We made our guidelines accessible to everyone to be transparent on how Free the Food works.
We Trust that the people using our website are ready to commit to being in service with integrity, transparency, and consistency.
We chose not to obligate anyone with rules, these guidelines are recommendations based on our experience, to consider when someone is ready to free the food!
1 – Find the right people :
The first step is to gather a minimum of 2 to 3 people to form a Core group and make sure you are aligned with each other and with the Vision of Free The Food.
Note: We don’t recommend starting just by yourself, because if something happens to you, you may not be able to take care of what has been planted.
2 – Understand the responsibility that comes with creating a FTF Family :
Being a Core Member of a Family requires commitment and responsibility. When we start Projects, we must take care of them and make sure they are and will be well maintained.
Planting fruit trees can be easy, but it is not just that! There are a lot of factors to consider when planting the street or public space, we need to adapt ourselves to the land, to the water, to the electric cables, to the view, to the local regulations, to certain preferences in the local community…
Becoming a Family requires some gardening knowledge and experience.
3 – Read all the Guidelines with your Core group.
– When you feel clear and ready, fill up and send us the Form to create a Family, we will review the request and may ask you more questions if that feels necessary.
– When your request is approved, we create for you a Family Page, a Family Member manager profile, and a Gmail address for your Family.
We send you identification and information to log into the FTF website, you will be then able to change the Gmail password and share the account ID info with the web managers of your family.
Initially, the core members are the creators of the family. Then the number of people in the core group can change.
We advise you to evolve between 3 people of 8 people, to maintain efficiency in decision-making.
The core members are taking the main decisions of the Family together and each of their voices is equal.
Core members guide new members and help them start projects if they wish, they regularly review the projects of the family.
When Member wants to start a project, the Core Members check with them to see if they have enough gardening knowledge and experience and if they are ready to commit to their project.
Core Members decide together how to allocate the funds they receive as a Family, and they distribute the money that has been donated directly to the projects or members.
We invite you to be active on social media as well as update information on the website regularly. Ideally, at least two Core Members take the role to be web manager for the family.
Roles of Web managers :
– Edit the family page, by uploading the content and photos chosen by the core members of the family.
– Create new members and send them their FTF ID.
– Create Supporting Farms pages when there is a request.
– Review that the members of the family are using the website correctly.
After creating the family, we invite you to set up a Google Drive to share pictures, a Youtube channel, a Google sheet to trace finances, and Social Media Pages.
These are tools for your family, you can decide collectively what serves you most.
1 : With the Gmail address of your family, open Google Drive you create folders according to this model :
Click here to see the Drive of the Diamante family as an example
Create the folder “Familyname FTF”
In this folder, create 4 folders and their subfolders:
B-Photos of the members
D-Logo and Flyers
A-Finances of the Family
4- Flyers Documents
When a member creates a project, a folder named the project can be made in the folder “A-projects”.
Important note: To give access to these folders and documents you can “Manage the Access” of all the folders, make sure you choose correctly who has access to Edit, and who is only a Viewer.
2 : Create a Youtube Channel with the Gmail account of your family
You can share videos from all your projects and organize them by playlist, ask for members to take landscape videos (horizontal) if they want to use the youtube channel.
3 : Set up the Google Sheet document template for finances
Save it in your drive under “Finances of the family”. Link here
4 : Create Social Media accounts.
We recommend you to create an Instagram account and a Facebook Page for your Family.
If you create an Instagram account, please write your profile name as in this example :
For the Family “Diamante”: @ftfdiamantefamily
It is easy to connect your Facebook and Instagram together to automatically share posts on both platforms.
You can also select other social media platforms.
5 : Create Groups on Whatsapp or Telegram
We recommend you choose Telegram for better functions but if everyone around you uses Whatsapp, you may better choose Whatsapp depending on who is using Telegram around you.
You need to create at least 2 groups:
– One group for the core members of the family.
– One group for the family and all the people that will follow you.
6 : Choose to use one bank account for your Family.
It is best if you can create a bank account for this purpose only, also it is possible to use the personal bank account of one of the core members with the agreements of all the core members.
Don’t link different bank accounts with your FTF Family, keep it as simple and clear as possible.
7 : Link your Free the food Family to different Donation Platforms:
We recommend you Paypal, Venmo, Gofundme, Sinpe, and Giveth(Crypto).
The more choices you give to the donors, the more you have chances to receive donations. Connect these platforms to the bank account of your family.
8 : Fill up your Family Page
You will be always able to modify the content of your Family page, you can add more to it as time passes.
Insert the links of your Google Drive, Finances Google sheet, Social media, Chats…
Web managers of the family may help new members that need guidance, part of this role is to review that everyone is using the website correctly.
Congratulations 🎉 you are creating a powerful network for your local community!
Being active hands on the land and sharing what your are doing on social media is a great way to inspire people in your community and everywhere in the world! It plants the seed of this possibility : Accessible abundance for all.
Through social media imagine how big the network of people you can reach if all the members share with their network what you are doing in your family.
