Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We're moving!

Well, just our blog :)

As we're launching a new, user-friendly phase of our Plant With Purpose website, we're also transferring and integrating our blog into the new website - which can be found at www.plantwithpurpose.org/blog. With our new blog, we are also updating the feedburner service for those who are receiving our blogs via email. For our email subscribers, you will soon be receiving a notification in your email inbox asking you to re-confirm your subscription to the new Plant With Purpose blog. To keep up to date on Plant With Purpose, news from the field, or our occasional ramblings please be sure to confirm your subscription!

Also, for those who have not subscribed to the email updates of our blog yet and would like to, you can do so at the box below or at the link here.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Did Someone Say Avocado?

by Aly Lewis
I love avocados. I mean, what self-respecting Southern Californian doesn’t? From chips and guac to turkey-bacon-avocado sandwiches to even avocado shakes, my taste buds delight in the creamy green goodness of a fresh avocado.
Understandably, when I saw the term Avocado Consultation looming on the office Google Calendar a couple of months ago, my interest was piqued and my avocado alert in full effect. I soon learned that the cryptic Avocado Consultation entry referred to a scheduled meeting of the avocado minds in our Trans Border Project along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Avocado is a major commodity in the mountainous border region, and many of the farmers Plant With Purpose partners with earn much of their income from selling avocados. Early in the year, many farmers complained of low yields and difficulty with their avocado crops. Our staff was worried that technical issues were preventing farmers from maximizing this valuable market. So what did we do? We called in the big guns, of course. We brought in an experienced avocado consultant, an avocado aficionado if you will, to meet with farmers, conduct soil studies, and identify and solve many of the technical issues. The consultation included our technical staff from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the avocado specialist, and Plant With Purpose beneficiaries.

Avocado Specialist (how’s that for a job title!), Bill Hahlbohm, and three of our technical staff members examine an avocado leaf for signs of pests.

I learned from Armando, our Dominican Republic program officer who participated in the consultation, that it was incredibly inspiring to see Haitian and Dominican farmers join together to solve a common problem, offer their indigenous knowledge, and learn from and collaborate with technical experts. Farmers and staff were able to solve many of the problems and our staff was able to make a lot of technical advancements in this area.
Although the consultation did not solve all of the technical planting concerns, I was assured that it was an invaluable learning experience for all parties involved. I continue to be impressed by our staff’s commitment to growth, learning, and providing farmers with the most advanced and appropriate technical training as possible. I was also encouraged by this illustration of true empowerment and community development as staff, experts, and Haitian and Dominican beneficiaries alike joined together to share their knowledge and solve common problems. And what excites me most--in addition to the joy that an increase in the world’s supply of avocados gives me--is the effect that this will have on the quality of life of the farmers with whom we partner. An increased and improved avocado crop means that farmers can earn higher prices for their produce, which means they can better feed and support their families, can send their children to school, and can improve their health and living conditions!
A truck full of avocados makes its way to the local market.
This is just one of many examples of how Plant With Purpose empowers communities to use their talents and resources to meet their basic needs, generate stable income, and foster a community spirit that leads to restored relationships and lasting transformation.
Now my taste buds and my heart can delight in the production of this fair-weather fruit!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Starting Tuesday...

Over the last few months, our Development Department has been working hard to update our Plant With Purpose website with new user-friendly features. Starting next Tuesday, when you go to www.plantwithpurpose.org you will see an informative new home page, a chance to sign up for our eSower, a tree counter that updates every couple minutes with how many trees are being planted worldwide, plus a snazzy new blog!

We are excited for this opportunity to provide you with more user-friendly features and more accessible news updates from the field. Stay tuned next week for more information!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tending to Eden Now Available on Kindle!

“I do not feed, clothe, and educate my children so I can share the gospel with them. I feed them, clothe them, educate them, and share the gospel with them because I love them.”

Scott's new book, Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People is now available on Kindle! Click here to download your copy for only $9.99.

To purchase a hard copy, visit our website to order through amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds will go to Plant With Purpose and help empower the lives of the rural poor.

Let us know what you think! And happy reading:)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tanzanian Churches Plant Dignity

This has been a year of exciting growth and new initiatives for our transformational program in Tanzania. We are excited to share with you about a new church partnership that is already producing abundant fruit.

Earlier in the year, the Seventh Day Adventist church in Tanzania invited us to facilitate Entrepreneurship and Stewardship seminars at four of their camp meetings. The Entrepreneurship and Stewardship program is designed to equip participants with entrepreneurship skills and knowledge on how to think creatively and become good stewards of God’s creation. Approximately 2,700 people participated in these seminars and learned about God’s love for His creation and the steps they can take to restore, replenish, and protect their land. Participants organized a follow up meeting to further plan and facilitate creation care activities, brainstorm innovative business ideas, and set goals to become better environmental stewards in their own lives. The program has spurred striking attitude changes especially in regard to the way farmers view their own role in caring for creation. As a result of the trainings, community groups joined together to plant a record number of trees, install hundreds of wood-saving stoves, and establish their own teams to monitor and protect local water sources. It has been inspiring to watch community members take greater initiative and ownership of Plant With Purpose's projects as they seek to serve God and take an active role in overcoming poverty.

