Friday, April 30, 2010

Sleepless in San Diego

by Colin Richard
Last Saturday Plant With Purpose joined dozens of other organizations in support of the 4th annual Sleepless San Diego event that took place at Liberty Station here in San Diego. Beginning mid-afternoon, hundreds of participants attended a free expo to learn more about the predicament of the approximately 10,000 homeless men, women and children that call the San Diego area home. Booths showcasing various businesses and organizations and their efforts to assist those affected by homelessness packed the periphery of a courtyard area in Liberty Station, while scores of cots filled the center. Live music, speakers and kids’ activities kept the scene lively. Individuals, and in some cases whole families, spent the night as well, some sleeping under makeshift cardboard structures as they sought to gain a deeper sense of empathy for what the urban poor of this city and others around the world experience daily.
Visitors to the Plant With Purpose booth were glad to see us, as usual. We often table at events such as these to share with others our commitment to alleviating poverty through environmental restoration, economic empowerment and spiritual inspiration. One initiative of Plant With Purpose in the countries where we work is helping to establish biointensive vegetable gardens to help the poor provide fresh, nutritious vegetables for themselves and sometimes for market as well. The big news at Sleepless was that a potential partnership is in the works between Plant With Purpose and San Diego Rescue Mission to develop a garden program that will provide both fresh fruits and vegetables and job training for the homeless
individuals at the Mission. We had an awesome example of a raised vegetable bed on display that drew hundreds of people into our booth to learn and get excited about the potential pilot project! Locally produced healthy veggies and San Diego volunteer opportunities coming soon to Plant With Purpose! Stay tuned for more updates as time goes on!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Plant With Purpose in Relevant Magazine!

Check out Plant With Purpose in the May / June issue of Relevant magazine and find out why caring for the environment will be key to Haiti's recovery: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/digital-issue-45?page=83

Please help us spread the word about our work in Haiti by adding this link on your Twitter or Facebook page!

Also, check out this review of Tending to Eden on Relevant's online Creation Care section: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/creation-care/features/20905-planting-with-purpose

Happy reading:)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Voices from Haiti: Displaced But Not Despairing

by Stephanie Rudeen

There are thousands upon thousands of examples of people who were displaced during the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti in January. Within this tangle of displaced and suffering people, it can sometimes feel hard to relate to or understand such suffering. But hearing the individual story of a woman who has experienced this devastation somehow makes this event more real, more heart wrenching, and is a stronger call for action.

Fontes Oldil (pictured above) is a graduate of the Plant With Purpose-sponsored agricultural vocational course that Plant With Purpose began in the late nineties. Before the earthquake hit, she was pursuing university-level studies in agronomy in Port au Prince at the Episcopal agricultural college. She was preparing her thesis on tomato production and was scheduled to graduate in March, with many opportunities beginning to open in front of her. But then the earthquake hit on January 12. Her school was destroyed and 21 of her classmates were killed. Even more were killed at an extension campus and many others are still in the hospital. Fontes was lucky, she lived through the quake, but she was still injured on her head and leg.

The day after the earthquake shook Haiti, Fontes decided to leave Port au Prince and walk back towards Grand Coline. Fontes didn’t walk alone though, she was with a group of about 12 friends, all students, heading to Bodin and Meyer to try and put the pieces of their lives back together again. Like many other displaced Haitians, that first night of walking she slept on the road in Gressier. She didn’t eat while walking, too devastated and shocked, but only drank small amounts of water and soda that were given to her. After a second day of walking she made it to Carrefour Dufort where she stayed in the home of Andrise, a friend from Cherident. On the third day she finally made it to Meyer where her family is from. Now she finally has a place to temporarily call home, be it with eight others at a friend’s house.

Now in Meyer, Fontes is again working with Plant With Purpose. Fontes is the supervisor for 4 work teams of 20 people each. Her job is for two weeks, designed to rehabilitate the farmland and watershed while simultaneously allowing people to buy food and inject some cash into the rural economy. This way, Fontes will not have to return to Port au Prince, and can stay in Meyer with her friends and the possibility for hope through Plant With Purpose. Fontes is grateful for the opportunities Plant With Purpose has given to her, and though displaced, she is not despairing.

