Forest for Life: How market gardening helped communities hit hardest by COVID-19 Crisis

Forest for Life: How market gardening helped communities hit hardest by COVID-19 Crisis

The Forestias by MQDC, the world’s first community development project where humans coexist in harmony with nature has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ripple effect it has had on the economy and the job market, with its Forest for Life campaign – a drive to help support needy communities and create more green spaces.

Working in partnership with the Royal Forest Department, Buddharaksa Foundation and The Givers Network, the Forest for Life initiative helps relieve hardship in underprivileged communities, who do not receive state support, by paying households to raise and care for seedlings for 90 days. 

To take part in the Forest for Life, each community dedicates 10-20sqm to grow seedlings from trees, such as teak, mahogany, and rosewood, as well as easy-to-grow herbs and vegetables that households can eat or sell if they have a surplus. 

The initiative recruited 27 communities and 1,000 families, with the households caring for 1,000,000 seedlings each receiving 15,000 baht per month for their work, at a total value of 15 million baht. The project has also dedicated 10 million baht to bring in market gardening experts to provide helpful, practical knowledge to participating communities, bringing the total spend up to 25 million baht. 

Forest for Life recently concluded its first cycle by giving 300,000 plants to various parks in Bangkok. The completion of this cycle saw the project generate income for up to 1,000 households and distribute their seedlings to communities that want to create more green areas. 

Mr. Kittiphun Ouiyamaphun, Senior Vice President of The Forestias by MQDC, said: “We set up the Forest for Life project to create forest area and support life. It’s a great opportunity to expand public green spaces. Some of the trees from this project will be planted at The Forestias by MQDC at Bangna KM7, which includes a real forest in the heart of the city.”

Dr. Wit Soontaranun, Vice Chairman of Buddharaksa Foundation, said: “For one year this project has focused on building professional skills in market gardening with training from the Royal Forest Department and local experts. We have aimed, in the short term, to help people support themselves. However, in the long term, we are also helping increase green space in Thailand. We have had great feedback from the participating communities, which are happy to look after the seedlings and gain income to help with living costs and build relationships between families and communities. Some of the locations see opportunities to develop long-term careers."

Forest for Life raises environmental awareness and generates income for families in need, uniting communities and expanding green space. The project has been paused, following the completion of its first cycle but the initiative is ready to resume as and when it is needed and set to take on future challenges with an appropriate concept.

You can follow news and information on “Forest for Life” at Facebook: MQDC – The Forestias #ForestForLife. #Create a forest, create life #TheForestiasByMQDC #MQDCForAllWellBeing

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