Zatoun Trees for Life

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Logo of the Zatoun-Trees for Life program.

Zatoun Trees for Life certificate

Sample Certificate

Full colour, quality certificate issued via email.

Zatoun Trees for Life planting

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“Even if I knew the world would come to an end tomorrow, I would go into the garden and plant an olive tree. Unless we plant now, there will be no shade for our children, no oil to heal the wounds, no olive branches to wave for peace when it comes.”

 Father Mitri Raheb, Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem

Helping Farmers stay on the land and have a future

Not merely a heading “Planting Peace in Palestine” is a statement of our sincere belief that Palestine must have a viable economy and its people a means to earning a livelihood if there is to be a just peace.

The Trees for Life: Planting Peace in Palestine program provides individual Palestinian farmers with new olive tree saplings (3 years old) to plant and nurture in order to renew their decimated groves. The project helps offset the enormous destruction of olive trees by the Israeli army, settlers and the illegal Annexation Wall. It also helps starter and women farmers.

Olive growers in the regions of Jenin, Nablus and Salfit receive 25 to 50 olive tree saplings each. The program was designed to keep costs to a minimum. The cost per tree sapling has unfortunately been increasing over time.  The two greatest factors are cost of saplings from nurseries and most significantly the cost of water  to help ensure survival of saplings in the all-important first year. 

Originally launched in late 2005, the Trees for Life program was conceived by Zatoun-Canada to share with partners around the world and has been met with enthusiastic support. With on the ground help from Canaan Fair Trade and Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) in Palestine, the program was designed to ensure an equitable and efficient program providing maximum benefit to farming families who need it the most.

PFTA representatives deliver and help distribute the olive saplings and ensure prompt planting. They also visit all participant farmers after planting to ensure proper care of the trees and assess watering needs for the summer months. Farmers requiring assistance to water trees during summer will be assisted by PFTA.

The program helps connect Palestinian fair trade farmers and producers to the grassroots fair trade movement in Europe and North America in a meaningful way. The Trees for Life project is solely funded by grassroots movements abroad and invested in the fair trade movement in Palestine.

The sponsorship program is based on certificates of 3 saplings for $20. However you can sponsor any number of certificates (multiples of 3) or make a donation in any fixed dollar amount.  Certificates are issued to acknowledge the sponsorship.  These can be in the giver’s name or in someone else’s name.

Goal for 2019

For 2019, the world-wide goal for Trees for Life is to plant 10,000 olive tree saplings in approximately 250 farms distributed over 25 agricultural areas across Palestine.

Zatoun has contributed almost $250,000 across eleven planting seasons. This is a combination of contributions from proceeds of Zatoun olive oil sales and direct donations / sponsorships received from individuals across North America as well as organizations such as US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, American Friends Service Committee, Ten Thousand Villages and Independent Jewish Voices in Canada and inumberable diverse activist and faith communities.

Thousands of olive tree sapling are planted in Palestine every year beginning in late-January through to March.  See summary statistics of plantings since 2006: Click here

How the program works and recipients are selected

A committee of farmers from PFTA implements and administers the program.  Farmers interested in participating in the project apply through PFTA coordinators.  Allocations are granted based on the following criteria which the applicant must meet:

  • Be a certified member of the PFTA for production of olive oil. If a new farmer, applicant must demonstrate readiness to become fair trade certified
  • Own land suitable for the number of trees applied for
  • Demonstrate capacity to care for and nurture the trees
  • Be ready to prepare land for a collective tree plantation day. All trees must be planted the same day delivered

Priority will be given to the following applicants:

  • Farmers who have lost trees to Israeli destruction and uprooting
  • Small farmers
  • Farms owned or run by women and are interested in farming
  • Young starter farmers that have inherited or acquired land

Trees are planted each year between Tree Day (January 15) and Land Day (March 30). The ritual of planting connects growers to their international supporters and the fair trade movement.

Visit the shop cart to order a sponsorship or via Paypal.

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The olive farmers of Palestine thank you for your support!

Zatoun is a non-profit without charitable status and cannot issue tax-deductible receipts.

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