14 June 2019
Local non-profit organisation Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) has kicked off its ambitious ‘Forest Protea Glen’ project by planting thirty trees at SPARK Schools’ Soweto campus – the first batch of more than 1,100 trees which will be planted in the area.
The project, which will see 1,000 shade and fruit trees planted at homes and one hundred at schools in the area, is a result of a partnership between FTFA and SPARK Schools. It has already created work opportunities for a number of local unemployed youth, who have been trained as community foresters and educators. SPARK Soweto principal Gundo Mmbi, said tree-planting and urban forestry programmes were a vital part of community mobilisation, and demonstrated a commitment to both the environment and the local community.
“By partnering with FTFA on their Trees for Homes and Trees for All programmes, we’re helping to transform our school and community into a healthier, more sustainable environment while importantly creating environmental awareness and stewardship amongst our scholars,” she said.
Emily Jones, Trees and Carbon Programme Manager at FTFA, said trees played a critical role in regenerating and rehabilitating environments, improving air quality, decreasing noise pollution, settling dust, improving thermal efficiency, and increasing the value of properties.
“Planting trees really is a long-term commitment to a community. We specifically choose fruit and indigenous shade trees that are well suited to being grown in the area, and the community will benefit from fruit production, shade and a more diverse landscape for years to come,” she said.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR
SPARK Soweto, located in the West of Soweto in Johannesburg, opened its doors in January 2019 and is the twentieth school in the SPARK Schools network. The school currently offers Grade R to Grade 3 and will expand by a grade each year. For any further information on SPARK Soweto visit www.sparkschools.co.za.
Trees for All
FTFA addresses food security and environmental sustainability, with an emphasis on education and skills training, which is integrated with mentorship and phased support. Its Trees for All programme sustainably plants trees in shared spaces for a healthier, greener environment and educates communities about the benefits of trees, while offsetting carbon emissions and transforming the surrounding environment.
Trees for Homes (TFH)
TFH is the most successful township greening initiative in South Africa. Originally designed to address South Africa’s history of inequitable settlement policies, TFH grew to become the country’s benchmark of innovation in urban forestry.