“Our goal is to elevate lives through developing improved and sustainable food security. We are focused on infusing new technology into agriculture development, along with cultural and humanitarian exchanges, anywhere in the world.”

~ Trees and Seeds

John Hiers speaking with local leaders in Peru, 2009

John Hiers and Kerilyn Bristow are retired educators from Woodstock Union High School. John taught agriculture, and Keri taught French and Spanish. Keri, however, wasn’t prepared to fully retire, so she began teaching elementary Spanish, PreK to 5th grade, part-time at the Ottauquechee School in Quechee. “I absolutely love it!” says Keri.  

While at WUHS, John and Keri collaborated on service-based travel projects with students to the Spanish speaking world. They expanded to Africa with a trip to Senegal before they retired. The pair eventually created Trees and Seeds, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 so that they could continue doing humanitarian work nationally and internationally, and to further their vision of food sustainability and access to education. According to their website, their ethos is focused “on education with young people, as well as those who are young at heart that will radiate to others in their communities.”

Keri Bristow with Malawi friends

John and Keri “travel with purpose,” and are committed to helping travelers of all ages to make a positive impact abroad. 

“We were able to travel to Malawi in 2019 with a partnership there to plant trees and work with children in rural villages helping to increase [their] English language skills,” says Keri. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the organization was temporarily grounded, but they have plans to travel to Peru in February 2022 with 23 participants. The group will learn about medicinal and nutritional plants, they will also plant trees along the Amazon River to help reforest the land, as well as work with local orphanages there to “play games, give the staff some time off, and make community connections.” Connections that – like the roots of trees – will no doubt last a lifetime.

To become involved with Trees and Seeds or to find our more, please email info@treesandseeds.org.