El Salvador

Food, Environment & Health

Throughout all Plenty’s activities, we support the efforts of economically marginalized communities to provide for their own basic needs, promote local culture, and protect their natural resources.

In Guatemala and El Salvador, Plenty works with indigenous communities, womens’ associations, local universities, agricultural schools and other non-profit organizations to:

  1. address immediate nutrition and clean water needs of undernourished and vulnerable children and families
  2. help families increase and sustain production of essential, nutrient rich foods
  3. establish plantings of trees and bushes with erosion control and insecticidal properties and increase their use
  4. support local efforts to process and market fresh, quality, low cost non-gmo soy products and related high nutrient foods

Guatemala Programs and Partners

Through Karen’s Nutrition Program (KSNP) at the Guatemala City waste dumpsite, Plenty works with local residents to increase the quality nutrient intake of undernourished children, improve parents’ understanding and ability to address family nutrition needs, and expand local employment opportunities. 2016 funding partners: Misioneros de Caridad, Plenty donors.

Through the Essential Seeds and Trees Program (ESTP) in Chimaltenango, Plenty works with the Mayan women of Tecnologia Para Salud (Technology for Health) and agricultural technician Amado Del Valle Montufar to help 80 farming families grow and use trees and bushes with erosion control and insecticidal properties, and increase production of essential native beans, corn and non-gmo soybeans. 2013 funding partners: Atkinson Foundation, Plenty donors.

The ESTP also works with professors and students of the agriculture school Escuela Formacion Agricola (EFA) in Solola to grow and distribute three varieties of non-gmo soybeans.

essential seeds and trees seedlings
Amado del Valle (rt), Plenty technician Chuck Haren, and a member of Tecnologia Para Salud check tree seedlings at the project nursery.

Amado with TPS reps.
Amado del Valle with members of Tecnologia Para Salud in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

 

Plenty also offers technical and material inputs to help Mayan community organizations ADIBE and FEDEPMA in Solola, and the women’s associations Grupo de Soya Santa Maria (GSSM) and Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (UPAVIM) in Guatemala City, to improve their processing and sales of fresh soy products and other high nutrient, low cost foods in their communities. Funding partners: Plenty donors.

ADIBE Soyaria crew
ADIBE soyfoods production staff in their “Fabrica de Soya,” which was originally established with Plenty’s assistance in 1980.

new GSSM milk making
A member of GSSM makes soymilk for the KSNP food supplementation project, which serves undernourished children of dumpsite workers in Guatemala City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Salvador Programs and Partners

Plenty began working with the non-profit organization El Cuenco, the Programa de Soya San Ramon (PSSR), and the University of El Salvador (UES) Schools of Medicine and Agronomy in May 2011, in response to requests for assistance to establish non-gmo soybean production.

With the UES School of Medicine and El Cuenco, Plenty helps families living in severe poverty (an income level of $50-$100/month for a family of 5-6 people) to address undernourishment and employment needs by establishing production and use of foods rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, iron and folic acid, such as moringa, chaya, chipilin and papaya, and the growing, processing and sales of red beans and protein rich non-gmo soybeans. Funding partners: Plenty donors, Trull Foundation, El Cuenco, UES.

saves 2 days planting 1:4 a
A farmer in San Ramon tries out a new wheel seeder provided by Plenty. The seeder can cut his planting time in half.

non-gmo soy between plantain
Non-gmo soybeans planted in January 2013 between rows of new plantain in the Bajo Lempa region of southern El Salvador..

 

 

Plenty and El Cuenco purchased filtering tools and provided training on their use to help 65 families eliminate bacteria, coliform, and reduce lead in their water. Professors and students from the UES School of Medicine conduct primary health care, nutrition, and related environmental education activities twice a month to help adults and children understand and address undernourishment and water contamination problems. Funding partners: UES, Plenty donors, El Cuenco, Trull Foundation.

Plenty assists the women of Programa de Soya San Ramon (PSSR) and the Comite de Mujeres San Carlos (San Carlos Women’s Committee) with technical and material support to improve the processing and distribution of fresh soy milk and fortified bakery and corn-based foods within their communities. Funding partners: Plenty donors, El Cuenco, Trull Foundation. 

Chuck does wokshop
Workshop in soy foods preparation with the Program de Soya San Ramon and  University of El Salvador nutrition students.

women make milk
Marta and family prepare a lunch of soymilk, omelets of egg, okara (pulp left over from milk production), and chaya/green leafy vegetables at Rancho Grande, El Salvador.

