Seeds for Trees Campaign

Sprouting Seeds Project

This is your chance to be part and contribute to make our dream a reality.

1. Campaign introduction

2. WHO proposes
3. WHAT is proposed
4. WHY is the project necessary
5. HOW will it be put into practice
6. WHEN and WHERE will the project take place
7. Budget

Follow the campaign link to donate.

You can also donate directly to our account in:

Bank name: BNU Timor Leste (CGD)
IBAN: TL380020142422201000162

Bank name: Montepio Geral
IBAN: PT50003602989910000726939

1. Campaign introduction

Welcome to DaTerra farm!

Along the past 10 years of community development engagement, we have been relying on the precious help of friends using their cars for collecting materials and distributing highly nutritious trees to various communities. Volunteership has been the core of our commitment which made possible the delivery of many thousands of trees and seeds throughout the country.

At this point, due to all the restrictions Timor-Leste is facing, we realize it's time for this project to become more independent in terms of distribution of trees and collection of materials.

At the same time, we aim to improve our nursery facilities that got damaged during the recent heavy rains.

We have decided to set a campaign, for the first time, and the moto is one tree for one dollar, aiming to distribute and plant 20,000 trees.


The pandemic and recent floods of last April 4th 2021 have caused a tremendous impact increasing the difficulties faced by most of timorese households. Some areas that were strongly affected have seen their access to food and goods blocked due to landslides over roads and bridges destroyed together with the loss of crops. These tragedies have revealed a naked image of something that was already a serious problem - food scarcity!

Not only will you be contributing and improving a family's life by offering them special trees that will be a source of food and/or income in the near future, thus increasing their self-sufficiency, but you will also support "Sprouting Seeds" project to continue and to improve our community development project.

        We count on you to make this dream possible!    
                             1 TREE = 1 USD

2. WHO proposes

"Sprouting seeds" project is a seed bank and permaculture research centre which has been running in Timor-Leste-Baucau municipality with the support of volunteers since February 2011.

Campaign team:

  • Fernando Madeira, founder of the Sprouting Seeds project, as well as the founder of daTerra social enterprise, will be the person in charge of managing the funds and the whole project's development and implementation.
  • Vânia Gonçalves is the person responsible for managing the online campaign and reporting the project's developments.
  • Martina da Silva, Linda da Costa, Vincent Rousseau and Fernando Madeira are the farmers working on the nurseries.
  • Vincent Rousseau will be in charge of documenting with photos and videos.
  • Fernando Madeira and Vincent Rousseau will be in charge of the distribution.

If you want to know more about us please check our website and visit us on facebook, DaTerra Agroecological Farm

3. WHAT is proposed

Being one of our main cores the propagation and distribution of high value nutritious and medicinal plants and trees, we are now preparing in our humble nurseries a record of 35,000 tree seedings to distribute to remote communities, some of them recently strongly affected by the biggest floods in Timor-Leste of the last 40 years.

In order to collect the materials required for tree seedlings production and distribution, we realized that, due to all the restrictions we are facing, we couldn't rely anymore on the precious help of friends that we have been counting on for the past 10 years, that made possible the distribution of many thousand of trees to different communities.

Therefore, this campaign is set to distribute and plant 20,000 trees, whose funds will contribute to buy a second-hand pickup car and improve our nursery facilities that got damaged during the recent heavy rains.

Always keeping in mind that each dollar is equivalent to another tree that will improve someone's life and life on the planet.

4. WHY is the project necessary

Sprouting Seeds project was created voluntarily and initially funded by Global Village Association, from 2011-2015.

From there it became an independent project relying on farm sales in order to sustain itself. The seed bank and plant nursery generated a small income along with the farm products sold on site such as teas, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, jams and others.

Inevitably, individual investment had to be made, since the surplus of the farm was not enough to sustain the project's expenses, such as farm workers and land rent.

In 2016, a raised bungalow with sea view was built and further on, ethic-tourism has been a contribution for the project's funding, while providing a unique experience of living off the land.

In 2019 daTerra became the first comercial heirloom seeds provider with a range of over 30 illustrated packed seeds.

It has been an enormous challenge to keep the project alive and only with lots of effort, dedication and perseverance we have made it so far.

Due to the pandemic, Timor-Leste has closed the borders since early last year, enabling the entry of individuals in the country.

Recently, with the increase of community infected habitants, sanitary fences in different municipalities were implemented, including Baucau. In spite of all our efforts to find ways to keep our social commitment to increase food security in Timor-Leste, we are again challenged to explore creativity and turn problems into solutions.

There are 5 main objectives:

1) Demonstration of sustainable agriculture & permaculture systems and technics for schools, farmers, universities, government, NGO's and individuals
2) Living seed bank (currently the largest known agro biodiversity seed bank in Timor-Leste)
3) Propagation and distribution of agro biodiversity seedlings
4) Sustainable agriculture & Permaculture Research center
5) Volunteer programs and activities

It is clear that the need for food resilience among local communities is a must and a priority!

Access to clean water and agro biodiversity are definitely the basis of a healthy and prosperous nation.

Did you know that...

