This past year has been a great one for Plant With Purpose’s partnership with Kellogg Garden Products. Kellogg has supported us specifically through the sales of their Eden Valley blend of potting soils. Kellogg’s is a great example of corporate partnership that is a great fit for what we do. Kathy Kellogg Johnson has also travelled with us to Tanzania and Oaxaca, Mexico to learn more about our work and see first-hand the impact that it’s making on people’s lives.
I’m going to be speaking tonight at Kellogg’s annual awards dinner and highlighting some of the impact of our shared work. Here is some of what I’ll be sharing:
Plant With Purpose works with some of the poorest people in the world, subsistence farmers who are completely dependent on their land and what it produces.
This spring a group of us had the opportunity to visit Haiti, and one of the farmers we met was a woman named Edmonde Jules. We asked her about some of the challenges she faced in her life, and she said, “Last year I was working on my farm and my kids came home in the middle of the school day. And I asked, “Why are you home? And they said, he teacher told us to come home, because our school fees hadn’t been paid, so we can’t come back until they get paid.
Edmonde is a farmer, she depends on her land. And when that land doesn’t produce, she’s stuck. In fact in Fonds Verrettes, where she lives, the river that runs through town, that ought to be a source of fertility and abundant resources- water for farmers, water for people to drink, and so on, instead has become a deadly threat. Why? Because of the state of the soil, which is so severely eroded, that the town is plagued by deadly flooding and a variety of water-borne illnesses.
The great news, is that together we are helping farmers like Edmonde have a better future. When I asked her what difference Plant With Purpose’s work had made in her life. She said, “Now that I am able to grow more food, and have a safe place to save the money I earn, I know that my children will never be sent home from school again.” Think about that- what that means for her and her family and their dreams.
Let me introduce you to a second farmer in Haiti, Raymond Jean, whom we met that same day. He told us, “I used to have to buy chemical fertilizers to get a decent harvest from my land. I would have to buy bags of fertilizer that cost $7 per bag, but I don’t have to do that any more.”
Raymond Jean, with bunny
We asked, why not? He said, “Now I make my own compost, I can use that money to do other things- pay my kids school fees, buy medicine when I need it. In fact, I make so much compost now that I have a business selling compost to other people who come through town.”
He’s making money while at the same time doing something good for the environment. He’s farming land that has been devastated by erosion and over-farming, and rather than abandoning it, he’s restoring it, bringing it back to life, making it a place where people will be able to thrive and where their children can have hope of a better future.
This is the heart of Plant With Purpose’s work is to train rural farmers, the poorest of the poor, to meet their immediate needs for food and income, while at the same time restoring their damaged land to insure long-term productivity.
- Planting trees
- Teaching Composting and soil conservation
- Promoting Agroforestry, where trees and green crops are planted together
- Starting community savings groups
Just this year, specifically with the funds provided by Kellogg, we’ve been able to:
- Plant 10, 000 trees
- Train 500 farmers in composting and natural pest control
- Protect 200 acres of hillside farms
- Distribute 100 water filters to reduce water-born disease
One of Raymond Jean’s compost piles
How have these activities changed people’s lives? Human Impact? We have invested a lot of effort in recent years to objectively measure the impact of our activities in the lives of rural farmers. Here’s are some of the positive impacts we have seen:
- Improved health and nutrition – 50% reduction in water-borne illness
- Families like Raymond’s see increased income
- Children like Edmonde’s are able to stay in school
- Danger from floods and mudslides is dramatically reduced
These are life-changing, community transforming impacts that Kellogg has made possible. Our vision for the future is to continue to strengthen our partnership, to be able to help more people, and to continue to spread the word as to what we are accomplishing together. Kellogg, thank you again for your support!