What is your favorite travel memory?
Easy. This year I had the experience of seeing the literal fruits of our labor (please excuse the pun)...
On our annual trip to El Salvador, we were doing follow-up visits to previous orchard recipients. These are always pleasant as you get to see the trees grow and re-visit with people. We return to one particular cooperative every year, and this year we were led to one of the farmer's properties that really wanted to show us his trees.
Upon arrival, we were floored. There stood an orchard full of beautiful, fruiting mango trees. After just four years, this farmer told us he is supporting his entire family on the sale of his mangos from his FTPF trees. There it was, our mission in action. Seeing this in person, after just a few short years, was beyond what I expected that day...and something I will never forget.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Yes and no.
No -- I still love avocados. I still get giddy when I see a tree that has grown its first fruit. I still love the smell of freshly dug earth. I still think kids planting trees is adorable. I still believe that our world has far too few fruit trees, and that a community without a community orchard is not being fully served.
Yes -- I am more flexible, because I know that each community, city, state, and country presents its own set of problems and challenges. I also know a lot more about trees, and the amazing variety of fruit that exist in the world!
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I have never been to this part of the world, and more importantly, I am obsessed with two of their native trees: the pistachio and olive. I know people don't think of these as the most glamorous of fruit trees, but they are two of the most ancient...the oldest tree in the world is a 2,000 year old olive tree!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our projects impact each of the pieces that contribute to happy and healthy community: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we plant in; the food we eat; the beauty and pride of our neighborhoods; a connection to nature.
Most importantly, no one I have ever met thinks what we are doing isn't great. Every person, no matter their background, their beliefs, their age, or their position in life, believes that fruit trees are a good thing for our planet. The phrase I hear most often is: "How can we get some fruit trees?!" I am proud of FTPF every time someone asks me this question.