Growing For Good NURTURING PLANTS, CHANGING LIVES

Tree-preneurs

Living in some of the Western Cape’s most impoverished communities, Tree-preneurs are taught how to care for indigenous trees and plants.

G4 G Treepreneurs Lesley Joemat 724x703
Spier provides land, facilities and a manager to drive Tree-preneurs in the Cape. This project teaches members of impoverished communities how to care for indigenous plants. Once the seedlings they’ve been given to nurture are big enough, these are exchanged for food vouchers, clothing, bicycles, educational support and other essentials.
Established in 2009

A few key facts

Tree-preneurs since 2009

310

The project has contributed to improving the lives of more than 310 Tree-preneurs in 12 communities

Bartered indigenous trees

1 million

Ages

9 - 79

GROWING THE SPIRIT

TREE-GROWING ENTREPRENEURS

Spier teamed up with Wildlands Conservation Trust to launch Tree-preneurs in the Western Cape in 2009, providing it with a base on the farm from which to operate, as well as free water and electricity.

Tree-preneurs are given seedlings to nurture; once these have reached a certain length, they can be exchanged for vouchers for food, clothing, agricultural goods, tools, bicycles and educational support.

Project manager Lesley Joemat has built a strong personal relationship with the growers. When she’s not out visiting them to distribute seedlings, containers, soil and compost, and to offer advice on growing trees, she’s busy running the Tree-preneurs nursery at Spier, which is home to over 23,000 trees, plants and succulents. Many of the trees and plants are planted in disadvantaged areas of Stellenbosch in need of greening, donated to schools, NGOs, churches and used to rehabilitate the Plankenbrug River and Dwars River.

The items exchanged with growers in return for trees – whether bikes for those without transport, or educational support for those struggling to pay school fees – unlock opportunities, provide support and spark inspiration. The project nourishes environmental consciousness in the communities where growers live; it also empowers others to make a positive difference. A powerful example of this is Tannie Babs Visagie, a Tree-preneur from Heather Park who runs a food kitchen, using the vouchers earned from her trees to buy food for orphans in her community. Since she joined the project in 2011, she has bartered over 9300 trees, including 1250 spekboom plants currently showcased on the verandahs at Spier Hotel.

Since the project launched in the Western Cape, it’s helped to improve the lives of more than 310 Tree-preneurs in 12 communities through the bartering of over 1 million trees.

G4 G Treepreneurs seedlings 1599x671

Blog stories

Read the latest news about this initiative

Tree Preneurs Spier Pruning

Spier Hotel guests raise over R44,000 for Tree-preneurs

26 maj 2022

The 4855 guests who booked our recent Summer of ‘21 package – a celebration of Spier ...

Living Soils community farm first harvest 2880

Spier celebrates the women growing food and trees

07 august 2020

This Women’s Month Spier is celebrating the women-led food- and tree-growing projects that ...

Treepreneurs Lesley 2880 x 1124

SPIER WINS GOLD AT 2020 INSPIRATIONAL AFRICA RESPONSIBLE TOURISM AWARDS

07 april 2020

Spier won gold in the "Responsible Business" category at the 2020 Inspirational Africa ...

Tp A Million Trees Handover

A Million Trees crowdfunding campaign helps Tree-preneurs to grow

20 marts 2019

Danish supermarket group, COOP’s Crowdfunding initiative has raised 82 700 DKK to benefit ...

Lesley Joemat 2880 x 1440

Meet the team: Lesley Joemat

22 marts 2017

Lesley Joemat has worked at Spier since 1998 and is the project leader for Tree-preneurs, ...