To help more Haitians recover from the devastating quake and bring hope to individuals like Fontes, Click Here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Plant With Purpose Around the Globe

by Corbyn Small
We've always been an international non-profit organization... we've always been based in San Diego and have been pretty good at telling the story of our work with subsistence farmers... but we haven't always had great international exposure... Well, here's some good news: Plant With Purpose is getting more recognition for its quality international programs than EVER before! Here are some cool ways folks across the US and around the globe are representing Plant With Purpose and engaging in their communities!
In Boulder, Colorado Plant With Purpose was welcomed with a warm reception to the Boulder EarthFest event in celebration of Earth Day. Plant With Purpose was one of 10 non-profit organizations to receive a complimentary space at this spectacular event. Thousands of members of the community came to celebrate mother earth, and plenty of them got the chance to learn about Plant With Purpose's sustainable mission to care for the environment and empower the people who inhabit it. Erik Haagenson, a student in Boulder and enthusiastic supporter of Plant With Purpose ran a great interactive booth sharing our story. About mid-day I got a call from Erik updating me about the event, and one particular thing he said made my day as the
Plant With Purpose Outreach Coordinator. Erik said, "I am so proud to be representing Plant With Purpose here. You guys are really an incredible organization." If you know of big events that you think Plant With Purpose should be represented at and you want to host a table and share our story, please email me! corbyn@plantwithpurpose.org
Moving further away than Colorado... In Luxembourg and Canada, two business owners have already committed 1% of their company's revenue to Plant With Purpose's Haiti relief efforts. 1% For the Planet has helped get us connected, and we are now building relationships with these folks. Our friend in Luxembourg, Per-Fredrik, is even running a marathon in May and has set a goal to raise $1,000 for Plant With Purpose! (formerly known as Floresta) check it out here---> http://firstgiving.com/pfhagermark. If you would like to help Plant With Purpose in your own fundraising efforts, please email me at corbyn@plantwithpurpose.org We have a lot of resources available to help you tell our story and we need the help of people like Per-Fredrik and Erik all around the world!
One easy way to both share Plant With Purpose and fundraise for us is through Facebook! There are more
than 50 people around the world who have signed up on Facebook to ask their friends to forget buying birthday presents for their upcoming bday and inviting them instead to donate to Plant With Purpose because we are the cause they want to support! Some people have raised over $400 just by asking for small $15-25 gifts from their friends and family! Tell your family why you care about Plant With Purpose and the work we do and I bet they will gladly support you! Check it out, click here!
To list a few more great stories... In Northern California, a great friend of Plant With Purpose hosted a wine party with a purpose! He shared his passion for Plant With Purpose with lots of friends and raised a few thousand dollars to support our programs! In classrooms around the United States there are teachers who are sharing Plant With Purpose with their
students who, in turn, are sharing it with their families and hosting creative fundraisers! The list goes on and on of creative ways individuals and groups are supporting us. The exciting bottom line is this: there are TONS of ways that you can help Plant With Purpose gain exposure and fundraise! All it takes is some time, passion, and a little creativity! So give it a shot and let us know what exciting ways you are helping to make a difference for Plant With Purpose!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Haiti Relief Update: Plant With Purpose Spills the Beans

by Aly Lewis
Plant With Purpose has supplied 2,716 farmers with 79, 225 pounds of local bean seeds as a part of our relief and recovery project in Haiti. Farmers planted these seeds back in February and the results are cropping up across farmers’ fields. Beans are a two-month crop and farmers will be able to harvest their produce in just a couple of weeks, which will enable them to meet their household staple needs and also generate income by selling surplus beans at the market. This will increase food security in the communities where we work and provide food to be exported to urban areas.
Below, you can see how the results of Plant With Purpose’s seed distribution project are “sprouting up:”
With Plant With Purpose’s help, farmers are growing nutritious food to feed their families in the next harvest.
Thanks to everyone for their continued support and prayers for our recovery project, and don’t be afraid to spill the beans about the great work Plant With Purpose is doing in Haiti! ( I apologize for the excessive use of puns in this post, but hey, I’m a wordsmith, not a bean counter)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Plant With Purpose Partners with Farmers to Plant Trees Before the Rainy Season

By Tenaya Wickstrand, Plant With Purpose Intern

Every Tuesday morning we have an hour long training here at Plant With Purpose where we spend time studying, discussing, and sharing ideas about transformational development. This week we had the pleasure of hearing from our Executive Director, Scott Sabin, who recently returned from a trip to Haiti. He shared his experience and informed us on the conditions in Haiti by recounting the atmosphere, and the conditions of the environment. His experiences shed a new and a more personal light on the issue for me. I have read countless articles and seen a surplus of images, but to see Scott’s pictures and hear the story behind each one gave me a new and heart-wrenching view of life in Haiti.

