extreme deforestation we work to reestablish native ecosystems such as rainforest, jungle, and riparian zones. Just one tree can produce 195lbs of O2, sequester 247lbs of CO2, and filter 10lbs of solid pollutants from the air each year.
FOOD/NUTRITION JUSTICE: Food insecurity and diet-related illness are ravaging world health. Fresh, free, organic, local fruit provides immediate and perennial nutrition for decades. Quality food and nutrition is a right for all people, not just the privileged few. Each mature fruit tree we plant will provide 55lbs of annual harvest, more than enough to feed a family and share with neighbors!
ECONOMIC JUSTICE: Our fruit tree distributions and educational programs provide families with the resources to grow their own food, freeing up those funds for other critical needs. Extra harvests are often sold at market to supplement family incomes.
ANIMAL JUSTICE: The world's wildlife deserve healthy, happy lives just as their human neighbors do. Fruit trees in public spaces and at animal sanctuaries provides food and shade for animals while also benefiting the humans and the environment as described above. Providing high-quality fruit for human populations also lessens the need for animal-based food, lessening both the environmental and ethical impacts on animal husbandry.
In order to address the above challenges and goals, FTPF has created the following strategies:
Plant and encourage others to plant 18 billion fruit trees worldwide, 3 for every person alive
Provide training and education on arboriculture directly to orchard caretakers and the general public
Provide aftercare and continued education in tree care to ensure the orchards serve as longterm community assets
Collaborate with other nonprofits, higher learning centers, and experts to provide information on harvesting, preservation, and culinary skills to serve the fruit
Expose today's youth to the importance of fruit trees for the environment and nutrition to ensure the next generations is prepared to face the coming challenges of food security and climate change
Serve as a resource for the life of the orchards to troubleshoot problems and create the most fruitful, long-lived orchards possible
FTPF staff are expertly trained and capable to complete our mission.
Executive Director: Cem Akin has overseen the planting of thousands of trees on six continents, managed and implemented over 100 tree planting projects in communities around the world, co-authored the fruit tree manual Home Orchard Handbook, and helped with orchard design and maintenance for most FTPF projects.
Arborists: Erik Wilson & Rico Montenegro are both International Society of Arboriculture certified arborists. Erik is additionally a municipally certified tree specialist, and has more than twenty years of professional arboricultural, horticultural, and landscaping experience. Erik is active in youth development, ranging from being a Cub Scout leader to being a board member for Creative Stages Youth Theatre, a community theater for youth. Rico has four decades of experience on four continents, traveling with FTPF to projects in India, Africa, South and Central America, and all across the United States. Rico has consulted on projects for federal, state, and local governments, providing a wide range of horticultural training and advice, and served as an advisor for a number of highly regarded gardening publications including Sunset Magazine. He also has taught fruit tree science at the college level and continues to teach classes in various public settings on fruit tree selection, training, and sustainable management practices. He is licensed to implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques using cultural, biological and other organic methods. Both will be available for consultation and may serve in advisory roles for these projects.
Programs Manager: Lizzy Rainey started at a volunteer with FTPF in 2014, and after one year of traveling to every possible planting, she joined the team officially in January 2015. During her time with FTPF she has planted trees from Africa to Latin America and all across the United States, with her favorite two projects being those in her home state of Arizona and her part-time home of Hawai'i. She has spend time working on organic farms and has a strong interest in permaculture, horticulture, and expanding people's ability to grow their own food.
Volunteers: We have an extensive network of volunteers that fall into two main categories: those who live in the states and countries where we are donating the orchards, and those who travel with FTPF around the world to assist us in our mission. Combined, these two group make up a network of thousands of annual volunteers, to whom we give enormous credit for the help in making our programs a reality.
The success of our projects a asseressed using quantitative and qualitative criteria, including: number of trees planted, survival rate after one and two years, number of community participants in each workshop and planting event, pounds of harvest, pounds of oxygen created, and pounds of carbon dioxide sequestered. Further, participants will be asked to evaluate each workshop with a simple questionnaire that will use a Likert scale to measure the value of the workshop as well as open-ended questions. Partner organizations will also be asked to assess the value of the orchard over time, including continued community involvement in its care, and other intangible changes, such as deeper engagement of affected youth in other community projects, the development of community gardens, and other outgrowths of the project.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation has planted thousands of trees and installed hundreds of orchards worldwide for the last decade. Our year over year output continues to grow, with projects affecting tens of thousands of low-income families around the world. Some highlights are below:
Jinja District, Uganda
April 2014-Present: Over 50,000 fruit trees (with thousands more each year) are grown, planted, and distributed in one of Africa's most vulnerable areas. Families receive training and trees in order to fight climate change and feed the populations with quality nutrition. The Prime Minster has requested FTPF's continued presence in the country in order to heal the heath and habitat of the Ugandan people.
2013-Present: As the second most deforested country in the world, FTPF is on a mission to plant 100,000 fruit trees across the country in 10 years. We focus on native and culturally important trees such as the mayan staple “bread nut." One farmer told us in 2016: “Four days ago I cut down about 700 mangoes and by the end of the week it was about 1000 fruits. I support my entire family solely on the income from these mangoes, that is what we are surviving on right now. This program has been extremely important for us."
Vrindavan Fruit Relief, India
August, 2006: FTPF's "Fruit Relief" program implements an ongoing, life-saving effort to donate 200 fruit trees directly to needy families every month. In 2007 alone, FTPF created backyard orchards for more than 700 poverty-stricken families in 27 villages. In August, 2006, FTPF created a large orchard of more than 250 fruit bearing trees and built a water well for Food For Life Vrindavan (FFL), a hunger relief group serving 1200 free meals daily to starving families. Harvest from the orchard will be used to supplement their meals program. The director of FFL wrote: “For us and for our children, FTPF's orchard donation to supplement our hunger relief efforts will literally save lives."
Havasupai Tribe Community Orchard in Supai, Arizona
April, 2007 - May, 2015: FTPF's "Trees for Tribes" program donated over 1000 fruit trees and shrubs to Native American households and created multiple community orchards for the Havasupai tribe. The reservation has no roads leading in and is thus difficult to supply with a consistent source of fresh produce. The village is often referred to as the most remote in the country, requiring that the trees be airlifted down via helicopter. In conjunction with the Havasupai Tribal Administration, FTPF established community fruit tree orchards which are open to all members of the tribe, and planted the remaining trees in residential backyards to provide a healthy source of improved nutrition for decades to follow. When this project is complete, we will have created the first town in the world where every household has access to at least 5 fruit trees in their backyards.