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Turn villages into fruit orchards and expanding the green cover !

A supporter for this eco-activist in South India, Mr.YogaNathan. (http://yogutrees.com/about-me.html)

Photo of Vasu

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Climate change, declining water table, failing agriculture, high cost of labor as workers moving to support tech/industrial/construction jobs, resulting in large spots of barren suburban and rural lands. These lands are often under-utilized, sold as investment property that slowly transform into residential areas, thus an ever expanding sub-urban area widening its greedy tentacles for more. Not so long ago, here stood one of the best eco-systems in the world, elephants, lions and tigers roaming around- with ever green forests and tropical climate – that is NOW caught in between industrial growth and negligence. In the world of instant gratification, we forgot, it took millions of years for the earth to become this beautiful place that we inhabit (forgetting we cohabit), thus the slow but the steady long term benefits of growing trees somehow lost its appeal. Here comes Mr.YogaNathan (Yogu), a humble “bus” conductor with “a drive” to promote the green cover, had “no stops” for the past 30 years, and still going strong. “Hold on”, let’s “break” for a second – forgot to mention, his important stops are school campuses where his trees also grow along with the children, much like them, pretty tall and handsome! 3000 school visits and 100,000 trees, still counting. Mr.Yogu received numerous awards he didn't dream, while his actual dream is to plant 5 different fruit trees for every house, and keep rolling them out forever!, until all the vacant lands are filled with fruit yielding trees. To realize that dream, he needs 6 acres of land and initial funding - to kick off the project on a sound infrastructure with a sustainable operational base , enabling him to operate 10 times faster (30,000 trees in just 3 years) and also serving well into the future! We believe, this project resonates with empowering lasting peace by creating more food, more income, and a better environmental quality of life for all, via these plantings, within a few years.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

This project begins with rural agricultural villages and suburbs surrounding Coimbatore, South India, that has 40%+ poverty rate. Phase-1 starting from the southern suburb Vellalore and neighboring Singai Nagar, Vaigai Nagar, Pattanam and OndiPudhur, Phase 2 and 3 will expand into North, and West. The far reaching benefits are truly immeasurable, starting from villages LOCALLY to improving Environment GLOBALLY!. Benefiting the society as a whole, with the abundant supply of local produce - help fight malnutrition among poor while healthy fruits become affordable for everyone. Caring for the trees promotes health in elderly and kids, while local communities are empowered - raising awareness and support for more eco-conservation efforts. Earning opportunities Village society, women's self-help group and Social Work graduate interns. Funding for nursery and operational costs will help Mr.YogaNathan to achieve his dream - fruit orchards everywhere and restoration of green cover!

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Tree planting events gain publicity, but sadly very few trees survive lacking active community participation. However, In this project “no tree is left behind”, and “we stand by them”. Mr.YogaNathan, The Eco-Warrior with a track record of influencing 3000+ schools into embracing the green cover, now, expanding into suburb/rural areas - using “community presentations” that enable villagers to realize the benefits of fruit bearing trees (sales pitch) and teaching them tree care (active participation). The planted saplings are recorded and monitored for growth, failing ones quickly replaced, with yield starting year 2-3, attracting buyers. THIS PROJECT * IS CONTINUOUS – no stopping after 3 years * Will REPLICATE AND SCALE – into every suburb/rural area. + Your funding provides the foundation, a nursery to grow free saplings forever! + A herbal garden - free medicinal plants promoting awareness and home remedies. * Trees and Fruits => Improved Health,Wealth and Env.Care!

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Keep expanding sustainable green cover in villages, so the earth can sleep cozily under the green blanket! http://yogutrees.com/about-me.html http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/deeprooted-love/article2365223.ece

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Other

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

A chance meeting during my India visit, I met Mr.Yogu at his residence. After listening to his achievements and awards, asked “Is there any way I can help?!", thinking a 100$ donation (6500 INR) would make me proud. His reply “All I need is every household to plant a tree”, made me feel so small and humbled!. Imagine a man with the Midas touch for greenery, still dependent outside sources for sapling supply, so I committed to buy a land for nursery – still short of funds.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Waste land turned into orchards, edible fruits, cooler neighborhoods, green cover that fetches more rain, restoring ecology – that will catch up like a wildfire. Per Statistics 40% of the rural India suffer from food insecurity and malnutrition; So healthy fruits are out of reach, unless grown in abundance locally. Free supply of fruit trees is an irresistible offer– with women self-help groups, volunteers and households collaborate in planting, also create/strengthen a platform to represent the community’s aspirations. The funds will facilitate the nursery setup, where free saplings grown by a lot of neighborhood volunteers (from kids to seniors), a true community involvement. Mr.Yogu, a master planter / teacher will utilize his 30+ years of experience to train the staff and set the tree planting in motion – targeting 30,000 trees in the next 2.5 years covering 200 villages– certain to turn heads and every region will follow suit.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

In the last 30 years Mr.Yogu has planted over 100,000 trees by teaching school children in southern India’s Tamil region to plant them. He teaches the many values of healthy trees, then takes students into the field to do the plantings themselves. Via this model he has forged thousands of friendships across the Tamil region, his home state. Having already worked with 3000+ schools, our project aims to expand his successful and popular tree planting model from schools to village homes by establishing a nursery, which can then partner easily with Mr. Yogu's 100s of contacts, like * Newspapers and TV channels have covered Mr.Yogu’s work * Social media like WhatsApp groups that attract new supporters like me * Officials from School,Income Tax,Police,Forest and Agri Depts * Youth, Senior citizens and public in the locality Also, Thanks to Chris Searles from BioIntegrity.Net supporting us. Finally, Mr.Yogu has setup TREE TRUST, a non-profit to promote greenery.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Residents of the rural villages and suburbans, inherently have the skills to support the project. They have local council of elected members, women's self-help groups and village society - all can be motivated to work together. Trees suitable for the soil can do well, unlike the water intensive cash crops that may have failed them. It's the encouragement, nurturing and team work that's going to make the plan a reality. A win-win for the villages and us.

