Gov. Kay Ivey kicked off Farm-City Week by joining members of Rotary, Alabama Farm-City and Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA) for a ceremonial tree planting on the Capitol grounds Nov. 17. From left are ATFA Executive Director William Green, Rotary District 6880 Governor Bill Trant, Rotary District 6860 Governor Sue Mitchell, Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman Jeff Helms and Ivey. / Courtesy of Alfa Farmers
MONTGOMERY – Farmers, statesmen and business owners joined Gov. Kay Ivey on Alabama’s Capitol grounds recently with a hope to cultivate stronger connections between urban and rural communities through the simple act of planting a tree.
The tree planting project kicked off Farm-City Week, which ends on Thanksgiving and aims to strengthen citizens’ perceptions of the interdependence between farmers and those who work in cities. It also fulfills a challenge from Rotary International’s President Ian H.S. Riseley for every Rotarian to plant a tree before Earth Day 2018. Ivey has been a Rotarian since the early ‘90s, and her farm was recently certified as an Alabama TREASURE Forest.
“Growing up in L.A. – that’s Lower Alabama – where we have more trees than people, cars or buildings combined, I have a unique appreciation for trees and what they symbolize,” Ivey said. “Our state is blessed with thousands of acres of timberland, and we should do all we can to protect those timberlands and to engage in conservation efforts, which means to plant trees like we’re doing today.”
Earlier this month, the Alabama Farm-City Committee distributed informational resources to every Rotary Club in the state to help the groups meet the challenge of planting one tree per member. The chapters also received a copy of the book I Can Name 50 Trees Today! from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, donated by the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association.
While the tree planting project is meant to make a lasting difference in local communities, Alabama is already blessed with forested lands. The state ranks third in the contiguous U.S. for timberland acreage, and the forestry industry provides over 122,000 jobs. Since 1990, over 3,150 trees have been planted for each baby born in Alabama.
“This time of year, most of us remember to give thanks to farmers who help provide the food we enjoy during the holidays, but agriculture gives us more than that,” said Jeff Helms, Alabama Farm-City Committee chairman. “If not for farmers and landowners, we wouldn’t have the wooden tables and chairs where we dine, or the cotton tablecloths and napkins that add an additional festive touch.”
The Shumard oak tree was grown at and donated by Hunter Trees LLC in Talladega County.
For more information, visit www.AlabamaFarmCity.org or www.Rotary.org.