Trees for Life
Insisting on life
In many ways, Palestine's farmer insist on a culture of life. They are committed to sustaining and enhancing the living environment even as they produce a living for their families and increase the economic viability of the larger community. In all their practices they promote a respectful, sustainable relationship with the land with an eye to the future. Through fair trade, they form meaningful, respectful relationships with partners and customers throughout the world who appreciate their high quality products.
In the past decade, much of the land of Palestine has been made inaccessible to them. Farmers have been particularly hurt as their crops have been demolished and their land taken for Israeli settlements, by-pass roads, security zones, and the Wall. Often farmers are forced to watch without recourse as their olive trees are uprooted, and often they stand at a gate in the Wall hoping for access to plant, tend, and harvest crops on their land on the other side. Young and small farmers have found it particularly difficult to establish and expand their operations. PFTA and solidarity groups have, however, found creative ways in which to restore production and hope for such farmers.
This program helps connect the Palestinian farmers and producers in the fair trade movement in Palestine to the grassroots fair trade movement in Europe and North America in a meaningful way. In solidarity with olive farmers denied their livelihood, grassroots solidarity organizations abroad have raised funds for the purchase of thousands of grafted olive seedlings – 38,400 since 2005. In 2009, 14,419 trees were planted. 2009 Report The purchase of each tin of olive oil generates US$1 for the project. Donations of $20 purchase three trees.
A committee of PFTA farmers implements and administers the program. Growers must qualify for lots of 25-50 trees. They must have suitable land, the capacity to nurture the trees, fields prepared for planting immediately upon delivery, and a commitment to fair trade practices. Priority for trees goes to small farmers, young farmers with inherited or acquired land, landed women interested in farming, and farmers who have lost trees to the occupation. Trees are planted between Tree Day, January 15, and Land Day, March 30. The ritual of planting symbolically connects growers to their international supporters and the international free trade movement.
Together, we keep Palestine alive.
2010 Trees for Life Report