One photo stood out above the others. An image of just one of the 1,800 camps of displaced people in the rural areas was imprinted in my mind. More than 600,000 people are currently displaced out of Port-au-Prince. Seeing the sea of white where thousands of people sleep under tents made of simple sheets, sticks, and whatever else they could find is not one you simply forget. Few of the tents, if any, had tarps. With some of these camps in flood prone areas, the sheets are not adequate protection from the rain, and the upcoming hurricane season. The government is working to move some camps to better locations, and provide tarps, but as of now they are still in danger. This is yet another obstacle for the courageous Haitians to overcome.

The thought of thousands of people sleeping under sheets, and others with even less, shook me. It further cemented that the work we do at Plant With Purpose is so vital. The hurricane season is approaching and hundreds of thousands are vulnerable. Not only are these people barely protected, but according to a recent article in the Associated Press, this hurricane season is predicted to be more aggressive than usual, with the possibility of as many as “15 named storms between June 1st and November 30th.” This could mean even more devastation for the people of Haiti, who are still struggling to recover from the January 12th earthquake.

Part of the problem that Plant With Purpose is working to eradicate is deforestation. By constructing soil conservation barriers through our “Cash-for-Work” programs, we are helping to protect the hillsides from the hurricane season, as well as providing work for over a thousand unemployed farmers.

Plant With Purpose is proud to work alongside the Haitians as they work to reforest their land and transform their lives. Stay tuned for more updates and blog posts on Plant With Purpose’s vital work in Haiti!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Everyday is Earth Day!

By Tenaya Wickstrand, Plant With Purpose Intern

Today is officially Earth Day! For a lot of people, Earth Day is a once a year reminder of just how important it is to help our environment, but for us at Plant With Purpose everyday is an Earth Day celebration. Each day we are dedicated to helping our global environment through eradicating poverty.

Plant With Purpose works in impoverished,deforested countries whose environment is in dire straights. Having cut down trees, a precious resource, as a last resort for survival, locals are left with no means of sustainability. By partnering with local farmers to reforest their land we are helping to alleviate poverty by solving this vicious cycle of deforestation.

As a result, for the past 25 years we have worked with farmers around the world to plant millions of trees, restore dried up water sheds, provide thousands of jobs.

Earth Day is a great reminder to the world of just how important our environment is, and the many ways individuals can help. We have been proud to participant in many events, including Balboa Park’s Earth Fair last weekend. I was excited to be a part of our most successful Earth Fair ever in our 20 years of participating. We shared our work, and encouraged people to help us plant trees. The response was amazing. Young children to older adults enthusiastically donated to planting trees! Our goal is to plant 1 million trees this year, and we hope to continue to share our work with as many people as possible.

Today should be a focus of everyday. You can help us achieve our goal of reforesting the hillsides in the 6 countries where we work by visiting our website and planting a tree for just 1 buck, or an orchard for 10 bucks!

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Taste of Transformation

Read how Plant With Purpose is transforming the lives of farmers in Malindi, Tanzania:

Zabihu Abraham Kanyaka is the chairman of organic agriculture in the village of Malindi, Tanzania. With the help of Plant With Purpose, Zabihu has been able to improve his farm, increase his income, and provide for his growing family! Before Plant With Purpose, Zabihu was using industrial fertilizers and pesticides and letting his chickens roam free without a constant food supply. Now, Zabihu has been trained in organic farming, how to construct ridges to help the land retain water, and how to make organic fertilizer and double dug vegetable gardens. Zabihu has had great success with all of the training he has received and it is now much easier for him to farm on the steep slopes and eroded soil that covers most of his land.

Zabihu says, “Before, with the traditional methods of farming, I was not able to grow enough food to feed my family. Now, I have enough for my family and can sell the surplus to villagers and schools in the area. The money we save on food plus the money we earn help us pay for school for our 5 children!”

