Acre by Acre: The Community Forests International Brand

By Monica Allaby, Posted on June 28, 2022

There’s a small island in the Indian Ocean, in the Zanzibar Archipelago, that is home to vibrant communities, lush mangrove forests, and a rich history of spice farming. Community Forests International has worked in partnership with the people of Pemba Island for 15 years to support community-led projects that range from tree planting and agroforestry to organizing for greater community land rights and climate resilience.

The success of Community Forest International’s work on Pemba Island inspired us to establish an office and projects in Canada in 2010, where your support has allowed us to explore pathways for achieving local community and climate resilience using lessons from Zanzibar.

Over the last couple of years, we have thought a lot about how to tell this special origin story and how to make our deep work in distinct locales accessible to more people all over the world. Oftentimes people are only connected to one region or project we deliver, which often leads us to tell our story in component parts rather than underlining what holds it all together. We have really had to think about what makes our organization unique and the values that drive everything we do—whether it’s amplifying Indigenous Forest Knowledge and creating inspiring videos about the Wabanaki forest, or advocating for land rights and planting millions of trees in Zanzibar.

The regions we work in are home to unique ecosystems, cultures, and challenges—and our solutions always benefit both forests and the people directly connected to them.

We are committed more than ever to put equity and justice at the forefront of all our actions. That’s why we decided to integrate these values into our visual identity. We want the why and how of our work to inspire others as much as what we do.

Working with our friends at Loop, we recently created a bold new visual identity for Community Forests International. Several members of our community were involved in this process, and one reflected, “I think if [Community Forests International] had $100 billion there would be no climate change. They could really do it. They would go acre by acre and by the end of their work the whole world would be full of big trees. Their solutions are simple, and they work.”

The phrase “acre by acre” inspired Loop to weave together squares of illustration into a colourful tapestry that incorporates many aspects of our approach, while paying tribute to our original logo. The hopeful colours applied across the new visual identity are inspired by the special ecosystems and cultures with which we work.

Our new look reflects our increasing commitments to the communities we work with and alongside. We hope it inspires you to take courage from community, be bold in the face of injustice, and take action for a brighter future.

Leading with love.

We knew that our new logo should represent the special relationship between people and forests. Loop developed a simple graphic constructed of two upside-down hearts that come together to form a tree. The logo represents the intersection between communities and forests and represents the care with which we approach our mission. It’s a reminder of why we do what we do, even when it becomes difficult to believe in a hopeful future.

With the support of our community, what began as a seed in 2006 has grown into a movement. Community Forests Pemba has expanded across the Zanzibar Archipelago and supported climate adaptation projects in neighbouring Mozambique. In Canada, you have helped us protect endangered forest ecosystems, advance climate adaptation, and develop regenerative ways for rural families to earn a living from protecting and restoring their forests. Community Forests International is continuing to work in full partnership and solidarity with communities, and we have got a new look to reflect this.

We hope that this new visual identity will inspire you to think about people and community when you think about forests, and when you think about Community Forests International. Like you, we really care about forests, and we care even more deeply about the people connected to them. Our new branding reflects our commitment to acting boldly with love and courage to continue to support climate justice wherever this work is needed.

The most hopeful and innovative solutions to the climate crisis are found in community, and we are so grateful that you’re a part of ours.