Breadfruit to East Africa

Ecstatic we are to report our second shipment of trees has arrived safely.  They flew into Nairobi, Kenya, courtesy of Cultivaris in Germany and National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hawaii.   With a little help from Trees That Feed Foundation too, of course!  After being cleared at the airport they are hardened in a nursery then shipped out to point beyond, including farmers in Uganda and Tanzania.  The photo shows a happy group of students and teachers at Chang’Ombe Secondary School in Tanzania. 

It’s quite a team that gets credit for this success.  Joseph Matara of Grace Project in Kenya took the first steps.  Mary Kibai in Kenya was caretaker of the trees. She transported them from Nairobi to Mombasa.  Nick deKoning drove through the night to transport trees to Jinja, Uganda.

Mary drove the trees into Tanzania, but they had to be bare rooted first, because soil can’t be transported across borders.  With instructions from Joseph Johnson in Jamaica, Saimon Mollel carefully nursed these young saplings back to life.   The second picture shows those first few green shoots after these little trees had been on an 8 day journey.  Hooray!

Other people too numerous to mention have also contributed to this successful project.  Many farmers, workers, volunteers, teachers, students, have worked together as a team.   These nearly 3,000 breadfruit trees will bear fruit within 3 to 4 years and contribute to feeding tens of thousands of nutritious meals to students in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

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Here’s what we’ve done in 2018 …

Trees That Feed Foundation 2018 Achievements

Here’s what we’ve done in 2018!

… thanks to you and your support!  It’s a lot in just one year.  Your donations, your volunteer efforts, have all helped.  You’ve been talking about us, spreading our news, and “liking” our social media.  Thanks!  Word of mouth is our best advertising.  As the word spreads, more people will become aware of the benefits of planting trees, especially fruit trees, and will start to take action!  We get by with a little help from our friends!

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3,000 Breadfruit trees go to St. Croix, US VI

Agricultural Fair, St. Croix, USVI, September 2018

As TTFF spreads our branches … er … wings … we’ve now sent 3,000 donated breadfruit trees to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.  We owe a huge vote of thanks to Ken Banks and Nate Olive, for getting this to happen.  And thanks to an anonymous donor too.  They worked together and took care of all the permits, inspections, shipping, clearing, transportation and re-potting, all the details for a successful transfer.

Ken Banks, now the newest member of the board of Trees That Feed Foundation, led a number of events.  He participated in their agricultural fair, and distributed over 900 of these trees to individuals, in one day!  The rest are allocated to various farms on the island, as coordinated by Nate.

Some of the 3,000 tiny breadfruit saplings shipped to St. Croix

Then there was a “slow dinner” at which various breadfruit dishes were served.  Some of the new recipes included tortillas, chaya fritters, breadfruit dumplings in grouper broth … and last but not least … breadfruit vodka, by Chef Todd Manley.  There are a few photos, below.   The potential for breadfruit, fresh or transformed into some kind of delicacy, is bright in St. Croix.

Breadfruit tortilla with green mango and papaya slaw

The people that made it happen! L to R, W Louis Hilgeman, Ken Banks, Sommer Sibily, Forest Stewarship Coordinator, US VI, Nate Olive, and Chef Andy Thaldorf, proudly wearing his TTFF apron!

Before we forget, Ken also transported various components of the TTFF “Factory in a Box.”  The shredder and grinding mill will allow fresh breadfruit to be processed into a nutritious, gluten-free flour with a long shelf life.

 

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Solar Dryer Engineering Drawings Ready!

Hybrid solar dryer engineering drawing

Hybrid solar dryer engineering drawing

Thanks to Northwestern University’s Engineering School, Dr. Stacy Benjamin, and Allison O’Donnell, we now have detailed engineering drawings completed!  These are available to anyone who want to consider construction of their own solar dryer.  Remember, it’s suitable for dehydrating breadfruit or really any other fruit, to preserve them for later consumption.  The dryer can also rely on a small propane heater, for those cloudy days when solar heat along isn’t sufficient.

We have drawings plus extensive detailed spec sheets.  Click here for a preview.   Contact us for more information.

