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Timberland Helps Haiti Plant 2 Million Trees, and Counting



          Timberland Helps Haiti Plant 2 Million Trees, and Counting

Self-financing model of agroforestry brings sustainable benefits to farmers,
communities and the natural environment in Haiti

PR Newswire

STRATHAM, N.H., Jan. 28, 2013

STRATHAM, N.H., Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Three years after committing to
plant 5 million trees in five years, Timberland shares progress of improved
environmental, economic and social conditions in the rural region near
Gonaives, Haiti.  In partnership with a local non-governmental organization,
the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, Timberland supports an agroforestry program
to train Haitian farmers to improve crop yields – and has planted 2.2 million
trees along the way.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130128/NY48681 )

In 2010, Timberland teamed up with representatives from the Smallholder
Farmers Alliance to create a self-sustaining agroforestry model that would
deliver agricultural improvement, environmental restoration and economic
growth for participating farmers through the development of eight community
tree nurseries and agricultural training centers. This pilot cooperative,
which is reliant on private sector, non-profit and community partnership, will
plant a million more trees in 2013, 2014 and 2015, for a total of 5 million.

"When this program began, our vision was to create a model that could be
self-financing within a reasonable amount of time and would generate positive
social, environmental and economic impact," says Margaret Morey-Reuner,
Timberland's senior manager of values marketing.  "The great results so far
are a testament to the camaraderie, hard work and independence of these
farmers as well as to this private sector, NGO and community stakeholder
collaboration."

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance engaged a group of 2,000 small-scale farmers
in the rural area near Gonaives, Haiti, and transformed the group into a
for-profit agroforestry cooperative. After just three years of investment, the
cooperative continues as a farmer-managed, self-financed operation. This
innovation in "exit strategy aid," which sets a time limit on external
funding, tackles a key challenge faced by corporate organizations when getting
involved in sustainability or disaster relief projects on the ground in
developing nations.

The farmers volunteer their time to manage the tree nurseries and plant trees
in return for agricultural services that result in increased crop yields of
between 40 and 50 percent. These services provide high yield seed, training in
crop management, in-field technical support and the good quality tools needed
to produce higher yields of sorghum, beans, corn and other food items. Farmers
sell their crops individually, but the cooperative supports them by paying for
these continued services with the sale of excess trees from the farmer-run
tree nurseries.

"The pilot program represents a break with the traditional development model
that often lasts only as long as the external funding," said Hugh Locke,
co-founder and president of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. "Following the
pilot's success, we will launch the next agroforestry cooperative in July when
we begin working with the next group of 2,000 farmers in a different location.
We're planning to follow with many more cooperatives as the nation's farmers
start to take the lead in restoring the tree cover – without which no country
can prosper sustainably."

The true test of the success of this program came when farmers throughout
Haiti lost between 40 and 70 percent of their crops as a result of hurricanes
Isaac and Sandy last year. Income from tree sales enabled cooperative members
to purchase extra seed to replant their storm-damaged fields, and the
cooperative took care of each other without turning to government or donor
sources for assistance.

Timberland continues to be the principal sponsor of the Smallholder Farmers
Alliance, and has collaborated with NGO's including the Clinton Global
Initiative to identify a customer base and sustainable market based solutions
for the members of the farmer cooperative. To learn more about Timberland's
tree planting efforts visit http://community.timberland.com/tree-planting.

About Timberland

Timberland, a wholly owned subsidiary of VF Corporation, is a global leader in
the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and
accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. 
Timberland markets products under the Timberland^®, Timberland PRO^®, Mountain
Athletics^®, and Timberland Boot Company^® brands, all of which offer quality
workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. 
The company's products can be found in leading department and specialty stores
as well as Timberland^® retail stores throughout North America, Europe, Asia,
Latin America, South America, South Africa and the Middle East.  Timberland's
dedication to making quality products is matched by the company's commitment
to "doing well and doing good" -- forging powerful partnerships among
employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in
which they live and work.  To learn more about Timberland, please visit
www.timberland.com.  

About Smallholder Farmers Alliance

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) is a non-governmental organization that
works with small-scale farmers in Haiti to help restore tree cover and
increase food production. The SFA creates agroforestry cooperatives designed
to be self-financing and farmer-managed following a limited period of training
and external funding. This innovative, market-based development model results
in the planting of significant numbers of trees as well as higher food crop
yields and improved livelihoods in rural communities. To lean more about the
Smallholder Farmers Alliance, please visit www.smallholderfarmersalliance.org.

CONTACT:
Katherine Harris
Porter Novelli
212-601-8305
Katherine.Harris@porternovelli.com

SOURCE Timberland

Website: http://community.timberland.com/tree-planting
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