Plenty partners with UES professors and students to help families living in severe poverty  improve their health, food security, and employment opportunities. With UES School of Agronomy, non-gmo soybean variety trials are taking place to make seeds available to farming families.

2014 Fall/Winter Bulletin

November 2014

Dear Friends of Plenty,

  You’ve probably heard by now that Plenty’s founder and mentor, Stephen Gaskin passed away on July first of this year, right before our annual Plenty Board meeting. He hadn’t been directly involved with Plenty over the past few years but, without his original inspiration and vision, Plenty would not have been born. I first met him in 1968 in a church basement in San Francisco where he was holding meetings with a couple of hundred hippies on Thursday nights. Over the course of the following year these meetings grew to about 1,500 and they filled a local rock and roll hall, the Family Dog, on Monday Nights. Stephen would sit on a low wooden platform, talking without a microphone and lead a conversation related to the things we were all thinking about in those days like spirit and energy, war and peace and what could we young hippies do in a country and a world that we believed desperately needed some kind of spiritual awakening. We viewed Monday Night Class as the Continental Congress for the Second American Revolution, a revolution that would be nonviolent and motivated by love, but a real revolution in the sense that we wanted to live very differently based on our discoveries of who we were and what it means to be human. Of course, the late sixties and early seventies were traumatic times with the ever-present specter of an insane war in Vietnam and the assassinations of icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Then came the shooting of four students at Kent State by the National Guard on May 4, 1970.  That was on a Monday and that night, when we were gathered in the Family Dog as usual, the voices for arming ourselves and taking it to the streets were especially loud and insistent. It truly felt like the country was on the brink of a generational civil war and Stephen played a pivotal role as a voice for peace, pointing out that, in the first place, we couldn’t win a shooting war and, most importantly, our revolution would be rendered worse than meaningless, just another sorry chapter in the immensely stupid and self-destructive cycle of violence that seemed to have forever plagued our species.

On October 12 of that year, about 200 of us headed out across America with Stephen who had been invited on a speaking tour at universities and churches and community centers and town halls. We had moved into school buses fitted out with beds and kitchens and wood stoves. The first gig was in Minneapolis. We went to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Nashville, Boulder, CO and dozens of cities and towns in between, finally ending up back in San Francisco with the understanding that it was time to put our money where our mouth was.

The first step was to make a community where we could live together. We decided to head to Tennessee, to get away from the political noise on both coasts and where we might be able to afford land. We got lucky and found a thousand acre farm for $70/acre. In the beginning we were just learning how to farm and feed ourselves and deliver babies and deal with no running water and no electricity. We were very poor but we still felt like we had more than enough to be able to share. Because we had always been committed to effecting change in the world, the next natural step was to start Plenty. Through these early years of the Farm and Plenty, when we were pretty green and wet behind the ears and learning how to get along with each other (by 1974 when we founded Plenty there were about 600 of us) Stephen was an essential guide and I don’t think we could have made it without him. The rest is history and we actually have a book in the works (“The Roots of Plenty”) that will be out before year-end. On top of that, the Farm and Plenty are on display in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville as part of an Intentional Communities of Tennessee exhibit until the end of November. Imagine that.

I’d like to sign off with love and a big thank you to Stephen for his courage, vision and perseverance. I want to make a special plea for our friends and colleagues, Bisi and Mahmoud Iderabdullah who manage Imani House International, which has a clinic that’s on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Two of their staff have died from the disease. They need all the help we can give them. The new Bulletin is full of stories of people who inspire. They’re all on the front lines of the global campaign to make things better, to find and create solutions and to take care of others. They deserve our help.