To equip more farmers like Zabihu to build a better life for their families click here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

40 Years of Earth Day, 20 Consecutive Earth Fairs of Success

by Corbyn
Last Tuesday I blogged about the excitement of the coming event at Balboa Park for Earth Day. Well, I've got some great news! Our 20th year at the Balboa Park Earth Fair was the most successful year yet... BY FAR! The event boasted 65,000 people who attended this year, hundreds upon hundreds of whom came by the Plant With Purpose booth to interact with any one of our 15 awesome volunteers. Hundreds came to learn just what Plant With Purpose is all about and each one learned about this great local organization that has been preaching and practicing sustainable living and community development for 25 years! What a great venue for Plant With Purpose to reach out to so many with the message of our international work. People were wonderfully receptive to our message and were really energized to plant a tree for a buck, buy a t-shirt or a bag of coffee, or slap an awesome 'Plant Hope' removable tattoo on their kids or significant others!
We raised $2,000 dollars, which is well over double what we raised last year, and we also had a great article in the Earth Times magazine, of which 25,000 issues were distributed! As we told booth visitors that Plant With Purpose is going to plant over 1 million trees in the six countries we work, we asked people to donate $1 to plant 1 tree, or $5 to plant five trees and so on. Over 350 trees were purchased and many more people left our booth with a feeling of involvement in our reforestation efforts! We even had a few of the girls from the San Diego Roller Derby (who just raised over $350 at their last 'bout' for us) come volunteer, helping us draw crowds and sell trees! Here are a few pictures from the event!

Monday, April 19, 2010

What does it mean to “Tend to Eden”?

By Kate McElhinney

Want to learn more about what the Bible has to say about caring for the environment? Or maybe you’re wondering how the environment impacts the lives of the poor. Plant With Purpose’s Executive Director, Scott Sabin, has recently written a book that answers these questions, and more.

Here is a sneak peek from pages 22 to 24 in Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People.

“In December 1997 Plant With Purpose’s technical director, Bob Morikawa, and our new Haitian director, Jean-Mari Desilus(whom we called Dezo), traveled with me to the Haitian village ofKavanac. The sun beat down on us as we walked a steep, narrow path between hillside farms, their tiny fields separated from one

another by loose rock walls. Ragged corn struggled through the rocks on either side of us. My lunch was not sitting well.

After we’d crossed one ridge and were on our way up a secondlong slope, I told the others I needed a rest. As I sat on a large stone, contemplating the hill in front of me, two elderly women came up the hill, five-gallon buckets of water balanced on their heads. “Bon swa, blan,” they greeted me. They asked where we

were going, and Dezo told them we were headed to a village meeting in Kavanac. The older woman said they were on their way to the same meeting. “We’ll let them know you will be along in a

while,” she said with a teasing grin.

At the top of the last ridge, I could see the Caribbean to the south, Haiti’s tallest mountain, Pic La Selle, shrouded in cloudsto the east, and the brilliant blue water of the Bay of Port-au-Prince to the north. A little farther along the ridge sat a group ofabout forty farmers, men and women, in an open-sided lean-to

made of wood and corrugated tin. When we reached them, several sidled up tome and discreetly held out their hands while rubbing their stomachs.

I shook my head, indicating I had nothing to give them. The meeting convened and moved past pleasantries to a series of questions from the community as to what Plant With Purpose intended to do in the village. A woman stood and, in a confrontational tone, told me about the other humanitarian agencies that

had worked in the area. She named two agencies that had brought food and clothes, then left and never returned. “How is Plant With Purpose going to be any different?”

After giving the question some consideration, I responded, “Well, first of all, we are not going to give you anything.” She looked stunned.

“Second, we are not going to leave until you ask us to.” The woman stood there, speechless.

Once we understand God’s heart for justice and the vicious cycle of deforestation and poverty that traps the poor, how do we respond? The desire to help is admirable in a world where far too many pass by on the other side of the road. But determining how to respond can be complicated.

I was originally drawn to the work of serving the poor and hungry because it seemed simple, unambiguous, and virtuous. I had studied political science and was often struck by the moral ambiguity and unexpected consequences of most policy choices. Well intended programs often had the opposite effect of what their

drafters expected. The most well-meaning projects could cause great harm. As I was to discover, humanitarian work can be nearly as complicated.

Many humanitarian organizations respond to poverty and injustice by giving surplus food, medicine, and clothes, and maybe starting orphanages and clinics. They focus on treating the symptoms of poverty—which sorely need to be treated. But others ask questions about the root causes: Why are people are hungry and sick? Why so many orphaned children?