We desire to help the rural poor discover their true identity as children of God and recover their true vocation as faithful and productive stewards of gifts from God for the well being of all. As a result of this new partnership, we have been encouraged to watch as men, women, and children begin to develop self-confidence, restore their identity and vocation, and work to create and sustain just and peaceful relationships. Individuals and communities are discovering and releasing their God-given talents, utilizing their unique gifts to take hold of their problems, develop their own solutions, and ultimately build a better future. We witnessed this transformation in the hearts and minds of those who participated in our Entrepreneurship and Stewardship program this year. Believing God has given them the talents and resources to work toward a better future, participants took the initiative to create their own committees to meet and address many of the spiritual, economic, and environmental issues plaguing their area. This restoration of people’s dignity has been one of the most encouraging and rewarding aspects of the project.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Wonderful Interns- Summer 2010

We are halfway through summer (even though it doesn’t feel like it), and we have have a new group of interns and volunteers who are joining us in the office! Combined, these students are contributing more than 500 hours of their time over the course of three months to Plant With Purpose! Thanks so much to each of you for giving your time and talent to support Plant With Purpose this summer! Your work is invaluable and we are so grateful to have you here!
Plant With Purpose Summer Interns 2010
Annie Fikes- Public Relations and Events Intern My name is Annie Fikes. I’m nineteen and I will be a sophomore at Seattle University next year. I am considering majoring in Political Science or Public Affairs, and want to minor in French and Non-Profit Leadership. I’m interested public relations, community development and government structures. At Plant With Purpose, I hope learn about working in a non-profit and build a better understanding of public relations. I would like to work for non-profit in the future and am excited for the chance to gain experience working at one. I love spending my free time with friends, going to the beach, playing volleyball and soccer, eating Asian food, and teaching Sunday school.
James Ellet- Grant Writing Intern James is a first-year MBA student at Chapman University in Orange, CA, hoping to bring his business training into the nonprofit world. For his undergraduate work, he received his BS in Mathematics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. In between Cal Poly and Chapman, he lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite managing the maintenance team at a Christian conference center. Over the past 2 years, James has felt a constant call to use his gifts to help the marginalized and oppressed of the world, and sees this internship with Plant With Purpose as a great way to start. He has been helping Aly Lewis research various foundations and apply to any and every grant that she can.
James is originally from Merced, CA, and thinks Southern California residents don't know real heat. Lately he's been listening to a lot of folk music and watching Parks and Recreation on Hulu. He has a dog, Casey, who has just come down with fleas. He hopes they go away soon.
Danielle Slomka- Volunteer My name is Danielle Slomka. I am sixteen years old and I will be a senior at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. I am blessed to spend time at Plant with Purpose this summer and get the feel for the non-profit work I hope to be part of in the future. In my free time I enjoy playing the guitar, singing, spending time with my friends and family, listening to music of every type, and watching movies.
Katy Dhanens- Community Advocacy and Awareness Volunteer Katy has been involved with Plant With Purpose through her family and church over the years and is spending time in our office learning about our programs and helping the development department raise awareness. Katy is studying diplomacy, world affairs and Spanish at Occidental College. Read Katy’s blog post about Oaxaca here http://bit.ly/9z1jVk
Nathan Lack- Volunteer Nathan is a veteran here at Plant With Purpose, this is his third summer to be involved as a volunteer here in the office. He entered community college last year not knowing what he wanted to study and over the last year he has decided that he wants to pursue studies related to what he has learned in his time here at Plant With Purpose. We are excited to see him pursuing an environmental science related degree at a UC school in Sacramento!
Keep your eye out on our blog for articles from each of these students over the summer! http://www.plantwithpurpose.blogspot.com
If you are interested in internships or volunteering please email corbyn@plantwithpurpose.org

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meet Claudette Zepeda

Meet Claudette Zepeda, Plant With Purpose’s new Bookkeeper! Claudette first heard about Plant With Purpose when she met our HR Manager, Rachel Castillero, at the Flood Church. The two kept in touch, and in May she heard from Rachel that an Admin / Finance position was opening up in the new fiscal year. Claudette says she jumped at the chance!

While the majority of Claudette’s resume is predominantly administrative, she is also a trained pastry chef. Through school and her food career she says she always made it a point to learn about sustainability and to help the local farmers as much as she could.

Plant With Purpose’s work struck a chord with Claudette after she read how we help empower the people and farmers to regain control of their land.

“I realized that I’m not only responsible for doing my part locally, but within other countries that need it,” said Claudette. “Having two young kids myself I know it’s my responsibility to teach them to be conscious of the world we live in, and inform them that the children of the villages we help will one day run the family farm.”

At Plant With Purpose, Claudette is responsible for recording the donations and allocating funds to ensure the appropriate countries receive monetary support.

Claudette says, “I’m excited to grow and be a part of the Plant With Purpose team!”

We’re excited to have you here, Claudette. Welcome to the team! :)