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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Haiti Documentary Screening in Ossining on January 10th

Kombit: The Cooperative tells the inspiring story of how Ossining resident Hugh Locke and Haitian agronomist Timote Georges worked with thousands of small-scale farmers in Haiti to plant 5 million trees and double their organic crop yields at the same time. Using charitable funds to incubate a range of farmer-owned agroforestry businesses and processing operations for export, the extraordinary results have gained international attention. Could this be a model for addressing the combined global challenges of food security and deforestation?

Free Haiti Documentary Screening and Q+A With Hugh Locke

Ossining Public Library Budarz Theatre @53 Croton Ave, Ossining, NY

2:30pm SUNDAY January 10, 2016


Why Timberland Made a Documentary to Share Its Haitian Tree-Planting Initiative

REPRINT > by Dan Solomon for Fast Company

"We’re an outdoor lifestyle company that has a tree for a logo" is a blunt reasoning for the company's social responsibility.

A lot of brands talk the talk on social responsibility and sustainability. Many of those also walk the walk—but few put both together as forcefully as Timberland has with a new documentary, produced by Found Object, called KOMBIT: The Cooperative, telling the story of the company's mission to plant five million trees in Haiti over five years. The film, which premiered earlier this month at the SXSW Eco conference, documents not just Timberland’s agroforestry enterprise, but its development of the program into a sustainable, self-funding entity that continues on even after the brand has fulfilled its commitment.

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Message From Rural Haiti to Paris: Smallholder Farmers Are Ready to Help

As more than 140 world leaders gather today for the opening of the climate change talks in Paris, the vital role of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers in combatting climate change is increasingly finding itself front and center. Click on the brochure above for the full story.

Until recently, smallholder farmers have been thought of as a problem needing solving. Typically with less than five acres (roughly two hectares), they are among the world’s poorest citizens. But together they constitute one third of the global population and currently produce 70% of our food on 60% of the earth’s arable land. And over the last decade they are increasingly being seen as essential for any long-term sustainable solution. 

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Expanding the Mandate and Reach of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance

A busy autumn season of announcements for Haiti's Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) set the stage for the launch of our new U.S.-based strategic partner, Impact Farming.

At the Clinton Global Initiative in September it was announced that the SFA and Timberland had fulfilled their joint pledge of planting 5 million trees in Haiti in 5 years. While making the announcement, Chelsea Clinton also highlighted the exciting news that the SFA will have its first commercial product on the shelves at more than 400 Whole Foods Markets in the U.S. beginning in January. It is an all-natural energy shot being produced by Kuli Kuli and made with Haitian smallholder-grown moringa that has been processed into powder by women farmers.

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Could Superfood Help Save Haiti's Forests?

REPRINT > by Sarah McColl for Takepart

Moringa company Kuli Kuli wants to help to reforest the island by developing a moringa economy.

Haiti is the most impoverished country in the northern hemisphere, and trees, or the lack thereof, are part of the problem.

After centuries of agricultural exploitation and the population’s demand for charcoal and fuel wood, 98 percent of Haiti’s landscape is deforested, leaving the country vulnerable to environmental disasters. In 2008, four storms in quick succession resulted in flooding responsible for 800 deaths and $1 billion in damage. The massive earthquake that same year killed more than 220,000 people.

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Deforestation and Drought

A tractor on a wheat plantation that used to be virgin Amazon rain forest in Brazil.
Credit: Nacho Doce/Reuters

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.

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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Travels North From Haiti… to South by Southwest

Filmmaker Gabriel London, SFA co-founders Hugh Locke and Timote Georges, and Timberland’s Margaret
Morey-Reuner in a panel presentation following the premiere of Kombit: The Cooperative at SXSW Eco in
Austin, Texas on October 5th, 2015.

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

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Global Count Reaches 3 Trillion Trees

Data from more than 400,000 hectares of surveyed forest were used to produce a planetary tree count.
Photo: David Zeleny
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%.

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