Trees That Feed Heroes: Judy Osgood

JudyJudy Osgood is a critical member of the Trees That Feed Foundation team and serves as a true hero of ours! She teamed up with TTFF once she retired from teaching about three years ago. Judy volunteers in the office each week to help respond to requests for trees, equipment and breadfruit flour. She also issues certificates for these items, processes donations, drafts website content and helps develop curriculum for educational initiatives.

We interviewed Judy about her time with TTFF. See below to learn more about Judy’s generous contributions to advancing the Foundation’s mission:

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with Trees That Feed Foundation? I love knowing we are making a difference. Every time I go into the office, I know things are better in the world by the time I leave at the end of the day. Mary and Mike are amazing – I’m grateful to be along for the ride.

How does Trees That Feed Foundation differ from other initiatives? Sustainability and investment. TTFF isn’t just putting a Band-Aid on a problem. We are committed to solving problems in a sustainable way by providing the resources, training and support needed for ownership of the solution. Mary and Mike have forged strong partnerships with communities and people in Jamaica and Haiti, and they visit the trees to monitor their growth and care. Donations to TTFF go directly to the work and not to administrative costs. The mission is clear – TTFF is highly effective!

Where do you see Trees That Feed Foundation going in the future? I see TTFF continuing to plant more and more trees and strengthen relationships with communities. I see lots of growth in flour production, equipment needs, and entrepreneurship. I think we will do more with education – both in schools in the communities we serve and in schools here.

Thanks for all that you do, Judy!

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Board Spotlight

Nyree PresentationTrees That Feed is excited to be hosting its second board meeting of the year this week! Board members will convene in Chicagoland to discuss 2015 progress, programming and future planning.

Have you met our board? We are proud of our board members. With varying backgrounds and areas of expertise, members are committed to ensuring the success of Trees That Feed Foundation’s mission and providing sustainable food sources to communities and families. Learn about our board members here.

A recent board highlight of TTFF’s is our participation in the 2015 International Breadfruit Conference. Here is Dr. Nyree Zerega, Director of the Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University and Trees That Feed Foundation board member, presenting about breadfruit genetic diversity.

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2015 International Breadfruit Conference

Bfruit conferenceMike and Mary hit the road this week for the 2015 International Breadfruit Conference in Trinidad! The conference is hosted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and PCS Nitrogen.

UWI believes that breadfruit has the potential to improve food and nutrition security and is hosting this conference to convene various breadfruit actors, researchers and entrepreneurs to address increasing opportunities for breadfruit commercialization.

The Daily Express ran a recent article about breadfruit and UWI’s work with the fruit. The benefits of breadfruit are highlighted as “gluten-free, has high energy from carbohydrates, is a source of protein and dietary fiber, and has a high potassium content.” Breadfruit is described to have “a lower glycemic index than widely-consumed imported cereals. This nutritional content makes it attractive in the fight against diseases like diabetes and hypertension.” To read the full article, click here.

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Trees at Tacius Golding High School

GroupphotoTSchoolThe Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund provided an introduction between Trees That Feed Foundation, Karlene Johnson and Tacius Golding High School, after which TTFF provided breadfruit trees and equipment. Read a report below from representatives of the Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund about their recent visit to Tacius Golding and the progress of donated TTFF breadfruit trees and equipment!

“Tacius Golding High School sits on 17 acres of land with a stream in rural St Catherine. They have Mr. McCalla, who teaches agriculture and wields a mean machete. Mr. McCalla took us out to inspect breadfruit trees that were donated from TTFF. About sixteen breadfruit trees have been planted so far, with the rest on hold due to drought. Mr. McCalla has been careful to leave some undergrowth to protect the small trees, as shade will help them survive the dry season.

Karlene Johnson is on sabbatical from Tacius Golding. She is completing a degree in literature at the UWI. Karlene is one of the literature prize winners being mentored by the Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund. Karlene’s dream is to make Tacius Golding self-sufficient. The Gloria Lyn Memorial Fund introduced Karlene to TTFF, and TTFF donated breadfruit trees and equipment to manufacture breadfruit flour to the school.
TaKJBreadfruitTreeJamaicacius Golding will use the flour to feed hungry students and also sell the flour to fund educational projects, with children will learning business skills during the process. 

Here are some pictures of our first visit to Tacius Golding to meet the staff and students and observe the progress they have made since planting. We will be posting new updates as they progress on their journey.”

 

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School to School Support!

OakridgeTrees That Feed Foundation recently received a generous donation from the fourth grade class at The Oakridge School in Arlington, Texas. We were so excited to learn about their awareness and fundraising efforts!Oakridge’s donation will provide breadfruit porridge meals to an entire school in Jamaica. These schools will be connected so that students can be in touch with each other during the school year.

Below is a letter we received from one of the students’ teachers:

“To Whom It May Concern:

On behalf of The Oakridge School I would like to present a check for a donation to your foundation. Our fourth graders did a unit on ecosystems, the environment, and helping others in need. Three classes of fourth graders then held a garage sale to raise money for the organization. They brought toys and games from home and sold them to the first, second and third graders. They had a terrific time.”