The Bible seems pretty straightforward in its approach: give a cup of cold water in the name of the Lord. Our first response is often to give things away. The poor clearly lack things, and we have things, so what could be more obvious than giving out of our abundance?

Yet giving things often comes with unintended consequences. Without knowing the needs and challenges faced by local communities, our gifts can be inappropriate. In one community where we work, a relatively new bulldozer sat in front of a school yard for many years, slowly rusting. No doubt it was given with the

best of intentions and was probably very expensive to ship. Yet it was completely inappropriate to the local conditions. It ended up serving as a germination bed for weeds and a few small trees before being sold for scrap.

Even when gifts are appropriate to the needs of the people, they can often create dependency. Haiti has received numerous donations and many short-term mission teams have come to share the gospel and build churches and school buildings. Yet there is a growing school of thought that much of our aid may be hurting the locals.

As we were establishing Plant With Purpose in Haiti, a longtime missionary sternly informed us that he wasn’t sure Haiti needed another well-intended nonprofit agency. “We have created a nation of beggars,” he said. “For years folks have been coming down here thinking they are helping by giving things away. But that just teaches people to beg.” Another missionary told me that after citizens in one village received cracked wheat from USAID, few local farmers bothered to plant corn because they couldn’t compete with free food.

Often, the problem is less with aid itself than with how it is applied. We tend to focus on short-term, immediate-impact solutions rather than long-term investments in people. Many Americans have at least a passing understanding of what handouts do to initiative, self-esteem, and motivation. We talk of how a welfare mentality creates dependency. When we see panhandlers on the street corner, most of us realize a handout won’t change their lives. A gospel tract probably won’t do much good, either—though it may be better than handing them a dollar. Unfortunately, we don’t always translate that understanding into our approach to the poor overseas.”

You can purchase Tending to Eden through our website here: http://www.plantwithpurpose.org/page/64/tending-to-eden.html.

For every purchase that is made through our website, amazon.com will donate a portion of the proceeds to Plant With Purpose, which will go toward directly benefiting the rural poor. Thank you, faithful readers, for your support! And stay tuned for more "tastes" of Tending to Eden.

Kate McElhinney serves as the Marketing Coordinator for Plant With Purpose. She plays an integral role in executing the company’s marketing campaigns and PR efforts. Kate also coordinates the annual gala and oversees the production of the company newsletter, The Sower.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Book by Matthew Sleeth Explores what the Bible has to Say about Caring for the Earth

For today’s blog post we’d like to feature Plant With Purpose’s friend and fellow creation care advocate Dr. Matthew Sleeth. Sleeth is the founder of Blessed Earth, an online community whose focus, like Plant With Purpose, is to serve God and the planet.

Here is an overview of Sleeth’s new book, The Gospel According to the Earth, taken from the Blessed Earth website:

As an emergency room doctor, Matthew Sleeth saw a disturbing increase in asthma, autoimmune diseases, cancers, and other environmentally related health issues. Although he considered himself an environmentalist, he lacked the commitment to do anything about it. One slow night in the ER, Sleeth picked up a Gideon's Bible in the waiting room. Although raised in a Christian home, he had long ago abandoned his childhood beliefs. Reading the gospels that night, Sleeth became a Christian, and to his shock, he began to uncover in the Scriptures an enormous wealth of environmental answers that he had been seeking. As a result, his family took an account of their lifestyle, drastically reduced their reliance on electricity and fossil fuels, and began sharing their inspirational journey with others. Here, Sleeth invites you on his family's journey as they realize that one cannot be a Christian without recognizing the Bible's call to care for God's creation.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is filled with instructions on how we can demonstrate our love for the Creator by caring for the earth. Sleeth leads us on a highly creative journey through Scripture, visiting some of the most important characters in the Bible and discovering what they can teach us about issues such as stewardship, caring for our neighbors, and pollution. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden teach us the importance of physical work in relation to discovering fulfillment and a sense of human purpose, the prophet Daniel calls us to question our dietary habits, and the story of Noah addresses key issues for life on earth: how do we relate to the Creator, to others in the human community, and to the rest of the natural world? With passion and faith, Sleeth provides a new green lens through which we can read the Bible to discover answers to our biggest questions about the environment and how to care for it.

