Agroforestry for Schools and Society
Duration of the partnership
Every year in France, 11,000km of hedgerow is uprooted, and just 3000km of new hedgerow planted, in spite of the many ecosystem services provided by these features of the landscape. Be they in the hedgerows or standing proudly in the middle of a field, trees are disappearing from the French countryside, never to return. This environmental disaster is compounded by the plight of cut-off farmers, who often lack the financial, technical and physical means to restore their enclosed landscapes.
Marie-France Barrier highlights all of this in her documentary « Le Temps des Arbres » (“The time of trees”).
The association Des Enfants et des Arbres was set up after this documentary to really put the agro-ecological transition into practice. It seeks to create a sense of common purpose and help all the farmers who have been left with nowhere to turn when it comes to restoring hedgerows.
The association launches calls for projects through which it supports farmers all over France, giving them the funds to plant trees in and around their land. To smooth the way, Des Enfants et des Arbres organises planting projects that bring together farmers, local associations and stakeholders bringing technical support, and classes of schoolchildren aged 9 to 12 providing the helping hand needed to plant the trees. In fact, the movement was set up in part to enable the younger generation to take the future into their hands, by getting those hands dirty under the unifying branches of the trees above us.
In 2 planting seasons, Des Enfants et des Arbres has already generated a positive, unifying force, planting 15,000 trees on 90 farms with the help of 4000 children.
Now, the MDM Foundation has entered into a three-year partnership with the association to strengthen its local presence, get more farmers on board and put on more awareness-raising campaigns. The main aims of this alliance are threefold:
Direct beneficiaries of these projects are the 100 farmers whose dreams of new hedges and agroforestry systems can be brought to life, not to mention the 100 schools who will take part in various ways.
Indirect beneficiaries are local stakeholders and everyone else who enjoys the countryside. At the same time, around this work, the association has managed to bring together a diverse community with a place for everyone: those who work with trees, those who are just beginning to learn about trees, the farmers who plant them, solidarity enterprises and networks of teachers committed to this transition. The sheer variety of expertise and opinions reflects the willingness of these parties to adopt a holistic approach driven by and for local communities.
The approach taken by Des Enfants et des Arbres shows how eager the association is to promote growth and bring people on board, as well as to spread solidarity in local areas. This approach starts with a common vision, a roadmap and tools to draw local people in, fostering commitment and leaving the agro-ecological revolution in their hands.
The association Des Enfants et des Arbres was created in 2019 with the aim of promoting the agro-ecological transition, the implementation of agroforestry and the regeneration of bocage hedges, by encouraging secondary school classes to plant trees with and at the homes of farmers in their area. In the last two years, the association Des Enfants Et Des Arbres has already managed to carry out two agroforestry, school and solidarity planting campaigns, enabling 15,000 trees to be planted on the premises of 90 farmers with the participation of 4,000 children. Des Enfants Et Des Arbres has been able to establish a work mechanism that allows them to easily spread their action, by guiding, empowering and making the beneficiaries responsible for the project.