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Mary featured on WGN-TV

Steve Sanders, popular host of WGN TV’s Midday News, invited Mary to talk about Trees That Feed Foundation.  The idea is to spread the word about TTFF’s work, and also encourage support for all organizations doing this kind of work, namely planting fruit trees, creating jobs and benefiting the environment.

This segment aired live today, August 27, 2018.  In five minutes Mary hit all the high points that viewers might be interested in–planting trees, helping entrepreneurs, feeding schoolchildren, and more.  WGN has a large viewership so this feature will really help to get the word out.  Follow this link to hear the entire segment.  Thanks go to Steve and the highly efficient staff at WGN TV.

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Solar dryer is in operation!

Trees That Feed co-founder Mike McLaughlin is a Physics major (BSc, University of the West Indies). He designed this hybrid solar dryer, to dehydrate fresh fruit and preserve it with a long shelf life.  The first live prototype in Jamaica is now in operation at Sydney Pagon High School, in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.  This project was funded jointly by TTFF and Rotary Clubs in Canada.

In this design air flows in through three solar collectors painted black and covered in plastic.  The air warms over the hot collectors and flows into the cabinet. Shelves inside hold the fresh fruit, sliced or shredded for quicker dehydration. A solar fan on the roof pulls the moist air up and away.  A full load of fresh fruit can be dried in 4 to 6 hours!

Learn more:  click here to watch a 30 second video explaining more details.

Hybrid Solar Dryer, Schematic

This schematic sketch is being converted into high quality engineering drawings by Northwestern University’s Engineering School.  And remember we have a complete detailed descriptive paper on the design and testing.  Click here to learn more.

 

 

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Trees That Feed featured on NPR

Mary McLaughlin was interviewed recently by Jerome McDonnell on “World View” on his Global Activism segment on National Public Radio.   Mary talked about Trees That Feed activities and accomplishments.  She sounded like a pro!   Click here to go to WBEZ’s Worldview page, to listen to the full interview!

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Another one of our Heroes: Ken Banks

Ken is Manager of Marine Resources Programs for the Broward County Florida Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division.  He has vast knowledge about coral reefs, manatee conservation and marine ecosystems.  He’s also passionate about growing plants and trees.  His backyard in Southeast Florida is a horticultural collection!  And he’s been a charter boat captain, an engineer, and a marine geologist.  He is also a passionate volunteer for Trees That Feed Foundation and he brings his storehouse of knowledge to our benefit.  He’s energetic, helped us deliver breadfruit trees to the Bahamas and US Virgin Islands, and located key research for us.  For the last three years he’s hosted our booth at the Fairchild Gardens Mango Festival.   He’s quite the hero.

 

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One of Our Heroes: Dennis Holyn

 

Meet Dennis Holyn.  Dennis lives in the Chicago area, was educated in Canada, but is from Jamaica originally.  He’s had a successful career as a sales executive in the tourism industry, mortgage banking and healthcare.  He finds time from his busy schedule to volunteer for Trees That Feed Foundation.   He is not only full of ideas, but he is also a man of action.  We had a big trip to Jamaica in January and Dennis coordinated all the logistics, including pre-planning trips to breadfruit orchards, government offices and meeting arrangements.  He is married, has two children and cares for his elderly mother.  Thanks for all the hard work, Dennis!

 

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Trees That Feed is Branching Out!

Branching!  Get it? We’re excited to report that Trees That Feed Foundation now has excellent partners in Africa, folks we know and trust and can work with effectively and efficiently.  So we’re extending our reach.  Last week, working with our suppliers in Germany, we shipped 750 breadfruit trees by air to Nairobi, Kenya. They were successfully cleared through customs and quarantine, and are being held now in a shade house.  There they will strengthen and grow for a few weeks, and later be moved out to farms.  They are destined for suitable locations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and perhaps points beyond.


The photo shows young breadfruit seedlings that have been replanted into grow bags, where they will sit for a few weeks.

This photo shows local ladies in Kenya, delighted to be receiving tree saplings.

Joe Mataro and his team from Grace Project worked hard to get this accomplished, from import permits to replanting in the right size grow bags.  Thanks, Joe, for all the hard work involved!

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