Reviewed by Helen Wyatt
I was lucky enough to be given a rather unique gift to review recently. It wasn’t something I ever expected to try, or had even heard of, so finding out more about this amazing idea has very much part of the fun! So, what is it? Treedom are an online platform that allows you to purchase a tree that someone else plants for you, and then you follow it online. Sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it! The company was founded in 2010 in Florence and have since planted more than 1 million trees in Africa, South America and Italy! What you are doing by purchasing a tree to be planted is supporting local farmers to work, particularly in the early years when their trees are not yet productive.
So how did it work? It’s easy! You go to www.treedom.net and select to plant a tree. From here you can select from all sorts of different available trees such as cacao, banana, coffee or mango. You can even purchase a monthly subscription to buy 1 or more trees per month. I chose a cacao tree, which costs just over £13. You simply add it to your basket, and pay. What you notice at this point is a reminder of what the purchase of a tree can actually do. The list is very long but it includes things like construction of a nursery, maintenance of the plant until it goes to the farmer, training farmers, photographing the plant and recording the coordinates, and replacing failed plants. You can even gift a tree to someone else, which is such a lovely idea in this virtual world we’re all living in. You can do this at checkout, or even once you’ve received your tree info and set things up later.
Treedom is currently working in 17 different countries around the world, and supporting over 85k farmers. The environmental benefits of planting a tree in this way are improved CO2 absorption, protection of biodiversity, contrasting soil erosion and deforestation, and reforestation. The socio economic benefits are direct financing of local farmers, giving farmers choice over the trees to plant, covering the costs up to the tree’s productive phase and training an income opportunities for farmers.
Each tree gets its own unique ID. When you purchase it, it will still be in a nursery, but due to its geolocation being noted, you can always find out where your tree is in the world. Once it is ready to be planted, it will be photographed, and then you can regularly see your actual tree! You can name your tree (I was silly and named mine Bob). My Cacao tree named Bob is somewhere in Cameroon, awaiting planting when it is big and strong enough. When I click to see the info about my tree, it is shown as a little seedling graphic, and there is a place to leave comments, along with the precise latitude and longitude! I can’t wait to see my tree grow and be planted out, ready to produce cacao beans and be a great source of food and other items to the local farmers. I’m already contemplating gifting some trees for Christmas, particularly to those who are living far away and don’t really need any more “stuff”. This is a much better present, and actually can be really fulfilling to the recipient, due to all the good it does!
This product can be purchased from the Treedom website here.