Plenty Belize Family Gardens Program


Plenty’s work in Belize has sought to address the related problems of environmental degradation, poverty, and poor nutrition through its GATE program (Garden-based Agriculture for Toledo’s Environment). First begun in 2002 at four schools, GATE has supported the creation and maintenance of gardens at 30 primary schools with a combined student body of more than 5,000. The gardens provide greatly needed nutritious produce for volunteer-run school lunch programs and are a focal point for educational activities for students. The gardens demonstrate practical agricultural alternatives aimed to maximize land use and productivity and minimize environmental damage. Plenty supplies tools, seeds, soil amendments, technical support and education to all participating schools. The GATE Program is well established. More than 50% of schools in the District are participating.

Family Garden, Santa Teresa Village, southern Belize

Building upon the local interest and involvement in GATE, and supported by a small grant from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation, Plenty now has the opportunity to develop and promote new initiatives aimed at decreasing malnutrition and poverty. Plenty’s Family Gardens Program is one such initiative, which will promote good nutrition, healthy living, environmental education and self-sufficiency within village households. Organic home gardens will provide nutritious fresh produce for families, will serve as a tool for teaching nutrition, will reduce costly and hazardous chemical inputs, and will provide the potential for additional household income. First year goals include establishing twenty home gardens, involving 100 family members and training twenty youths, graduates of our Gate Program, as garden advisors.

Work continues in the Gulf

p1010814.jpgPlenty Gulf Recovery Program Director, Tony Sferlazza, has returned to Arabi, Louisiana which is adjacent to the Lower Ninth Ward where, with the assistance of Plenty volunteer and electrician, Carl Evertson, he has been helping to install new electrical systems for homes getting repaired and the St. Bernard Parish Community Center. In the photo you can see Tony (on the right) and Carl at the St. Bernard Parish Community Center. Although FEMA has decreed that the trailers they gave people to live in two years ago after Katrina are unfit for habitation due to high levels of toxic chemicals in the construction materials, most people are still in their trailers because there is nowhere for them to go and the government has yet to provide the bulk of the funding promised to residents to help them renovate their flooded homes.

Plenty Update

americanhorsebannersm.jpgThe battle to limit the expansion of a uranium mining operation near the Pine Ridge Reservation is entering the second stage after a three judge panel heard the testimony of several experts and petitioners including Joe American Horse and Oliver Red Cloud, direct descendants of the 19th century Sioux Chiefs and signers of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty. That treaty deeded the Black Hills and more than half of the territory that today encompasses South Dakota and Nebraska and big portions of North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming to the Lakota people. To stay abreast of the latest developments in this battle please visit

The Plenty Belize School Gardens Project (GATE) is in full swing. They recently held another teacher training in the garden behind the Plenty Belize Office in Punta Gorda. They have also been doing a number of solar energy installations around the Toledo District including schools and an Indigenous environmental organization.(more…)