With thanks to you from all of us at Plenty,

Peter Schweitzer

To view the Fall/Winter 2014 Plenty Bulletin simply click this link:
Plenty Bulletin Fall/Winter 2014

Plenty Bulletin Fall/Winter 2014

November 2014

Dear Friends of Plenty,

  You’ve probably heard by now that Plenty’s founder and mentor, Stephen Gaskin passed away on July first of this year, right before our annual Plenty Board meeting. He hadn’t been directly involved with Plenty over the past few years but, without his original inspiration and vision, Plenty would not have been born. I first met him in 1968 in a church basement in San Francisco where he was holding meetings with a couple of hundred hippies on Thursday nights. Over the course of the following year these meetings grew to about 1,500 and they filled a local rock and roll hall, the Family Dog, on Monday Nights. Stephen would sit on a low wooden platform, talking without a microphone and lead a conversation related to the things we were all thinking about in those days like spirit and energy, war and peace and what could we young hippies do in a country and a world that we believed desperately needed some kind of spiritual awakening. We viewed Monday Night Class as the Continental Congress for the Second American Revolution, a revolution that would be nonviolent and motivated by love, but a real revolution in the sense that we wanted to live very differently based on our discoveries of who we were and what it means to be human. Of course, the late sixties and early seventies were traumatic times with the ever-present specter of an insane war in Vietnam and the assassinations of icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Then came the shooting of four students at Kent State by the National Guard on May 4, 1970.  That was on a Monday and that night, when we were gathered in the Family Dog as usual, the voices for arming ourselves and taking it to the streets were especially loud and insistent. It truly felt like the country was on the brink of a generational civil war and Stephen played a pivotal role as a voice for peace, pointing out that, in the first place, we couldn’t win a shooting war and, most importantly, our revolution would be rendered worse than meaningless, just another sorry chapter in the immensely stupid and self-destructive cycle of violence that seemed to have forever plagued our species.

On October 12 of that year, about 200 of us headed out across America with Stephen who had been invited on a speaking tour at universities and churches and community centers and town halls. We had moved into school buses fitted out with beds and kitchens and wood stoves. The first gig was in Minneapolis. We went to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Nashville, Boulder, CO and dozens of cities and towns in between, finally ending up back in San Francisco with the understanding that it was time to put our money where our mouth was.

The first step was to make a community where we could live together. We decided to head to Tennessee, to get away from the political noise on both coasts and where we might be able to afford land. We got lucky and found a thousand acre farm for $70/acre. In the beginning we were just learning how to farm and feed ourselves and deliver babies and deal with no running water and no electricity. We were very poor but we still felt like we had more than enough to be able to share. Because we had always been committed to effecting change in the world, the next natural step was to start Plenty. Through these early years of the Farm and Plenty, when we were pretty green and wet behind the ears and learning how to get along with each other (by 1974 when we founded Plenty there were about 600 of us) Stephen was an essential guide and I don’t think we could have made it without him. The rest is history and we actually have a book in the works (“The Roots of Plenty”) that will be out before year-end. On top of that, the Farm and Plenty are on display in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville as part of an Intentional Communities of Tennessee exhibit until the end of November. Imagine that.

I’d like to sign off with love and a big thank you to Stephen for his courage, vision and perseverance. I want to make a special plea for our friends and colleagues, Bisi and Mahmoud Iderabdullah who manage Imani House International, which has a clinic that’s on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Two of their staff have died from the disease. They need all the help we can give them. The new Bulletin is full of stories of people who inspire. They’re all on the front lines of the global campaign to make things better, to find and create solutions and to take care of others. They deserve our help.

With thanks to you from all of us at Plenty,

Peter Schweitzer

To view the Fall/Winter 2014 Plenty Bulletin simply click this link:
Plenty Bulletin Fall/Winter 2014

Soy Agriculture and Nutrition, El Salvador

 by Chuck Haren

In an effort to help address the country’s need for quality low-cost protein and address under-nutrition, Engineer Mario Orellana and colleagues at University of El Salvador (UES) School of Agronomic Sciences are conducting trials and multiplying non-GMO soybean seeds at the university’s agriculture research center outside of San Salvador. Plenty has helped the UES access non-GMO soybean seeds and has provided material support to help the research team with crop maintenance and harvest. Researchers and professors at UES have requested assistance this year from Plenty in helping them obtain village-scale tools and equipment they could use to teach rural farming families and students how to produce soymilk, soy flour and related products. Plenty has been donated some of the equipment needed and we are looking for $4,000 in donations to transport these to El Salvador.

In the communities of Rancho Grande and San Carlos, UES, Plenty and El Cuenco representatives are working to help economically marginalized families address significant nutrient shortages through increased production and use of foods rich in Vitamin A/beta carotene and iron, including moringa, chaya, chiplin, and protein rich non-gmo soybeans. In November of last year the San Carlos Women’s Committee was able to initiate operations of a bakery and soy food processing center with technical help from Plenty, El Cuenco and UES, and grants for building materials and food processing equipment from the International and Trull Foundations.

