A group of eight senior businesswomen from the UK food and farming industry travelled to the remote town of Kanungu in western Uganda to face the Thousand Trees challenge of planting 1000 trees in just three days and together raising £75,000 for Farm Africa.
The group worked alongside young female Ugandan agricultural entrepreneurs to dig 1000 holes by hand and plant avocado, jackfruit and mango trees on over 80 acres of farmland in just three days. The fruit trees will not only boost soil quality and food security but provide coffee plants with shade; Arabica coffee beans naturally grow under tree shade.
Meet the team:
Frances Swallow - Finsbury Food Group
Helen Brierley - Vitacress Salads Ltd
Jenni Gowdy - Moy Park
Marian Scott - Devenish Nutrition
Michelle Burke - Devenish Nutrition
Rachel Baldwin – Tulip
Sarah Fairburn - L J Fairburn & Son Ltd
Susie McIntyre - Kettle Produce Ltd
Thursday 17 October - Sarah Louise Fairburn, L J Fairburn & Son, and Rachel Baldwin, Tulip
Wednesday 16 October - Michelle Burke and Marian Scott, Devenish
Tuesday 15 October - Jenni Gowdy, Moy Park
What we learnt about tree planting.... It's all about the soil!!! As it varies so much from farm to farm. For example, it took us two hours to plant 28 trees yesterday. Today, we planted 180 in five hours. Mainly due to the fact that today's soil was much softer and clay-like, as opposed to dry with larger boulders. We were also much better organised as a team and introduced a little bit of structure to the day!
Farmers also taught us the importance of positioning the trees due to both sunlight and rainfall.
Not fully-fledged aborists yet, but certainly trying our best.
To date, we are almost halfway there. Please continue to donate to such a worthy challenge as it really does make a difference and provides a sustainable revenue stream for the local families.
Monday 14 October - Helen Brierley, Vitacress
Farm Africa's work in Kanungu
Coffee is Uganda’s most valuable crop, and the majority of the country’s beans ends up in the cups of European coffee drinkers. Despite coffee’s profit-making potential, many of Kanungu’s coffee farmers struggle to make ends meet.
With funding from the European Union and UK aid from the UK government, Farm Africa is working in Kanungu to help coffee farmers sustainably produce and sell high-quality coffee, and provide women with the support they need to increase their incomes and earn a fair share of profits from coffee.
The Thousand Trees challenge is organised as part of Farm Africa’s Food For Good network.
Challenge photos: Farm Africa / Jjumba Martin. Photo above: Farm Africa / Esther Mbabazi