Great job, Oakridge students! Thank you for your hard work. 

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Collaboration in the Caribbean: New program this fall!

Yvonette's garden with breadfruit  tree inHaitiTrees That Feed Foundation recently received a grant from The Conservation, Food & Health Foundation to facilitate a new fruit tree propagation program in the Caribbean, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Sustainability is a priority of Trees That Feed’s. Amongst multiple elements of our mission, we work to help individuals learn how to propagate their own fruit trees to ultimately achieve food independence. This new program will be doing exactly that.

Through the program, a group of Haitian farmers will travel with TTFF to Jamaica in Fall 2015 to learn fruit tree propagation techniques from The College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) experts, Jamaican agriculturalists and nurserymen. Following the trip, TTFF will work with Haitian trip participants and partners to implement the training techniques learned during the visit to Jamaica. This program will build internal capabilities in Haiti to locally source food-bearing trees, thereby increasing food supply, market input, jobs and environmental restoration.

Join us with this new initiative! If you would like to contribute to this program,please donate here.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Dryer Design: Part 3

3rd dryer 2 We have our next installment of solar dryer updates below!

Mike continues to be hard at work and the rooftop module for the hybrid solar dryer is now finished. The sides are marine plywood and the top is sheet metal painted black. (Cutting out the holes for ventilation was the most difficult part!) On top is a solar fan and a turbine vent for sunny and/or windy days.

These pictures show front and back views of the roof module mounted on the upper cabinet. The solar exhaust fan is white and faces south; the turbine vent is a bronze color on the other side. These two units will ultimately mount atop the lower cabinet.3rd dryer 3

The next step is stainless steel mesh shelf and runners, and then we will just need a few nice hot days for testing purposes!

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Trees That Feed Heroes: Sandra Myers

sandra Myers photo 2Sandra Myers is our hero extraordinare in Barbados! Representing Trees That Feed Foundation, Sandra is collaborating with Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Education in Barbados on an education project that will eventually reach 105 schools. As part of Earth Day 2015, Sandra and 20 Sandals volunteers launched the project in three schools where theyplanted food-bearing trees and engaged students and teachers in helping the environment. Students were thrilled to get their hands dirty!

Sandra grew up with her older sister in Kingston, Jamaica. After attending the University of the West Indies, she relocated to Barbados in 1996 for a one-year contract that turned permanent. She worked in human resources, consulting and traveling to Dutch and English speaking countries in the Caribbean. Her workshops focused on strategic planning, performance management and staff morale improvement.

When Sandra retired, her volunteer career began. She works with the Caribbean Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI), which focuses on sustainability and is an education and demonstration center for Barbados. CPRI’s purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment, aligning closely with TTFF’s mission.

While growing up in Jamaica, Sandra and Mary McLaughlin met as students attending St. Andrew’s High School for Girls. When they reconnected a few years ago, a new partnership was born. TTFF gained a tireless hero, and Sandra now drives to work with a huge smile on her face, doing something that makes her feel good every day! Thank you, Sandra!

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Dryer Design: Part 2

Here’s the next stage!Dryer Part 2

The solar dryer comprises four modules: the collector(s), lower cabinet, upper cabinet and roof. The collectors get warm in the sun, and warm air flows into the cabinet. The cabinet (lower portion) gathers the warm air from the collectors and directs it upwards. So, each of the heat collectors feeds into this lower portion, which is now mostly complete. The upper portion of the cabinet holds the shelves which carry the fruit. As warm air rises through the cabinet, it dries the fruit.dryer part 2 pic 2

The fourth module is the roof which protects against rain and augments t
he natural convection. The roof will hold a solar exhaust fan to transport moist air out, and so drying out the fruit. We think this solar dryer will work for breadfruit, mango, paw paw and other fruit, depending on the season. Stay tuned for our next dryer update!

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Dryer Design and Data

Mike Dryer Trees That Feed Foundation’s newest project: a solar dryer for breadfruit! Based on some great preliminary work through our partnership with Northwestern, we are getting a prototype ready for the Caribbean. Mike has been hard at work on this project, as you can see. Read an update from him below:

“Here is the first solar dryer component, the solar collector. This is a 4′ x 8′ corrugated metal sheet, painted black, within a wood frame, covered by an acrylic top. Solar energy at the earth’s surface is approximately 1 kW per sq. meter. This collector is roughly two square meters and the idea is to feed warm air into a cabinet dryer. The warm air will rise through the cabinet and dry out the shredded breadfruit, which sits on stainless steel mesh shelves. Dried breadfruit has a long shelf life (one year or more), so this process will help supply food year-round to people in Haiti, Jamaica and elsewhere. Solar test graph

Here is the actual data on the solar collector.Even in the cool Chicago spring, we raised the air temperature by over 25 degrees F and lowered relative humidity from 42% to 16%. That should dry out the fruit and preserve it nicely. And it should work even better in the hot tropical sunlight of Jamaica and Haiti! 

Next step … the cabinet and its ventilation. Stay tuned.”

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