Rwandan Children Plant 150 Fruit Trees, Sow Seeds of Sustainability for Generations to Come

Danielle Lee Africa, FCE, IDEAS for Us, Sustainability

Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE) is disrupting hunger and planting the seeds of sustainability through an innovative tree-planting program taking place on the other side of the world in Rwanda.

In cooperation with IDEAS for Us, the FCE Forest was established earlier this month on the grounds of Joy Christian School in Kigali. Students learned all about mangoes, tree tomatoes and avocados, as they cultivated and harvested 150 fruit trees on school grounds.

Teachers and students, 140 in total, were each able to plant their own tree. The idea is that these students will learn about ecology and the responsibility that comes with taking care of these trees. In about five to seven years, the continuous supply of fruit will provide not only a nourishing food source but revenue for the school, helping fund the educations of students for generations to come.

“This is a long-term solution because these students can care for these trees and their siblings and families can eat from this forest,” says Clayton Ferrara, executive director of IDEAS for Us.

The FCE Forest will also benefit the environment in many ways.

The project is part of FCE’s Pledge to Sustainability, the goals of which include a 50 percent reduction in long-haul shipping, a 40 percent reduction in air travel and using biodegradable bags for all of FCE’s meals.

CEO Dave Green explains: “We want to close the loop and do something that will help reduce our carbon footprint, and that includes investing in tree-planting initiatives.”

Generations upon generations will literally be able to see the fruit of their labors. Students and villagers will participate in Seed Saving Workshops where they will learn to preserve and expand the abundance of their fruit forest.

The FCE Forest is part of a ten-year project and a long-term campaign with the City of Joy Rwanda. IDEAS for Us will continue to work with staff members at the City of Joy Rwanda to measure the progress, maintenance, and health of the fruit forest. IDEAS for Us is also planning follow-on trips to teach the school how to organically farm through fleet farming.

“This is a gift that is going to compound exponentially,” Ferrara explains. “By planting more and more trees, you are creating more sources of climate sequestration. These trees breathe in and store carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and create healthy oxygen which is very important in combating climate change.”

Fruit trees are also responsible for conditioning soil, providing habitat for wildlife including attracting pollinators in order for fruit to grow, reducing shipping by growing locally, managing storm-water, not to mention providing shade on a hot day.

“Environmental sustainability and hunger go hand-in-hand,” Green concludes. “If we are going to grow in our impact and on our journey to truly see a hunger-free world, we also have to be environmentally responsible.”

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