Contributor Spotlight: December 2020


Hey Greenstand community! Welcome to this month’s System User Spotlight! For this installment, we interviewed Jon Trimarco, the founder of one of our partner organizations, Fairtree.

The idea for Fairtree emerged six years ago. Jon and his colleagues were regenerating acacia trees in Northern Kenya when they realized that if they wanted to manage such a spread-out project and fund their work with tree planting money, they would need to somehow combine a geotagging app with a verification system and payment platform. By 2019, Jon had found the perfect partner in Greenstand, who was developing exactly this sort of system. Since then, Jon has dedicated the last year to working with Greenstand in building and testing the pay-to-grow system. In the process, he and some other members of Greenstand found that, in order for the system to reach its full potential, there would still need to be a tree-planting organization that is specifically designed to mobilize and train new growers, manage the process, and fundraise on their behalf. So, they built Fairtree.org, which is a planting organization created in tight partnership with Greenstand, the technology development organization.

In addition to tracking trees with Greenstand, Fairtree handles pay-to-grow systems on the ground. Our symbiotic partnership allows us to develop our organizations side-by-side; feedback from Fairtree provides insight into developing Greenstand’s financial technology. Fairtree’s pay-to-grow model has been used on multiple Greenstand projects, including our recent partnership with The World Bank and their planting efforts with the local government of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Fairtree is a planting initiative whose main objective is to find communities that are passionate about growing new trees and help them achieve best reforestation practices. For example, some of Fairtree projects are based on farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR), which is a highly effective reforestation technique that can now be funded like planted seedlings, because of the Treetracker app and the pay-to-grow system. Once their tree captures are verified by the Greenstand team, Fairtree facilitates payments to the responsible growers.

Fairtree began tracking their first 10,000 trees in Kenya, and they have since expanded to Tanzania, with several new projects coming on board there and in Uganda.  In addition to continuing their projects in Kenya and Tanzania, the organization is expected to begin planting in Uganda and Ghana soon. Their goal is to build out an in-country management system for each nation they expand into, in order to ensure that the pay-to-grow system is established effectively, such that growers on the ground are the ones driving and benefiting from their work.

Fairtree is looking to expand their partner organizations and projects. They not only focus on making pay-to-grow work for their own projects, but assist other established organisations to use the system as well. If you’re interested in collaborating with them to sustainably reforest sub-Saharan Africa and help tree growers make a living from environmental stewardship, reach out to Jon Trimarco and his team at partner@fairtree.org. 


Erin Baker

Communications Lead, Greenstand

erin.baker@greenstand.org


Fairtree logo linking to Fairtree.org