Geographic Focus

The project will focus select villages around Coimbatore, TamilNadu that is part of South India .

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The timeline for various phases : First 6 months — Phase 1, purchase land, set up/supply onsite nursery. Next 6 months — Phase 2, three teams install 6,000 trees in 6 months across roughly 30 villages. Next 24 months — Phase 3, four teams install 26,000 trees in roughly 140 villages, 9 months out of the year, for two years. We strongly believe the success will attract statewide interest, thus more funding and support for expansion.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

12 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Vicky S.
Team

What a wonderful idea! Have you considered establishing a GoFund Me as well? If children and the communities they live in continue to nurture this initiative, the future can only get greener! I'd love to hear more from your initiative in the future.

The fact that you are focusing on fruit-bearing trees and herbal gardens is amazing. Not only would that reduce hunger, it would help communities become more self-reliant and healthy.

Congratulations and thank you for trying to do your part in creating a greener future for all of us. Every bit helps and hopefully your idea will spread onto other parts of the world (especially developing countries) within the next few years.

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Thank you Vicky S. for the kind words and ideas . This is Mr.Yogu's dream project and we are working towards that.

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Ezra Jay - Thank you so much Jay, for the cool offer! wonderful. Sure will give it a try.

Spam
Photo of David Ezra Jay
Team

Hi Vasu, Simply download the app and locate your trees. Your trees can be found at treetracker.org.
When you are ready to a specific map of your trees, or a link to a funding organization, please reach out to us at Info@greenstand.org.
Excited about working together.
Ezra

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Hi Jay, Mr.Yogu and the school groups often do not have a smart phone. Those planted at the schools are taken care by students and school coordinators, getting them into using smart phone app will take sometime. We are very much interested in the offer, will reach out to you when we are ready with the logistics, in our next phase of plantings. Thank you, Vasu

Spam
Photo of David Ezra Jay
Team

Hello Vasu,
We are targeting areas of extreme poverty and understand that people do not normally have smartphones. However, at this point, nearly everyone knows someone with one. If your students are planting a few trees, we are probably not a good fit, but if you can find a phone and suddenly upload several thousand trees, we GreenStand will make sure you have a good phone quickly.

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Jay, They have planted 10,000 trees over 230+ schools in the last 2 months, so on average 50 trees per school, some schools have space for just 20-30 while others have 100s, and not all those schools are in extreme poverty zones. So, we will approach @greenstand with for a suitable project in the near future.

Please refer to the last section of this link for the latest work :
http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/tree-plantation-in-the-city-picks-up-pace-as-the-monsoons-arrive/article24144328.ece

Spam
Photo of David Ezra Jay
Team

Hi Vasu, Super sweet idea.
Trees are an amazing - the fundamental building block for environmental restoration. I understand the challenges of growing and how far most farmers are from understanding that leaves bring nutrients to their soil. We are launching a project to support ideas like yours. We are looking for people who are planting trees. If you are planting our you have a network of people who are already planting, you can simply verify your efforts with our app and we link these efforts to funds. I would love to keep a conversation going with you. You can read more about our organization and project at www.greenstand.org or you can check it more on the idea here: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/review/greenstand
If you would like support for your planting email:info@greenstand.org

Spam
Photo of Chang Lee
Team

This is quite the vision and an interesting idea. I appreciate the focus on community participation and the engagement of school children in the initiative to get them learning and appreciating from early on issues around conservation, agriculture and even nutrition (they are fruit trees after all). I would be interested in learning more about some of the contributing factors Mr. Yogu has found leading to the poor rate of survival (of the planted tree samplings that grow into actual fruit-bearing trees). Also, is nutrition or even income generation a focus/motivation in this initiative or primarily conservation?

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Chang Lee - really appreciate your kind words! and thank you for the question.
Mostly, a little water in the hot summer and protection from cattle is sufficient for 80%+ growth, a huge advantage in tropical climate. Our idea is primarily conversation only, though fruit trees are a tempting option as the owner see them as an asset, not as a trouble (raking leaves etc) , so we expect a higher adaption rate compared to regular trees.
Today, fruits are unbelievably expensive, this project will change it.

Spam
Photo of Vasu
Team

Thank you bikash gurung for your great question. The biggest differentiating factor is Mr.YogaNathan, our foot soldier and his supporters. With his successful green school campus programs and raising an orchard in Coimbatore prison with inmates and planting in surrounding villages - received similar offers from village council to extend the work. In the past he had partnered with Mr.Nammalvar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G._Nammalvar) in similar initiative - hence I summarized it as a Pilot experience. Will update after receiving more info from Mr.Yogu.
Thanks for asking!

Spam
Photo of bikash gurung
Team

Hi Vasu , thanks for sharing our idea. Your idea looks interesting. It seems you have already piloted the project, I am particularly keen to learn what are the results of the work, what has been the response of the community so far, what were the challenge you faced? . Since there has been few similar ideas in this challenge, what makes you stand out ? Looking forward to hearing from you.