Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
In October 2014, BGR made a grant to the Trees That Feed Foundation (TTFF) for 610 breadfruit trees to be distributed in Haiti and Jamaica in early 2015. With the grant, TTFF secured 610 breadfruit trees, which were grown to the appropriate size in Haiti and Jamaica for distribution in February and March of this year. Approximately 305 of the trees have been sent to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) in Gonaives, Haiti. SFA has over 2,000 community members and works with small-scale farmers and their families in Haiti to help restore tree cover and increase food production.
In March, SFA Co-founder and Director Timote Georges started picking up the trees at TTFF’s partner nursery in Port-au-Prince for delivery to the Alliance headquarters in Gonaives. Mr. Georges has distributed an initial small batch of breadfruit trees and will continue to pick up the trees until all 305 reach Gonaives. Once trees arrive in Gonaives, they are distributed among 11 nurseries within the Alliance, and then further distributed to Alliance members and their families. The members are all very experienced in agroforestry and TTFF is confident that the trees will continue to grow and thrive.
Approximately 305 of the breadfruit trees were delivered to schools across Jamaica as a part of TTFF’s Trees That Feed in Schools (TTFIS) initiative. Through this initiative, Rotary, TTFF and the Ministry of Education work to provide food-bearing trees to schools in Jamaica as a sustainable source of food for students. Planting breadfruit trees in schools not only helps alleviate childhood hunger, improving diets and academic achievement, but also improves the environment. Approximately 30 breadfruit trees were distributed to seven schools in Kingston and approximately 275 trees to 20 schools in Portland.
The mission of the Trees That Feed Foundation is planting trees to feed people, create jobs, and benefit the environment in developing countries. The foundation provides sustainable food sources to communities through fruit-bearing trees with edible fruit and high yields. TTFF supplies trees, equipment and training. This model improves nutrition and also provides long-term independence from food imports and agrochemicals.
The first tree selected by TTFF for distribution is the breadfruit tree. The nutritional benefits of breadfruit were recently featured in the article “One Food Security Remedy in the Face of Global Crises,” published April 4th on the progressive website Truthout. The article quotes Global Breadfruit’s Josh Schneider as saying: “One tree can change the life of a family for generations; ten trees can change the fortune of a village. It can do everything a potato can but in a more sustainable way.”
Breadfruit bears a fruit somewhat smaller than a soccer ball. One fruit can easily provide the carbohydrate portion of a meal for a family of five. A mature tree can produce up to a half ton of fruit per year. In controlled orchard settings the trees are heavily pruned for easy reaping. A hectare, planted at a density of 125 trees, out-produces all tropical starch crops, yielding upward of 30,000 kilos of fruit annually. Since some varieties of breadfruit have high provitamin A carotenoides, a diet heavy in breadfruitcan greatly reduce afflictions like infant blindness.
(Based on a six-month report to BGR from the Trees That Feed Foundation)