Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 9 Plant With Purpose Highlights of 2009

by Aly Lewis

As we come to the close of 2009, I can’t speak for everyone at the Plant With Purpose office, but I can share my top 9 Plant With Purpose moments/achievements of 2009.

My Top 9 Plant With Purpose Highlights of 2009: (in chronological order)

1. The launch of Plant With Purpose After all the waiting and anticipating (and hard work and brainstorming and implementing), we launched our new website, new look, and new face of Floresta: Plant With Purpose. Same programs oversees, new look here. The Plant With Purpose name and website has already helped us to connect with a broader spectrum of constituents (you!) and is allowing us to better serve our partners in the field and more efficiently do our work of healing the land and its people. Plus(bias alert), it’s just a downright awesome website and look and my number one dig of the year.

2. Office Mishaps The time Scott, our Executive Director, thought the homemade office fruit fly trap was our newest employee (Corbyn’s) spit cup. The look of bewilderment on Scott’s face: priceless. (*Please note that Corbyn does not chew at the office or on his own time.)

3. Blogging With Purpose Starting this very Plant With Purpose Blog is definitely one of my highlights of the year. This blog provides an outlet for us to engage and connect with you—our wonderful fans and supporters. We get to let you know about all of the latest events and happenings in the office, share stories from the field, highlight other nonprofits who are making a difference in the world, and explain in greater detail what exactly it is that we do. I for one have felt privileged to share with you my thoughts on everything from my homegrown tomato terror to what it means to live compassionately to the environmental impacts of desertification to recounting my incredible experience visiting our program in Oaxaca, Mexico. Thanks a million for reading (and hopefully sharing!), and putting up with my cheesy titles, self-indulgences, and attempts to put a face to the remarkable farmers and people we work with around the world.

4. Trees Please video A sweet viral video that explains what we do in 3½ minutes. Enough said.

5. USAID From the American People Now many of you may not have heard about this, but this year we received a USAID grant award to expand and enrich the marketing efforts of our farmers in Tanzania. Many of our farmers have increased their vegetable and crop yields by 50% to 200% using our sustainable agriculture techniques; this project will help farmers maximize local markets to receive more money for the crops they grow, improving their livelihoods and fostering long-term growth and prosperity. The project kicked off this fall, and I can’t wait to hear stories of transformed lives.

6. Jedidiah Tees and Plant With Purpose Merch. This year we acquired some pretty hip Plant With Purpose tee’s from Jedidah. Not only did we get to have a fun-filled staff photo shoot where I got to rock a baby pink tee, but my present buying was streamlined for the year—unfortunately I’d given all of my immediate family members a shirt prior to Christmas, so Christmas shopping required slightly more effort than merely picking a shirt size and color.

7. Getting my socks knocked off at our most successful gala ever As anticipated, my socks were knocked off at our most successful ever! We had over 300 guests enjoy the opportunity to learn more about Plant With Purpose and support its efforts on behalf of the rural poor around the world. The evening was truly filled with merriment as everyone celebrated Floresta / Plant With Purpose’s 25th anniversary. And I got to flaunt a (new to me) little black dress.

8. Visiting Oaxaca For those of you who follow the blog, I’m sure you’ve been Oaxaca Wednesday-ed out, so I’ll keep it brief. In October I had the privilege of visiting Plant With Purpose’s program in Oaxaca, Mexico. I met Plant With Purpose stars and heroes such as Senor Gumersindo, saw abundant green houses and family gardens, met our remarkable, dedicated local staff, and came home with a profusion of great stories, testimonies, pictures, and memories. The trip was especially meaningful to me because I was able to share the experience with my mom. Thanks for coming with me, Mom! I’m so glad you got to see our program firsthand!

9. Media Blitz This year Plant With Purpose was featured in the New York Times, Relevant Magazine, and Christianity Today, not to mention the many other publications and countless blogs who highlighted our work. It sure feels good to be popular. And thanks to all of you who have shared Plant With Purpose with your friends and family! We couldn’t do what we do without you!

So those are my Top 9 Plant With Purpose moments of 2009. What are yours? Please share your favorite moments, memories, events, and even blog posts of 2009 in the comments section. Happy New Year!


Aly Lewis is Plant With Purpose’s Grant Writer. She researches funding opportunities, writes proposals, and submits progress reports on funding received. She also writes the content for Plant With Purpose's Sponsor A Village program.


  1. My favorite moments:

    1. Every Monday morning, getting to come to work with a fantastic and passionate team like the one we have at Plant With Purpose
    2. Getting to visit the field and see the amazing and transformative work of our partners.
    3. Getting to interact with the donors who make everything we do possible.

  2. I'm sure if there were a #10 it would be about interns...
    and, um, I love number 2.
    :)miss you

  3. Of course interns are at the top of the list! I'd have to write a whole seperate post to give the interns their due. We had an amazing year of amazing interns! Thanks for all of your hard work!