If, like us, you’ve been glued to The Great Comic Relief Bake Off this week (who knew Warwick Davis was so good at cake-making?), you will also have seen TV chef Lorraine Pascale’s informative segments on Africa.
Comic Relief is a brilliant cause. It has always devoted a great deal of attention to the problems still being faced by the African population, raising awareness and sponsoring plenty of initiatives within the continent. Ms Pascale’s Ghanaian VTs were a shining example of Comic Relief’s characteristically warm, educational, and inspiring insights into these often impoverished communities, and were largely concerned with local food initiatives – local bakeries, cocoa farmers, and honey-gatherers, for example – but they also got us thinking about the indigenous trees.
Deforestation has long been an issue in Africa, with huge clumps of vegetation historically being cleared to make way for more cocoa plantations. Thankfully, the DFiD’s FRICH (Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund) initiative – the projects of which Comic Relief sponsors and was promoting on the Great Comic Relief Bake Off – works in close proximity with the Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests.
Indeed, the protection of indigenous trees is as vital to several regional economies as the cocoa or coffee trade. The Eden Project, another FRICH project, is focused on supporting baobab farmers and therefore the protection and sustainable farming of baobab trees. Kate Schreckenberg’s influential DFiD paper also gives a good case for the value of Africa’s native fruit trees as a route out of poverty for the indigenous communities – but only if these trees are farmed in a sustainable way.
The answer is simple: we can enjoy the fruits of nature, but only if we also safeguard the future of its bearers. Just as the baobab tree can be harvested, our exotic timbers can be logged and given good use as a kitchen worktop – provided that sufficient measures are taken to replant, protect the species, and promote sustainability. This is why purchasing from Worktop Express® is not only an affordable choice, but also a responsible one. You can rest assured that all our timbers – wherever they originate – are only purchased from legal, sustainable sources. We insist on a transparent chain of custody so that we can monitor each and every step of the process.
So spare a thought today for sustainability and charity: these can and do go hand in hand. If we keep raising awareness and promoting good environmental practice, we can protect ourselves and the planet at the same time. And while you’re at it, have a little think about what you can do for Red Nose Day: it isn’t until the 15th March, so you have plenty of time to kick your fundraising activities into action!