• On average each person produces around 6 tons of CO2 per year. 
• Between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year - 1.6 billion tonnes - is caused by deforestation.
To reduce you carbon footprint, each month is in average equivalent to 6 trees, a year 72 trees, multiply by how old you are and you get it all done
Trees prevent soil erosion, are vital in maintaining and regulating most water cycles, and help check global warming by using carbon dioxide in photosynthesis.
• We grow the trees we plant at our own tree nursery from seed which we have collected locally. We aim to plant them in remote areas which are difficult to access, creating are for nature and for people to enjoy.
• The trees you donate in this way will not just be tones of fixed carbon, they will also be all the wonderful wildlife that will grow with, in and around them. Not to mention they are a source of food and livelihood for whole families.

5. HOW will it be put into practice

So, here's the plan!

The project will be divided into 2 phases.


I - Assessment on the tree seedlings distribution areas

We have already identified several areas to make the first distributions.

There will be a coordination with other planting trees programs such as Ai Ba Futuru project, in order to focus the distribution in areas where this program hasn't reached yet.

II - Nursery improvement and tree seedlings growing

The project team has already identified a group of trees to be distributed among those more suitable for climate change resilience. Those are Moringa, Tree Spinach, Sweetleaf, Mulberry, Neem, Sambong and other useful plants. Some of them are already growing in our nursery and others will be added. Meanwhile, we will be improving our nursery facilities such as increasing the area of the nursery and fencing it in order to keep it safe from animals. For the water supply, a 20,000 liters water tank will be built to assist the daily watering of the tree seedlings.

III - Pickup car to distribute trees

We are now looking for a second-hand pickup car for the tree seedling distribution and the required materials collection.

Once the funds are available and we have found the pickup car we will move forward to the purchase of the vehicle and start doing the distribution.

IV - Farm fence

In the meantime, a permanent fence will be added to the actual farm's living fence. The goal is to secure the safety of our nurseries and seed bank by preventing animals from getting in, as well as to fix the damages caused in the nursery structures and living fence due to the trees falling during the heavy rains.

V - Water assessment in remote areas

During the tree seedlings distribution, a water assessment will be conducted in order to create a database of the priority places that struggle more to access clean water.


I - Water tanks and filters distribution

Once we conclude the database of these priority places that struggle to access clean water, the next steps will consist on putting the second phase of the project into practice, providing, one-by-one, community structures for rainwater harvesting and storage together with water filters.

Here is an example of community rainwater harvesting and storage that where previously installed in various families in the area of Baucau where water is scarce and expensive.

Community water filter pilot projects were previously conducted in 2 neighboring villages - Rakolo and Gumuru.

6. WHEN and WHERE will the project take place

The 20,000 trees will be distributed mainly in Baucau municipality, in a wide range of remote villages that will be identified following the criteria of food scarcity, difficult access, water access and areas prone to natural disasters such as the recent heavy rains and floods.

The distribution will be made between the end of this rainy season and the beginning of the following (October 2021 - March 2022), focusing first in places with some access to water to guarantee the success of the trees planted and in more remote areas with less access to water during the incoming rainy season.


7. Budget

Follow the campaign link to donate.

Sharing is caring, so don't forget to share with the ones you love and want to help make a difference in the world! 

Testimony of H.E. José Ramos Horta

The former President of Timor Leste and Peace Nobel Prize winner is a friend of daTerra and supports the work that has been carried out for the communities and the country.

"Architect, agronomist, Fernando committed himself to Timor, in particular Baucau, with sustainable agriculture and in the fight against malnutrition. There is no reason not to care about what is consumed on a daily basis, there is no reason for child malnutrition. We have to admit that there was a failure in the agriculture sector, in domestic food production.

Infrastructures such as national and rural roads, the countless bridges - large, medium or small - that connect the country, the electrification of almost the entire Timor, the extensive health coverage, more than 1,100 doctors in 15 years, the average life expectancy that jumped from under 60 in 1999 to 71 in 2018, connectivity that takes information to a large percentage of the population, even if deficient, etc., are the records of notable processes in less than 20 years since the restoration of independence. A lot was done well and a lot was done badly.

Agriculture, food security, nutrition, water and sanitation should have been the priorities. The sector would have benefited from better policies, better technicians in the area, better management and continuity, less partisanship. But I have no pretension to know more than those who have governed and done works. There are people, Timorese and foreigners, with vision, dedication and a lot of personal sacrifice, who carry out inspiring projects, which should be replicated throughout the country.

Some examples: 'DaTerra', designed by Fernando Madeira, invests in permaculture in Baucau, a natural eco-resort and seed bank of all edible products from East Timor.

In the last 10 years we have seen the appearance in the local markets of an increasing number of quality national products. A variety of well-presented Timor organic coffee brands are seen in markets in Australia, South Korea and Japan.

During my visit to Fatumaka last week, I visited 'DaTerra' and Fernando Madeira. The images I share here do not portray the true beauty and dimension of the project. It is better to go there for a few days, do some volunteering, enjoy Baucau and this garden that made me imagine an intermediate space station on the Earth-Mars route."