A Graduation Celebration

Written by Plant With Purpose on June 7, 2012 in General

If it’s not your niece, it’s your neighbor. If it’s not your dog walker’s sister, it’s your barber’s grandson.

Graduation season is here!

Plant With Purpose is joining the celebration with a commencement of our very own, cap and gown not required. It’s our pleasure to announce that the village of Tocoa, Dominican Republic is graduating!

Just like a kid beginning their school year with fresh crayons and new lunchbox in hand, we understand that no one can stay where they first started; they must continue pursuing their goals. At Plant With Purpose, we always begin work in a village with the end in mind. We focus on fostering initiatives and innovation that will lead to self-sufficiency. More important than planting trees or granting loans or partnering with churches, empowering communities to solve their own problems is what leads to the greatest success.

We are delighted that our work in Tocoa is ending because that means the progress and the transformation has just begun.

When we first partnered with the community of Tocoa, the situation was bleak. Farmers practiced slash and burn agriculture and mostly harvested yucca and other crops that provided little protection for the soil, resulting in low crop yields, low income, and increasing erosion. The environment was destroyed, and water was as scarce as the limited opportunities for economic advancement.

After years of partnership with Plant With Purpose, the community has transformed. Varieties of acacia, eucalyptus, pine, cedar, and cocoa line the once barren hillsides (see how tall the trees are in the picture to the right!). Streams have begun to flow again and the community’s natural resources are protected. Economic opportunity abounds as families can sell timber, fruit, coffee, and certified organic cocoa from their agroforestry plots for income. The community is also thriving on a spiritual level. Since partnering with Plant With Purpose, churches have been equipped to minister to their communities and church membership and engagement is on the rise.

Farmer Luis Garcia (pictured above) says, “My life is not the same as before, I have a lot of awareness about environmental care. I really like planting trees. I have in my plot: pine trees, cedar, mahogany, and eucalyptus. I learned that fire is harmful to soils. I have improved my income. I sent my children to college, I have improved my home, and I have a vehicle in good condition to do my errands.”

Luis Garcia is just one of hundreds of community members Plant With Purpose has partnered with in the community of Tocoa to bring about lasting transformation. We are so encouraged by the progress that has been made, and look forward to continued growth in the community of Tocoa as they work together toward a brighter future.

This accomplishment calls for some excessive celebration, so do a backflip, cartwheel, or superhero jump across the metaphorical stage with us as we say, “Congratulations, Tocoa!”

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