Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Story of Hope

In honor of December 1st, World AIDs Day, we want to recognize the importance of holistic solutions to poverty that work together for every individual involved, including those struggling with HIV. Today's blog is about Leni, a Tanzanian woman who perserveres to provide for her family.
Plant With Purpose’s mission is to transform the lives of the rural poor by providing environmental solutions to humanitarian problems. As most of you know, we teach sustainable agriculture techniques that restore damaged land, improve farm yields and increase incomes. As a result, the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental damage is replaced with a cycle of health and hope.
Healthy soil is one of the keys to higher yields. It’s true here in the US and true in the third world. One of the things that I truly enjoy about working with Plant With Purpose is discovering new ways in which our work overseas “crosses over” to home gardening and organic agricultural techniques here in the U.S. I discovered one of these recently in Tanzania in the shape of the “Bag Garden-“ (pictured above). There are lots of cool things about the bag garden. It allows you to grow a lot of vegetables in a small space, it saves water, keeps pests away and lasts about 4 years.
For Plant With Purpose’s farmers in Tanzania, the bag garden does all of this and more- it also provides an additional source of income, as extra vegetables can be sold in the local market and provide much needed funds for school fees and books, medical bills and other necessities.
In the case of Leni, pictured here with one of her bag gardens, the bag garden is one of the things literally saving her life. Leni is living with AIDS. Abandoned by the husband who infected her and ostracized by her community, she is nevertheless bravely continuing to raise her children. Government-provided drugs are controlling the disease, but for lasting improvement in her health, medicine must go hand in hand with improved nutrition. That’s where the bag garden comes in. Since starting to work with Plant With Purpose, Leni has put on almost 30 pounds and has hope for the future.


Article written by Doug Satre

As Director of Outreach Development, Doug Satre is responsible for overseeing Plant With Purpose’s fundraising and marketing efforts, working with the Plant With Purpose staff, donors and foundations to build awareness and financial support of Plant With Purpose’s work to transform the lives of the rural poor.

1 comment:

  1. Here's how you make a bag garden yourself! (Needed: organic compost, soil, feed sack or burlap bag, about 2 gallons of gravel, broom or axe handle, vegetable starts)
    First, thoroughly mix a pile of equal parts garden soil and compost. (You can also use potting soil from the garden center.)
    Second, get a large burlap bag or feed sack and fill the bottom six inches with soil. Insert the broom handle into the middle and hold it upright while filling the rest of the bag with soil.
    Third, compact some of the soil around the handle by gently pushing it outward. The idea is to compact enough so that you can then remove the handle and pour the gravel down the center hole. This provides a way for the water to reach all the way through the bag.
    Fourth, with a sharp knife, cut three-inch slits space about 6 inches apart, all over the bag.
    Finally, carefully insert vegetable starts in all the slits and water thoroughly. You can also plant starts around the top of the bag. Your bag garden is ready to grow! After a plant has been harvested, simply put another one in its spot. Your garden should be good for four years, or until the bag wears out.
    Remember when starting your garden that they are not that easy to move once completed. So be sure to build it where you’d like it to grow, in a place that is convenient and that gets enough sun for what you want to grow. (And remember that seedlings are always best transplanted late in the day, after the afternoon heat has passed…)


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