We’ve been looking to agroforestry as one of these holistic strategies that accomplishes multiple goals: Improving access to locally-grown, healthy food, providing year-round forage for bees and other pollinators on and around coffee farms, and restoring native forest systems to build climate resilience in rural farming communities. Thanks to new funding from Grow Ahead and Arbor Day Foundation, and building on our current support from Rick Steves and The Nell Newman Foundation, our partners at the SOPPEXCCA, Maya Ixil, and COMEPCAFE cooperatives are planting nearly 100,000 trees, shrubs, and melliferous plants on 580 coffee farms. It’s an exciting opportunity to strengthen environmental health. Our partners in Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua have worked hard to prepare for this long-term investment in stewarding their land.
Along with offsetting carbon and improving biodiversity, the trees and plants selected by our partners are designed to improve food security. Each community is planting trees that can thrive locally, choosing hardwood trees for shade and pollinator food, fruit trees for consumption and local sales, and other plants to prevent soil erosion and improve water access for home gardens. The 580 families in this program have received plants, seeds, organic fertilizer, and other inputs for better plant health. With robust ongoing technical support, and education about food security and nutrition, they’re aiming to successfully establish and sustain a critical new resource, in this critical first year. We’re excited to see these investments take hold and, as always, we’re in awe of our hardworking co-op partners as they layer on this new strategy to sustain people and planet.