Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog
REPRINT > Jim Robbins for New York Times
LIKE California, much of Brazil is gripped by one of the worst droughts in its history. Huge reservoirs are bone dry and water has been rationed in São Paulo, a megacity of 20 million people; in Rio; and in many other places.
Drought is usually thought of as a natural disaster beyond human control. But as researchers peer deeper into the Earth’s changing bioclimate — the vastly complex global interplay between living organisms and climatic forces — they are better appreciating the crucial role that deforestation plays.
A new documentary film chronicling the efforts of Timberland and the Smallholders Farmers Alliance (SFA) to plant 5 million trees in Haiti had its premiere this week at SXSW Eco 2015 in Austin, Texas.
Kombit: The Cooperative, produced by Found Object films and directed by award-winning filmmaker Gabriel London, tells the unlikely story of how a bootmaking company and a grassroots farmers’ cooperative program in Haiti joined forces in an innovative private/public partnership with the goal of planting 5 million trees in 5 years in a country that now has less than 2% remaining tree cover
REPRINT > Rachel Ehrenberg for Nature
There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth — more than seven times the number previously estimated — according to a tally by an international team of scientists. The study also finds that human activity is detrimental to tree abundance worldwide. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year, the researchers estimate; since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%.
These programs covered a wide range from tree planting to adult literacy training to the new moringa superfood, with the connecting thread being the smallholder farmers of Haiti.
REPRINT > by Anastasia Moloney for Thomson Reuters Foundation / August 26, 2015
A severe drought in Haiti has led to acute water shortages, shriveled harvests and raised food prices, weakening the fragile food supply and worsening hunger among the poor, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said.
The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti already struggles to feed its population of 10.4 million, and 600,000 Haitians already rely on international food aid to survive, the WFP says.
Who would have thought the leaves of one very ordinary looking tree would hold the secret for addressing three critical issues in Haiti: improving nutrition, empowering women and expanding agricultural export.
The leaves of the fast-growing moringa tree, which grows throughout Haiti, contain 9 essential amino acids, 27 vitamins and 46 antioxidants, making it one of the most nutrient dense plants on earth. Just one tablespoon of dried moringa leaf powder is the equivalent of a full serving of vegetables plus a multivitamin combined, making it a valuable tool for improving nutrition.
The top ten recipes that receive the most Instagram likes will be reviewed by internationally-renowned Chef José Andrés and a panel of judges from World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that uses the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. The winner will receive a trip to Washington DC and dinner at Chef José Andrés' new restaurant – China Chilcano.