The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

About

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants around the world to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants.

At the forefront of a global movement towards sustainability, we follow organic practices and encourage others to do the same, thus spreading the life-sustaining ecological diversity of fruit trees throughout the world. Our mission is to strategically donate orchards where the need is greatest and the harvest will best serve communities for generations.

Fruit from our orchards will help fight hunger through a sustainable source of nutrition, teach communities organic horticultural best practices, clean the air, water, and soil, provide shade for animals, supply an additional income for families, and serve as an edible classroom for school children to learn about the importance of trees for themselves, their communities, and the future!

Website
ftpf.org
Founded
2002
Headquarters

P.O. Box 81881
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Erik
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation organized a wonderful experience planting fruit trees in the neighboring communities. Everything was taken care of; lodging, transportation and a few local excursions. The staff was friendly and helpful. It was an "easy" project. We physically worked hard, but it didn't feel like work. We met so many people and made new friends, very rewarding! I can't wait for 2019!

Default avatar
Liz
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not only was this my very first international trip with FTPF, it was also my first time volunteering abroad period. I had lived in South America, but living/working in a city and volunteering with a NGO in rural towns are very different things.

I spent an amazing week in which I felt both challenged and at ease simultaneously; every day was full of new experiences and chances to learn. I racked up knowledge on planting techniques, organic tree care, how to say new words in Spanish, Salvadoran lingo, local foods, this small country's fascinating and unhappy history, traditional uses for medical plants, and the list goes on and on. But the best part was just being in these small towns, or in the schools, or in people's homes where you felt completely part of their lives. It was not a vacation or a tourist experience, but truly a slice of life in El Salvador at this moment.

I have since continued volunteering with FTPF, but as my first international trip with the organization, I can say that this project really lit the fire of my passion for their work. I highly recommend this trip to anyone looking to have a tangible impact on a local AND global level, while also getting off the beaten track and truly seeing a country. Me encanta El Salvador!

Cathleen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent a week in June of 2015 helping the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation plant trees in El Salvador. I am a 62 year old woman and I had just started traveling abroad. I really had little interest in going to Central America, but I have a lot of respect for FTP. I had such a wonderful experience! If you want to really meet people and get a true understanding of a country's culture, planting trees with a group like FTPF is the way to do so. We planted at schools and co-ops. I met school principles, students, teachers and local farmers. I was invited into their homes, shared their meals, met their children and spouses. I marched in the National Environmental Day parade in San Salvador with hundreds of local groups. I ate the local food, (yay pupusas!) drank the local beer, drove the local streets with a local driver at rush hour (not for the faint of heart), and was made to feel welcome everywhere I went. The personal satisfaction I got from knowing I was giving something tangible to a country in extreme need without asking for anything but for them to care for the trees and enjoy their fruit was wonderful. I would recommend to anyone of any age to try this experience. I hope to return in the future.

Response from The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Cat, come back and join us anytime! You were so wonderful to have along and brought such joy and enthusiasm throughout the week.

Default avatar
Liz
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an experience! This was my second trip with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation as a volunteer (my first trip was to El Salvador earlier in 2014), and now I am addicted.

There are several factors that make this such a unique experience -- 1) The access to the real Uganda and the day-to-day lives of the people is unmatched. Because these projects take place all over, and especially in areas that are more rural and in serious need of fresh food, you are more often than not the only traveler in the area. Sometimes the kids even get star-struck because they have never seen a "mzungu" before! I had so many real conversations with people, and felt like I gained a nice insight into the lives of people who live in a very different place than where I am from. I haven't experienced this kind of travel outside of when I lived long-term in South America -- and this was just a two week trip!

2) I really felt that I made a difference. Every tree that I helped plant will grow to bear hundreds of pounds of fruit and live for decades. Even if I only planted one tree, that is a big impact! Now think about the hundreds of trees I actually helped to put into the ground, and the environmental, local, and personal level of impact is simply amazing.

3) The safari at the end of the project was the perfect end to the week. Giraffes, warthogs, lions, chimps, hippos, elephants, crocodiles....plus just being on the Nile River, hanging out with the group of volunteers and staff for a few days. It is a once in a lifetime experience.

Overall, I loved my time in Uganda. I'd recommend this trip to anyone who wants to get a feel for this country, and to really make an impact in an area that needs this kind of environmental work and education.

Default avatar
Mark
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent one week in El Salvador in 2014 with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation helping to plant 10,000 trees with children at schools and at family-owned farming cooperatives, providing training and education on the benefits of trees and proper tree planting techniques.

Each day brought a new adventure, on days that we weren’t at schools planting trees and educating children we would be at farming cooperatives planting trees with farmers. The work was focused in the western region of El Salvador where we worked in low-income areas, in mountain villages and along the Pacific coast, and at schools in remote mountain areas and in villages. We traveled from place to place in a pickup truck with a Spanish-English interpreter who is local to El Salvador and who translated our messages to the locals. FTPF staff ensured that we were safe, well hydrated, and had adequate food and a safe place to sleep. While the work was gratifying, spending time and getting to know the FTPF staff was equally as rewarding. The FTPF staff is a genuine group of people who have the utmost respect for humanity and nature. Not only that, but they are friendly and like to laugh and make you laugh…a lot!

The impact of planting thousands of fruit trees in El Salvador is tremendous and will only grow as the trees grow. The most rewarding thing about this trip, was working with children and families. Knowing that the trees we planted will provide a source of nourishment and a source of income for a poor family is really a profoundly positive feeling.

I honestly could not find a better use of my time than volunteering with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF).

What would you improve about this program?
More comfortable transportation would be ideal. However, I have this problem everywhere as most vehicles aren't made for a 6'6" big guy.
Response from The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Thank you for joining us Mark, we loved having you! You were a great addition to the team :)

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Lizzy Rainey

Job Title
Special Projects Coordinator
Lizzy found her home with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation in 2013, where her love of avocados, new cultures, getting her hands dirty, and impactful travel fit perfectly into her role as the foundation's Project Coordinator. She has traveled with FTPF on planting expeditions from Central America to Africa and all across US, eating as much fruit as possible along the way.
Volunteering in Uganda

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?

Turkey!

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!

Lizzy with a 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.