Trees for the Future’s John Leary Presents “One Shot” to Tackle Deforestation and Malnutrition

June 9, 2017

Ashleigh Burgess, Strategic Partnerships and Development Manager, Trees for the Future

Trees for the Future’s Executive Director John Leary leads a training in Senegal (Courtesy: Trees for the Future)

Over the last 40 years, entire countries have been stripped of a primary natural resource: trees. Most deforestation has occurred to make room for agriculture. Yet, in the coming decade, there will be nearly 2 billion undernourished people. There is a constant pressure to trade more forests for food. One Shot: Trees as Our Last Chance for Survival provides a compelling look at the state of the world’s agriculture and its evolving impact on people and the environment. One Shot takes readers on an evolving journey from the peanut fields of Africa to the corn fields of America; connecting seven of the world’s most pressing challenges to farming practices, and offering the revival of Forest Gardens as a core agricultural solution. Author John Leary describes how the act of planting trees has far-reaching, branching effects that lead to solutions for reversing desertification, water scarcity, hunger, poverty, climate change, and emigration.

John Leary is the Executive Director of Trees for the Future where he focuses on helping end hunger and extreme poverty for rural African farmers through promoting a sustainable method of agriculture called the Forest Garden. John has extensive experience living with and among the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and deep knowledge of international agricultural development. He speaks three languages and has lived and worked in 13 developing countries, getting to know the real issues that people face in rural places, their needs, and working alongside them to engender change. John has dedicated his life to creating innovative program and training approaches that empower farmers to rise out of poverty, including award-winning programs that are currently in use throughout the developing world.

A Cameroonian farmer in his Forest Garden (Courtesy: Trees for the Future)

Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Senegal, John witnessed firsthand how communities suffer – both economically and nutritionally – when their environment is deforested. He saw how precious biodiversity is lost and watersheds dry up with the removal of tree cover. After 15 years of trial and error to learn which sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry techniques work and which ones don’t, John has led the design of the world’s first Forest Garden Training Center, a new online platform that aims to certify thousands of new trainers worldwide in Forest Garden technical and training facilitation skills. Through this training, and John’s book, Trees for the Future hopes to give rural smallholders a better chance at making their lives better through tree planting. Discover why trees are our One Shot for rebuilding our food systems and ecosystems in John’s new book, and stay tuned to Trees for the Future for upcoming announcements on the launch of their new online training center. The book is available on Amazon and through