Pines on the mind...

There is an ongoing and projected need to reforest our landscapes as climate change is driving additional losses in our forests. It is important to get the message out that climate change means tree loss and by extension, negative impact on our collective health and wellness.

Tree die-off releases more carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change, creating a kind of feedback loop where new pests can get a foothold in territories previously off-limits due to cold, thereby accelerating more die-off and more carbon release. 

A great TEdX talk by entomologist Diana Six illustrating how climate change poses risk to our Eastern American forests. In this case, by the mountain pine beetle.  The talk can be found in the captioned link here:


Trees, Food and ... Yum!

What is on your table now? 

Trees can provide a source of fresh food supplementation, especially when located within walking distance of a person's home. Whether it is a harvest of fresh fruit or nuts, the just picked food provides a source of nourishment, both for the body, but often times, also for the spirit. And if the source of the food is a tree we always return to throughout the year, a relationship is formed allowing us to build memories tied to the landscape and season; allowing us the opportunity to weave new and old traditions, memories and social networks into our lives. 

Artist Ayumi Matzusaka, Founder of Dycle, and Plant Five for Life recently embarked on a story collection exercise, to explore more generally, how the food on one's table might tell the story of relationship between plant, food, landscape and culture. We asked various individuals from around the world to tell us the story of what was on their table today:

Christine, USA (visiting Spain), 40+

In August, we went walking in the fields outside of the Village. Our path weaved past fields divided by wall after wall of hand stacked rock. The trees branches spilled over their boundaries onto the path and bushes sprouted from the cracks between the stones. A harvest beckoned us at the path's edges. 

The trees were generous; yielding the first figs, and even almonds. The thorny bushes were thick with blackberries. The ground released the smells of thyme and rosemary.

We gorged on the fresh berries, froze the rest for later, paused on the path and popped the figs into our mouths, and then ate them again sliced into yogurt and on top of a warm dinner concoction made the next day. The almonds we saved for another time, but they were also put to good use in hammer-practice by our little one. 


Maria Teresa, Castellon, Spain, 60+

I waited all week to shop today, Saturday, when the people who grow food in their backyard come to the center of town with their truck to the market. Just picked that morning so the food is incredibly fresh, and probably no sprays.

This time of year the trees give us the oranges, quince, lemons. Lemons  unlike the ones in the stores. These are full of flavor. So many oranges. Cabbages. And squash. Have you ever had the squash? It is so sweet!

I bought these artichokes at the store the other day. This is the time for them now, too. And cauliflower. They are so cheap! All of this food for only 6 Euros. It would be impossible in Barcelona.

All our life it has been these foods at this time of year. I suspect it is the same for all the Villages and small Towns near here.

I will keep these quince for a few days and make a cake out of it because my son loves it.


Cindy, Long Island, NY, USA, 67

For Christmas Eve, I'm making white clam sauce. The cockles I am using come from Puget Sound, Washington. I bought them at a local fish shop. In the winter in New York, we are not getting local fish. I tend to make the same dishes each year for the holidays, mostly because my family depends on it for tradition purposes!

I'll also be making salmon which was purchased at the same fish shop and comes from Newfoundland. I'm also serving shrimp scampi.....bought at same fish store, coming from Ecuador.

There are a whole lot of other dishes, but I'll include just one more....the takeaway gift! (this is given to friends and family). The chocolate is bought at a local candy shop, with the chocolate coming from  Hawaii.

This (interview response) was a good break for me from all my cooking! Truthfully, I had to do a little research and I was embarrassed to realize I did not know the origins of all the food I was putting on the table!


Raquel, Asuncion, Paraguay, 34

My daughter is a picky eater and getting her excited about food is always an adventure or simply a one way end. 

Today in the afternoon, I told her that I will make her some waffle, but actually it is more like a "panquete" with a different flap shape. Waffle is one of the few edible things that she will happily eat. I am not the best cook, but I can make waffles.

I used oats, 2 eggs, a little bit of milk, one banana, and honey. I blended it altogether and then I did the magic in the fire. 

Today she ate it all!!!

We used our favorite 100 % pure honey, which comes the surrounding area of the Tapyta Reserve, a natural reserve located in the department of Caazapa in Paraguay.

We met the local beekeepers. They are very kind and sweet people, as the honey itself. Maxine loves to add more of it to the waffle once it is ready.


