In putting together this new Fall Bulletin, we were struck by the photos of the people in El Salvador holding on to their new tools with such an evident sense of appreciation and resolve. We’re so tool-rich in the US it’s easy to forget how critical basic inexpensive tools like wheel seeders and post-hole diggers can be for people with no access to a neighborhood hardware store and no money besides. Board member Robert Reifel spent a month on Pine Ridge Reservation this past spring and when he came home he told us he thought one of the best things we could do for the Pine Ridge gardeners would be to start getting them more garden tools—hoes, shovels, wheelbarrows, and the like. We’d like to do that. We are estimating that around $200 can buy a full set of tools for a Pine Ridge garden.
We realized early on that providing tools to people wanting to be able to better support their families and communities should be a focus for Plenty. As we survey the precarious and turbulent state of the world, which we can pretty much do every day, thanks to the Internet (a blessing and a curse), we are reminded that small is beautiful, and we remember the far-reaching benefits of local, sustainable
The Louisiana Gulf Coast was slammed by Hurricane Isaac at the end of August. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Coast has been battered by four powerful hurricanes, and a major tropical storm. In every case many of our native Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw friends living around Pointe-aux-Chenes and on Isle de Jean Charles got flooded. Plenty has made a commitment to replace beds and bedding that were lost by sixteen of these families. These folks still haven’t recovered from the BP oil disaster in April 2010. Our Books To Kids project, that has been replacing books lost to storms along the Coast since 2006, itself lost over a thousand books that were stored in Slidell, Louisiana, where Isaac caused significant flooding.
Compiling a new Plenty Bulletin always makes us appreciate anew the vital and inspiring projects that we’re collaborating on thanks to the support from all of you, our donors and friends. Chuck Haren just came back from a marathon six weeks in Guatemala and El Salvador with reports of exciting developments in the community agriculture and nutrition projects in both countries. At Pine Ridge many more Oglala Lakota residents are trying their hand at organic gardening. Plenty Belize is breaking new ground in innovative village solar power. Books To Kids has now delivered more than 99,000 books and has opened a “Kids Reading and Tutoring Center” in Williamsburg, KY in the heart of Appalachia. Kids To The Country counselors are saying “It was the best summer ever!” (Of course they always say that.)
Happily we’re seeing thousands of these kinds of appropriate projects and thousands of small NGOs like Plenty in the US and in the countries where Plenty is working, and we all basically agree about the kinds of things that need to be done. When Plenty was first launched by Stephen Gaskin and the Farm Community in 1974, I don’t think any of us had any idea what we might be getting into. Nevertheless, we soon found ourselves involved in a lot of compelling projects, the support started building and never wavered, and thirty-eight years later we just want to say thank you again.
P.S. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) for 2013 is underway. This is the only authorized solicitation of federal employees in their workplace on behalf of approved charitable organizations. If you work for the federal government, please choose Plenty for your contribution – CFC # 11625