The Gospel According to the Earth is available to pre-order here: http://www.harpercollins.com/book/buy.aspx?isbn13=9780061730535

Also, Blessed Earth will be hosting a “Hope for Creation” interactive simulcast on the eve of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, (Wednesday, April 21st). To register, click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Miracle Baby in the Rubble of Haiti

By Tenaya Wickstrand, Plant With Purpose Intern

For months the stories of Haiti’s vicious earthquake have shaken our lives. As accounts of broken homes and broken lives continue to appear in the news, a light shines through. The headline of a recent article, “The Story of Baby Jenny”, caught my eye because of my love for babies and children of all kinds. This passion developed from my upbringing with an adoption attorney mother, who dedicates her life to helping and protecting infants who can’t protect themselves.

When the earthquake struck, a 2-month-old baby girl named Jenny was trapped under her family’s collapsed home with her unconscious mother, Nadine. Nadine was pulled from the disaster without her child.

Aid workers found baby Jenny mixed in the rubble of Port-au-Prince. Remarkably, she was alive and was immediately taken to medical tents where she was then transported to the U.S. for further medical care. Her parents had no knowledge of her rescue and didn’t know if she was alive or dead.

Doctors in the U.S. didn’t expect Jenny to survive due to the severity of her injuries, including a fractured skull. But miraculously, Jenny pulled through and has recovered beautifully. After months of trying to rejoin her with her family, last week Jenny was welcomed back into her parent’s arms.

This miracle is just one of many, though not all are witnessed globally. It touched me, and the work I do at Plant With Purpose, to see such a clear act of God’s amazing work. It makes me so glad to say I am a part of a Christian non-profit working in Haiti to help these families in need. This story also gave a face to the many thousands of children in Haiti who have been affected by the earthquake and other natural disasters. My work with Plant With Purpose helps expand the awareness to all borders of the U.S. Just to know that we help families such as this one to improve their quality of life, restore their relationship with God, and help make them self-sufficient creates a deep satisfaction for me personally and a desire to do more.

There are many families in need of help, and they don’t get the attention that Jenny’s situation did. By providing the public with knowledge of the situation in Haiti and of the impact Plant With Purpose has through its various programs, we are stepping in the right direction to transform Haiti’s communities into a more sustainable way of life.

Note: the mother and child in this picture are members of a community where Plant With Purpose works. They are not Nadine and Jenny.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Faces from Haiti

Lucien Frances is the youngest member of a Plant With Purpose work team in Trouin, Haiti. As part of Plant With Purpose’s short-term employment program he has helped dig contour canals and plant trees. Lucien was displaced from Port au Prince, where he was living and attending high school before the quake. The quake destroyed one wall of his home, and he and four family members relocated to rural Trouin to stay with his grandmother. Back in the city, Lucien’s mother sold sandals, shoes and other items, which they would buy at the port in Port au Prince and then resell in a sidewalk market near Carrefour. His father sold lottery tickets from a small “bank” which was destroyed in the earthquake.

Plant With Purpose’s short-term employment program has been the first work they have had since they arrived on January 18th, six days after the earthquake. They are using the much-needed income to buy food for the whole family. Lucien hopes to go back to school again when it opens (many schools opened in early April, but not all).

Currently Plant With Purpose is employing 600 people at a time: 30 teams of 20 creating soil erosion barriers, planting trees and rehabilitating watersheds. Every two weeks we hire new teams to spread the benefit out as much as possible. To date 1,300 people have been put to work.

We are grateful to be able to provide individuals like Lucien with employment opportunities that reinvigorate the local economy, and accomplish something very necessary: the rehabilitation and restoration of Haitian agricultural lands. We are inspired by the resilience we’ve seen, and are grateful to partner with Haitians to spark a glimmer of hope in a desperate situation.

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti! You can also help by donating online at www.plantwithpurpose.org toward our relief and long-term recovery efforts. Or, consider sponsoring a village in Haiti. Your $30 a month sponsorship will double thanks to a matching grant, which will greatly impact the lives of a Haitian community by providing them with the food and shelter they so desperately need. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Earth Day 2010!

