Now it’s time to focus on food. Cool Earth is working alongside local people in Lubutu to find ways to grow crops that are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. Cool Earth is lucky enough to be working in Lubutu with a smart team from Flora and Fauna International, who have decades of experience working with communities in the Congo. They have organised a series of workshops where growers will meet buyers from local markets.
Together, they’ll go through an analysis process to work out which products have the highest demand and value to sell. A better understanding of markets means community members will be able to grow more of the crops that matter. Just like in Cool Earth’s partnerships in Peru, the first step is identifying which non-timber products the community can grow without damaging the forest. In Lubutu, strong contenders are manioc, caterpillars, mushrooms and rice. Other possible sustainable forest products are honey, wild African plum, chilli, vanilla, shea butter and coffee.
With Cool Earth and FFI’s support, the community is hoping to grow these super crops using sustainable agricultural practices like shade-growing and intercropping, so the families in Lubutu can be financially strong, without damaging their greatest asset, the forest.