It turns out that The Nature Conservancy had partnered with Dow Chemical and the state of Sao Paulo’s Water Supply Managers (SABESP) to do massive chemically-supported tree planting along the water ways there. It appears this was among the reasons they didn’t want to buy organically grown trees from the small growers.
Once I pieced together what was going on, I went back to crowd-funding while searching for a fiscal sponsor that could help to support this network of small organic growers, who were bootstrapping their operations in the expensive state of Sao Paulo.
The next organization I spent time getting to know, WeForest, likes what these independent growers are doing, but can’t support the prices they need for their trees. They’re also not keen on covering the costs of trucking trees to a local NGO – 50 miles from the growers – that distributes trees to farm families and oversees that they are cared for once planted. I like WeForest (so much so, I served as their US Ambassador for several months) but they’re not an ideal fit for the people in this region who have already invested themselves in a system that really can work.
To prepare for this update, I researched which partners are doing the tree planting associated with “The Lorax” book and new movie. It’s Conservation International, which works in partnership with Monsanto. They’re even working in our Atlantic rainforest. Go figure…
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