Living Trees of Livingstonia is an initiative in Rumphi District, Malawi. Funded by the Scottish Government and implemented by Thrive, Leith Community Crops in Pots, Living Trees of Livingstonia and communities of 21 schools, it has also included soil analysis by the Universities of Edinburgh and Mzuzu, funded by Global Challenges Research Fund. It advances the Malawian Government’s Home-Grown Schools policy, since it helps the schools grow breakfast foods for their children. Our baseline survey had found that only 21% of children ate breakfast, and so 79% of children were eating only after school. These orchards are therefore like small farms; they not only grow trees and breakfast foods, but also paprika and other crops for sale, which Living Trees of Livingstonia sells for the schools, giving the schools income to improve their children’s education.
The orchards are run by Parent Teacher Associations, who are proving that Malawi can meet its most urgent needs independently and sustainably. The work has introduced Leith and Rumphi residents to each other, letting Leith participants ponder on Rumphi rural children’s greater freedom from cars, greater exercise without computers, first-hand knowledge of how food grows, and less obesity due to a low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt diet.
Living Trees of Livingstonia has a wide range of benefits: environmental, employment, nutritional, educational and capacity-building.