Rural communities depend on the land. They depend on land for housing, fuel-wood, water and food. Pemba is an island, and as the population grows, the acreage of available land shrinks. So how can all these functions be provided when land is limited? Now that huge areas of degraded land have been planted with trees on Pemba, Community Forests International decided to take things one-step further.
By working with lead farmers, CFI worked to refine a method of food production that could co-exist within planted forests. This technique of food production is called agroforestry and can be as simple as alternating rows of planted trees with rows of planted food. Today, CFI communities grow citrus mango, banana, acacia, teak, coconut, neem, jackfruit, guava, maize, groundnuts, cassava, cowpeas, millet and sweet potatoes within planted forests, covering an area larger than 100 football fields.
Beyond growing food in the planted forests, communities are now producing food directly outside of their homes. These intensive kitchen gardens provide families with an immediate source of nutritious food. Why not bring gardening to your kitchen door?
Our planet is full. If everyone were to live like a Canadian we would need anywhere from 3 to 5 additional planets worth of resources in order to provide for our present population. If human consumption has stretched our planet’s carrying capacity to the limit, how do we improve standards of living without placing even more of a burden on our natural environment? How can we produce more food, less carbon and cover more land? CFI communities are on it.
“Life here is hard. We are always working in order to provide for our lives, for our families. Before working with Community Forests International we had nothing in our village. Our men would fish in order to get something to eat. Now we work on the land.” — Chema Juma, Treasurer of the Vitongoji Tree-planting Cooperative, Vitongoji, Pemba
To foster environmental stewardship internationally by establishing community forests, promoting sustainable forestry techniques and initiating environmental education.