Trees and animals are the silent, overlooked victims of continued deforestation and urbanization. According to a 2018 report in The Global Citizen, 36 million trees are cut down in urban areas in the U.S. each year. They are replaced by 167,000 acres of concrete and asphalt.
So, what happens to the animals that are pushed out of their habitats? What happens to fruit and nut trees that provide food for people? Do those inflicting these acts ever stop to think about that or have answers to those questions?
According to Rolf Skar, the Forest Campaign Director for Greenpeace, the elimination of trees is also harmful to the people living in these areas. He stated in an interview that trees are helpful in warding off pollution and provide a long list of other benefits for people including clean air, filtered water, shade and food. But, along with every negative, destructive action inflicted on nature, there is a person or persons who tries to combat such things and turn them around.
Ken Hansen of Coos Bay in North Bend, Oregon and his wife Amanda started planting fruit trees and berries in his backyard early in 2019. The yard filled up fast and prompted Ken to give away some of the fruit trees to motivate other people to also plant them in their backyards.
Ken and Amanda’s venture has really taken off within its first year. They have already given away 15 fruit trees, plum, pear, and apple. Five of the trees went to a baseball field and park that is being built, five went to a youth area that works with at-risk youth, two went to a preschool and two went to a daycare. The last one was given away on Facebook.
The goal for 2020 is to acquire enough space to start the first ever “Food Forest.” It will be the first of many and Ken hopes to have one such forest in every neighborhood eventually. The layout for the food forest will be fruit bearing trees such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, figs and almonds. Underneath the trees would be strawberries, herbs, and spices, along with grapes, blueberries, and raspberries. Space will also be left for vegetable gardens.
In addition to planting trees and creating gardens, Ken and his group also collect and give away apple seeds to kids and educate the public on garden knowledge. There is also a seed sharing program. The long-term goal is to replace concrete jungles and lots that are over-grown with non-edible plants with more “edible spaces” by creating these food forests.
The main, long-term mission is to provide free healthy food to all people. Currently, Ken and his crew are seeking donations of money, fruit, fruit trees, and seeds. They are giving opportunities to local artists to get recognition and sell their work to raise funds for the needed supplies.
Eventually, when food and funds become abundant enough, vets, homeless people, and other underprivileged citizens will be hired on to help maintain the gardens and forests and disperse food. They will be paid with donations and all the food and herb spices that they need.
Ken must buy these trees from nurseries and in turn gives them to the places that will take care of them such as parks, schools, and community gardens. But like anything worthwhile, this costs money.
To help Ken Hansen with his program, visit his Facebook page
You can contact him directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to make donations go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/findyozen
What Ken is doing for this generation and future generations is very important. He deserves community support in his efforts.
Since the dawn of time, in all cultures, trees have been revered. To humanity, they represent life, growth, peace, and nature.
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
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