International Missionary Fellowship - Food Bearing Tree Project

Give someone a mango and they will eat today, give the same person a mango tree and teach them how to take care of it and they and their family potentially will eat for a lifetime. Pretty lame as adages go but anyway we think we have a project that will bear fruit (sorry bad adage and bad pun in the same paragraph) for the Lord's work and the folks here in Bombarde.

There are many types of food trees that are indigenous to our area: avocado, mango (several types), cherry, citrus (many kinds), almond, coconut and other less familiar varieties. In addition to the nutritional benefits of these foods, the trees have the benefit of being more draught resistant than any of the annual crops that are traditionally grown here. In an area where draught has been a problem, historically, this is a great advantage. It can be difficult for a family to save enough cash to plant a crop, and when they do but the crop fails, they realize a total loss. Not so with trees.

It is true enough that the trees will bear better in wetter years, but it is also true that while in dry years the trees may not produce as much fruit, they will likely produce some. They also will remain viable through dry times and continue to produce for years, more in years of increased rainfall, less in years of little rainfall, but never nothing, and with a reasonable amount of care, they will thrive.

We noticed some food trees on the hospital property that had been planted 20 or so years ago and pretty much been forgotten about. These trees, despite having to fend for themselves through some pretty harsh conditions, while not thriving, were not dead, in fact they were reasonably healthy. With a small amount of pruning, mulching and trimming back of some of the larger trees around them to allow for more sunlight, they are now doing very well. This gave us the inspiration to work to get viable (1 year old or so) food trees into the community.

We feel that supplying food trees, along with a knowledgeable person to help with the planting and instruction on care, has the potential to help the folks of our area have a healthy, reliable food source that will be a self-sustaining.

In the last year we have begun giving greater attention to the various food trees on our property and have started some seedlings that are doing well. We are now planning to construct a shade house in which to start the seedlings to get out to the folks here. We have been using a shade house for several years to grow food for the widow's home and for our personal use. The shade house will allow the delicate seedlings to get to a size that they will be more able to thrive in the tropical environment. We also have the benefit of being able to use cistern water to keep the trees wet through dry times as they are getting established.

Having the more mature trees to show as examples to the folks that get trees from us will be a great visual tool to use to encourage them to care for their trees.

The soil in our area is very poor by itself so we mix a lot of organic material in with it to make a medium that can help the trees get a good start. From the photos, you can see a bit of the process, unglamorous as it is. Steve and Genic (pronounced Ja-neek') gathered and ground leaves and donkey manure to mix into the dirt. By the way, this is one definite advantage we have over a lot of areas; I would venture a guess that you just cannot get donkey manure of this quality or quantity in your town.

On our first year of raising food trees, the time from starting seed to giving them to folks in the community was 10 months. You can see some of mature mango trees that are currently in flower and starting to set on fruit.

Genic is a young man that works for us. He has bought a small piece of ground and is saving up to put a house on it. He is an honest, hardworking young man who shares our excitement and optimism for this project. Genic's grandmother, who he had been living with and caring for, recently passed away. It is through relationships with folks like Genic and projects like the Food Tree Project that we have the opportunity to share Christ and His love with the folks here.

Mangoes

Are rich in Vitamins A & C, and provide many other vitamins and minerals as well.

Mango trees begin bearing fruit in 3-6 years and can bear fruit for well over 100 years.

Mangoes are available in the Bombardopolis area from May through September.

Avocados

Are a good source of fiber and Vitamins C & K, and are high in calories and fat.

Avocados are available from August through December.

Food Tree Project News

How are the seedlings doing? Any recent tree distributions? Read stories and see photos of recent Food Tree Project events.

Food Tree Project Ministry Needs

Status: 100% funded
$80 / month
$1.92 / tree
More details