El Salvador

Plenty works with the University of El Salvador (UES) Schools of Medicine and Agriculture, the non-
profit El Cuenco and Programa de Soya San Ramon (PSSR) to help rural communities with high incidences of under undernourishment expand production and processing of foods rich in protein, vitamins and
minerals.

In June of this year Plenty representatives conducted a soy foods processing workshop with the women of
PSSR and UES professors and students from the School of Medicine and Nutrition. Participants learned methods of preparing soy cheese/tofu and tempeh (a cultured soy food), and how to include these low cost, nutrient rich products within traditional foods and meals.

With the help of a grant from The Trull Foundation, delivery of agriculture materials, equipment and
technical support is helpingover 50 economically marginalized farming families living in the villages San Carlos, Taura and Rancho Grande, El Salvador to increase production of essential foods. Representatives from UES School of Agriculture and small farmers in Rancho Grande and Nueva Esperanza, were encouraged by yields from initial plantings of non-GMO soybeans, (above photo) harvested in late April and late July.

Plenty’s Food and Nutrition Projects

In Guatemala City, 300 undernourished children on Wednesdays and 490 on Saturdays have been receiving nutritious soy foods produced by two local women’s organizations. Four hundred adults living near the country’s largest waste dumpsite attended food preparation and nutrition workshops carried out by Grupo de Soya Santa Maria. The International and Trull Foundations and Jewish Helping Hands have contributed funds for these efforts. We have also been helping Amado Del Valle, the Agriculture School in Solola and local subsistence farmers begin to propagate non-gmo soybeans.

In El Salvador, 31 farming families in Rancho Grande received tools, seeds and technical support to help re-establish foods rich in vitamin A/beta carotene, and initiate plantings of non-gmo soybeans. Water filters were provided for 61 families living in Lower Rio Lempa to eliminate coliform, bacteria, and reduce lead in their drinking water. Plenty provided technical support and equipment to help the women at Programa de Soya San Ramon improve processing and distribution of fresh soy foods among economically disenfranchised families living in San Salvador. The Trull Foundation and El Cuenco provided financial support, and these efforts are being carried out in cooperation with the University of El Salvador School of Medicine, Department of Nutrition.

El Salvador Programs

by Chuck Haren

In September our Plenty team worked with the Director of Nutrition at the School of Medicine, University of El Salvador (UES), to bring agricultural tools and equipment to families in Rancho Grande, and San Vicente. The families share use of about 3 acres of land. This group, led mostly by women, will be planting moringa and chaya green leaf plants, and some other vegetable crops.  Family incomes average $50/month here, and these people lost many of their very few possessions in floods that swept through villages in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador in October 2011. Many thanks to our Plenty donors and the Trull Foundation.

Plenty is working with the University of El Salvador School of Medicine, Department of Nutrition, and El Cuenco (a US based NGO in Washington DC) to help Rancho Grande increase production of high nutrient foods, including soybeans and green leaf crops rich in vitamin A/ beta carotene, establish a food processing center, and address water contamination problems. A recent grant from the Trull Foundation, matched with funds from El Cuenco, provided water filters to 61 families.

Soy Projects Update

In May and November of 2011 Plenty representatives met with professors and department heads at the University of El Salvador (UES) School of Agriculture. With encouragement from the UES School of Medicine, in August representatives from the School made their first planting of non-gmo soybeans at an agriculture station near San Salvador.

This past December they harvested the first variety trials from three seed lines we brought to them from Guatemala, and they will be replanting in 2012.

They would like Plenty to conduct workshops for students about the processing of soybeans for small business development.  Plenty will continue working with the UES to multiply and distribute non-gmo soybeans and conduct soy food processing education activities in El Salvador.

El Salvador

In May and November of 2011 Plenty representatives met with professors and department heads at the University of El Salvador (UES) School of Agriculture. With encouragement from the UES School of Medicine, in August representatives from the School made their first planting of non-gmo soybeans at an agriculture station near San Salvador. This past December they harvested the first variety trials from three seed lines we brought to them from Guatemala, and they will be replanting in 2012. They would like Plenty to conduct workshops for students about the processing of soybeans for small business development. In 2012 (funding permitting) Plenty will continue working with the UES to multiply and distribute non-gmo soybeans and conduct soy food processing education activities in El Salvador