Eight female food execs are just back from a trip to Uganda, where they worked alongside local female farmers to plant 1000 fruit trees on remote farms in just three days. The group undertook the Thousand Trees Challenge to raise funds for the international charity Farm Africa, which works across eastern Africa helping to reduce poverty and protect the environment in rural communities.

The team comprised Tulip’s HR director, Rachel Baldwin, Frances Swallow, group technical director at Finsbury Foods, CEO of Kettle Produce, Susie McIntryre, Jenni Gowdy, sales and marketing controller at Moy Park, Helen Brierley, technical director at Vitacress Salads, Sarah Louise Fairburn, brand and sales director at L J Fairburn & Son Ltd and Devenish Nutrition’s innovation and development manager Marian Scott and senior poultry nutritionist Michelle Burke.

Frances Swallow, Finsbury Foods, said: “The challenge was huge: we didn’t appreciate how hard work it would be planting this many trees. But we kept going, motivated by the fact all of the money raised will go to Farm Africa, supporting their work with farmers across eastern Africa. It was fantastic to meet the families Farm Africa is working with. The support they are receiving is literally life-changing: it means women can become more independent, children can go to school, and the nutrition of whole families can improve.”

Tulip’s Rachel Baldwin added: “We completed the Thousand Trees Challenge and it’s been an absolutely amazing four days. We’ve spent some time with incredible ladies who are doing a fantastic job over here and a real true inspiration to us. Our last day was spent with a lady called Innocent who’s got her own farm, but she’s also playing a vital role in the local community where she’s raising the profile of female farmers and what they can do and the opportunities they can find.”

The Thousand Trees Challenge has so far raised more than £50,000 and aims to raise a total of £75,000 for Farm Africa. Sarah-Louise Fairburn, Brand and Sales Director at  L J Fairburn & Son Ltd, commented: “We just think it’s absolutely incredible the work that Farm Africa is doing, but there’s still more that can be done, so if everyone can please support us, then we can really, really make a difference. Thank you!”