By creating projects and telling your story you can inspire people to support you ! Not everyone is able to plant fruits trees where they are but they can support others to do so! We are all a giant Family after all…
You can also promote you family and projects in local events and social gatherings. And if you want be more know in your area you can create signs, stickers, flyers…
We invite you to have a family gathering at least every month, you can create an event and serve free food… You can chose many ways to co create and grow this family together !
Being part of a family you get access to seeds, trees, tools, knowledge… It helps everyone !
Also you can support neighbors villages to be part of this movement and start their own family.
Welcome, and thank you for being a part of this! You are a blessing to the earth and to many beings that will enjoy the fruits of your contribution 🙏
We invite you to become part of this movement and create a profile page on this website. You will be able to share your story, pictures, knowledge and share how you participate in Freeing The Food !
How to become a member of a family ?
Meet the core members of the family, you can find their contact info in the family page. Organize a time to meet them in person, or join a planting day…
They will introduce you how the family operates in the Area, if they share tools, plants or other resources…
As a member there are many ways to participate in the family :
– Help planting and maintain projects
– Create projects
– Share on Social media
– Create Video content
– Find Funds
– Cook food (after working people like to eat)
– Share harvest from your land
– Share and spread cuttings, seeds, plants..
– Offer transportation ( driving the planting team with plants and tools)
– Create documentation / flyers
– Educate kids, offer workshops…
See with the core members how best you can be in service to the family.
The main agreement for becoming a member is : Giving and sharing from the heart.
That way as we all give from our heart, we will receive from other’s heart.
Members can really help this movement grow by talking and sharing about it and invite more people to plant trees and free food in public locations.
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If you want to create a profile page on the website : read all the guidelines and request your family to become a Member. The web manager(s) of the family will help you set up your page.
As a Member your are able to create Projects, read the guidelines below.
We advise you to start with simple projects and simple designs. Think of what it will become in the long term and envision the maintenance that it will require through the years.
We encourage you to primarily focus on planting fruit trees as they require minimum maintenance once they are established. And they give us food for many years without us having to do so much. They create shade and slow down the growth of the grass below, minimizing constantly having to recut it…
Until trees are grown enough, we need to ensure they have enough nutrients, water, and shade to become healthy and abundant. That’s where Syntropic farming, Permaculture, and Regenerative Agriculture can come in: we accompany fruit trees (or Target plants) with a variety of Support species. Basically, we grow the fertilizer, the water, and the shade around our Targets to help them during their beginnings.
Remember this: we want to be aware that every plant we bring in will require maintenance. Having many plants densely planted can be counterproductive as requires more attention and maintenance. It also can be confusing in public spaces. That’s why we recommend you create simple designs, and repetitive patterns: to facilitate the work of maintenance.
Also, you are free to create any other type of project according to what your family wants to focus on, it can also be growing food in greenhouses or creating garden beds, opening a community garden, or planting with schools…
What are the steps to creating a Free The Food project ??
We really recommend you to be at least 2 people to start a project. Make sure that you share the same vision and that you will be able to take care of what you start, remember that it takes commitment.
Consult your family to get informed if there are specific planting regulations in the Area. For example, the official width of the roads in Costa Rica is 7m away from the center of the road, so if we plant before that, we may choose to plant berries and trees after the 7m.
1 – Find the best opportunity around you:
Often time it comes with talking to :
– Local associations
– Good friends that have their property line along the road.
Look for the most central and accessible place in your area: you will have more chances to have people come help you and get involved in your project. We believe that it’s best to start from the center, so your project and the idea of « Freeing The Food » get to be known by everyone from the beginning! From the center, it expands all around.
We advise looking first around the soccer field, communal spaces, the market, and then the roadsides.
When you found an ideal spot, make a brief plan of what the project would look like: Observe the space, imagine where will be the trails in your design, and see where you can plant and how big the plants can be… It’s essential to associate appropriate plants to the spaces, for example, we don’t plant huge trees under electric cables… Neither we would grow wide plants in narrow spaces…
Envision what will become the maintenance work and how often it will have to be done.
It is not necessary to figure out all the details but having a plan will help when you come to ask permission to the landowner or the people that are currently in charge of the maintenance of this land.
2 – Asking for permission
Find out who the landowner or the local association in charge of the piece of land is and present yourself and Free the Food movement. Ask them if they are interested in co-create a planting project together.
We advise you to start the project only if you feel welcome and encouraged to do so. If the land owner is not really aligned with the vision of planting food for everyone, look somewhere else, it means there is a better opportunity and better connections.
When you found the right place and the right landowner, you can explore together what will be the best planting system and how the maintenance will evolve.
After you come to a clear agreement, you can create a new project page. Ask the web managers of the family to guide you if that is necessary and don´t hesitate to consult your family if you have questions about the creation of your project.
Once you have a Project page, you can start to tell its story, take pictures of how the land looks like at the moment, and right down your plan. It is best to create the Project Page straight from the beginning so everyone follows the complete evolution of the project.