Update on April 10, 2008

During the Plenty “Summit” in February when two of our Indian friends from Pine Ridge Reservation came out, a Tennessee biodynamic gardener, Dennis Limon, who also happens to be one of Plenty’s founders, offered to travel up to Pine Ridge and help kick off the spring family gardens season. In March, Dennis and his son Carlos drove their pickup truck to South Dakota with a load of Dennis’s organic potting soil. While there they held workshops to teach people how to make their own rich potting soil and made enough while there for 16,000 seedlings.

Today I received the following email from our man in New Orleans, Tony Sferlazza: “Crazy day here today. My 20 volunteers from California came a day early, which is great. As we checked to see if the inspection of the electric wiring was completed before we started to hang the drywall in Sandy’s house, we found that the electrician who was paid never had the inspection done. This made Sandy start to cry. Poor thing paid lots of money to local contractors and was ripped off. I made a call to the city hall and told them of our problem and within minutes a local electrician came by and gave the approval to hang the sheet rock. He told me many people have been taken advantage of here and he just wanted to help. We thanked him and started our work. My friend Frank said, “What do we expect in New Orleans but more problems?” To Frank the place looks the same as his last visit (November ’07) and things are getting worst for families who have to out of their FEMA trailers by June. We can’t see why no one is coordinating all the volunteers that come to keep them busy. Plenty is now one of just a few organizations to call if you have twenty youths who are here to help and need something to do. I often wonder if we were not here who would help these folks? —Tony”

             Mark Miller reports from Belize: “Plenty Belize is part of two consortiums that will be working to help small businesses and microenterprises in rural Toledo. The first group is led by the Toledo Teachers Credit Union (TTCU) with partners Sustainable Harvest International Belize and Plenty Belize. The second group is led by Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology (BEST) with Plenty Belize as the lone partner. The European Union is providing the funding for these programs. While the paperwork was signed on 4 March 2008, we expect funds to arrive in late April or early May, and then the work will begin in earnest. We expect to be able to assist 10 groups and 50+ individual with their small business start-ups.” It’s encouraging to see other funders step in to help Plenty Belize expand its reach, but at this point, donors to Plenty International remain the primary funders of Plenty Belize programs.