You can add your story in the comments section below on our Facebook page @PlantFiveforLife or post to #ForestStories and feel free to add your name, location, age and photo. Visit Dycle for more stories. 

We all have a birth story.

Plant Five for Life and Dycle are collaboratively exploring cross-cultural connections to landscapes from birth across generations. We invite you to join in this exploration and to add your story. 

This week we asked:  How did your parents celebrate your birth?:  


A friend

Of all the children, I was the only planned child and so they were prepared for my birth, they were excited and the whole family was excited.

My grandfather plants a fruit tree for all his grandchildren in his backyard…It doesn’t matter which one is mine, just that when we look out, we know that they were planted because of us, one was planted because of me. They are mostly pear trees. 

One tree was also planted at my parents house for me, but they no longer own the house and moved away from the area. My tree there is just a regular tree.

We eat the pears. 

(Beth, USA, 40+)

A mentor

Amazing question ... I do not know so ... there was not much of a party! 

(Gunter, Belgium, 60+)

A hairdresser

My parents probably rejoiced and then they cried. My story is not a good story because my mother suffered from post-partum depression.

When my mother died a year ago, she surprised us when her will told us that she had herself cremated and her ashes spread in a rose garden.  She asked that every time we smelled a rose to think of her. 

(Samantha, emigrated UK to Spain, Scottish descent, 30+)


My Mother-in-law

My parents celebrated my birth with a great party because I was born on my father's name day, St. Augustine! I have a book my mammy wrote with all the explanations!

In Spain, the birth is usually celebrated with the baptism, which you know all about already from going to cousin Melchoir's!

(This entailed... a church ceremony, a band marching down the street, candy thrown from windows to the street, a big dinner, gifts, activities for kids after dinner…).

(Maria Teresa, Spain, 60+)



My Mother

I have no idea how to answer this question! 

(Then, one day later…) I spoke with my older brother Gene. He doesn’t know of anything special that was done when I was born.  Some people planted trees back then, but we lived in Queens. Our yard was small. Your Nana celebrated the birth of each child at the Christening. Everyone had a large party. Remember everyone was baptized right away back then - 3-6 weeks after birth. I did the same for you and Tricia. 

(Julia, USA, age 60+)


Love these stories? You can go to @Dycle to read more (Ayumi has captured some lovely stories from Japan and Berlin). 


Before you go, tell us! How did your parents celebrate your birth? 

You can add your stories below or travel to @PlantFiveForLife and add them there. You can also send an email to christine at plant five for life dot org. #ForestBirthStories

Feel free to include first name, origin and age.

Plant Five Workshop at ALL THOSE Food Market in Barcelona, Spain

It is holiday time and in Barcelona, December means the proliferation of creative food markets throughout the city.

On December 2nd, from 16:00-17:30, Plant Five will co-host a collaboratively created workshop with SlowMov coffeehouse and La Seta en Cafe

Using coffee waste, we will demonstrate how participants can grow mushrooms. Each participant will leave with a 'Grown Your Own' kit and a little know how about the role of mushrooms in our forest ecosystems and how to grow them at home. 

Please find us at All Those Food Market, Museu Maritim de Barcelona in December!

Data published in Nature show impressive images and provide detailed information about the current status of our forests

by Tom Crowther from the Yale School of Forestry and the environment

"We’ve nearly halved the number of trees on the planet, and we’ve seen the impacts on climate and human health as a result,” Crowther said. “This study highlights how much more effort is needed if we are to restore healthy forests worldwide.” We now how a baseline for what we have and what is needed and where it will be best to focus our efforts.

Mapping tree density at a global scale (PDF Download Available).

From the same Nature paper, this video summarizes their findings in a moving and clear visual display.

It’s a simple question: how many trees are there on Earth? The answer required 421,529 measurements from fifty countries on six continents. Now this new data has been combined to produce a stunning visualisation of our planet as you’ve never seen it before.

School charges ‘planting trees’ as fee by guardians

In a unique initiative, a school in Chhattisgarh’s Ambikarpur area is providing primary education to students on a meagre payment of planting a tree sapling as fee. The facility has been provided to parents of students who cannot afford to pay school fees.

India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, Smashing World Record

Although the feat has yet to be certified by Guinness World Records, Indian officials have reported that volunteers planted a whopping 49.3 million tree saplings on July 11, blowing past the previous record for most trees planted in a single day.