28 February 2019, New York, United States – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office hosted a workshop with the Maryland-based organization Trees for the Future on the topics of establishing forest gardens, building tree nurseries and designing perma-gardens. This was the first workshop of a three-part series on Using Agroforestry to Meet Sustainable Development Goals.
After UNITAR’s welcoming remarks from Mr. Marco Suazo, the session began with introductions from the Trees for the Future organization and the audience. Through the platform of UNITAR, a range of audience were introduced to the workshop including participants from various NGOs, staff from the Permanent Missions and the people whose home countries are working with Trees for the Future on agroforestry projects.
The main objective of the series is for international development leaders and agroforestry practitioners to learn the crucial impacts that Trees for the Future’s Forest Garden Approach has on ending hunger, poverty and deforestation. Participants will learn key agroforestry techniques and training facilitation skills required to pass the Forest Garden Certification Exam. Once a Certified Forest Garden Trainer, anyone, anywhere can participate in Trees for the Future’s global learning community of trainers working across the developing world to meet multiple SDGs.
Trees’ work impacts the following Sustainable Development Goals: 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 17. Mr. John Leary, the Executive Director of Trees for the Future organization, and the author for the book One Shot – Trees as Our Last Chance for Survival shared knowledge and experience in the implementation of the Forest Garden Approach, how to overcome challenges in creating sustainable smallholder farming systems, and meeting nutritional needs.
To introduce the necessary steps that must be taken in addressing the struggles commonly experienced in agricultural development, Mr. Leary had the group engage in a series of practical exercises including designing a practical Forest Garden, creating examples of protective fences, communication skill activities, nutritional understanding, and seed starting. Through a highly interactive workshop, participants had the opportunity to plant their own seeds and work in groups to envision the form of agriculture and forestry they hope to bring to the communities they serve.
The rest of the series will focus on optimization of small farms, diversification and financial and marketing training so that farmers can sustainably meet the full potential of their Forest Gardens, nutritional needs and compete in market sectors both locally and internationally. The next workshop will be held on Thursday, March 27th, 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.