by Corbyn
This Sunday we are celebrating our 20th year in a row being an exhibitor at the largest free Earth Day gathering in the world! That's right, in the world! The Balboa Park Earth Fair is this Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and will bring between 60,000-70,000 like-minded folks who want to show their respect for the planet. Plant With Purpose was one of the first five organizations (back when we were known as Floresta) to ever sign up for the event in 1991, and we are excited to celebrate its 20th successful year!
Another sweet fact is that this is the 40th Earth Day ever! Back in 1970 a Senator from Wisconsin wanted to create an environmental awareness 'teach-in,' and 0ver 20 million people participated that year. This year over 500 million people in 175 countries will participate in the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! Some of our readers might remember the oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969... this is said to have inspired the creation of an environmental awareness day.
On April 18th at Balboa Park, you will find Plant With Purpose's booth, staffed by wonderful volunteers, on your right-hand side after you cross the Laurel Street bridge and enter the Balboa Park promenade. We have attended the Earth Fair for the last 20 years because we see the importance of joining together to acknowledge our role in caring for this beautiful planet, and in caring for creation we see what a difference can be made in the lives of those who rely on the land to provide for their families. Please come by and check out our Plant With Purpose booth, chat with our staff and volunteers, and pick up a NEW Plant With Purpose t-shirt as well as free temporary tattoos if you mention this blog post!
Also, don't miss Scott's article in the Balboa Park Earth Day free publication! Find it at the Earth Fair or at free literature stands around San Diego.
Here's some helpful maps and tips for parking (though walking or riding a bike are going to be the best options!):
Hope to see you there!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Starlettes Raise over $150 for Haiti Relief!

by Aly Lewis

The San Diego Roller Derby Starlettes raised over $150 for Plant With Purpose’s Haiti relief and recovery program at one of the most exciting—and fascinating—fundraising events I’ve ever attended.

The Starlettes battled the Bakersfield Diamond Divas in a high-energy roller derby bout on Saturday night. Rumble Pie, the Starlettes’ star jammer, whizzed past the Divas’ blockers, racking up points as the crowd cheered for the home team. At halftime the Starlettes were leading the daring divas and the crowd relaxed to enjoy a hip hop halftime show performed by girls with seriously stellar dance skills and a killer break dancing duo who flaunted their sweet moves on what else but roller skates.

During the second period, the Divas launched a fierce dose of competition into the Starlettes’ galaxy and our persistent home team lost their lead. Although the mighty Starlettes lost the bout, Plant With Purpose was inspired by their creative fundraising efforts, awed by their star-studded performance and honored to be the beneficiary of their benevolence.

Thank you for your support, Starlettes!

Plant With Purpose's Marketing Coordinator, Kate-O-Mite, poses with Starlette, Wonder Whoop'em

And they're off! The skaters whizz around the rink in a blur as they attempt to knock down the competition.

Plant With Purpose Grant Writer, The Alexacuter, and Haiti Relief Intern, The Colinstigator, show off their awesome new blue Plant With Purpose t-shirts and our newest item--temporary tattoos(!) as they work the Plant With Purpose table.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Plant With Purpose Haiti Update

Our Technical Director, Bob Morikawa, and our Executive Director, Scott Sabin, recently returned from a trip to Haiti where they oversaw and assessed Plant With Purpose’s earthquake relief efforts. We will be posting pictures and videos in the coming week from their trip. You can see some below.

Since the earthquake, Plant With Purpose has distributed over 250,000 pounds of rice, and has provided 79,000 pounds of bean seed to thousands of rural farmers. Additionally, we have employed 489 workers to construct 86 miles of soil conservation barriers, which will provide a vital barricade against the impending hurricane season.

The local Haitian staff has also been conducting weekly assessments in the communities where Plant With Purpose works to get a better sense of the situation. Last week, they found that the most significant challenges for households were obtaining food and shelter, and seeds and farming. Before the earthquake, people were eating under 3 meals a day, but now they are reportedly eating less than 2 meals per day. Furthermore, according to surveys, the most significant challenge faced by the communities as a whole is acquiring food.

Although much is being done to help the people of Haiti, it is still going to be a long road to recovery. And there remain serious obstacles, such as the hurricane season, which some are predicting will bring many storms to the area.

Please keep Haiti in your prayers! You can also help by donating online at www.plantwithpurpose.org toward our relief and long-term recovery efforts. Or, consider sponsoring a village in Haiti. Your $30 a month sponsorship will double thanks to a matching grant, which will greatly impact the lives of a Haitian community by providing them with the food and shelter they so desperately need. Thank you for your support!

A community in Haiti works to create soil conservation barriers as a preventative measure against the potential upcoming hurricanes.

Tents where the Haiti-Floresta staff and Scott slept.

A fragile tent city right by the Plant With Purpose Haiti office. This is better than most since the shelters have two tarps.

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