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Reading With Purpose


Written by Plant With Purpose on July 13, 2011 in General

by Audrie Peveler

I’m not much of a reader.  In 6th grade, my reading class was designed to give students a bit more of a challenge, so we were supposed to read a certain number of higher-level books per quarter.  Maybe it was the idea of someone telling me what to do (Try telling a junior higher what to do…see what happens), or maybe it was just too much pressure for my pubescent brain to handle.  Regardless, I left the sixth grade hating reading, discovered Spark Notes, and have read very few books since then. 

Lo and behold, my internship under Plant With Purpose’s illustrious grant writer, Aly Lewis, has been loaded with reading.  However, for the first time in my life, I can’t get enough.  I have been reading proposals, reports, a chapter of this, a section of that.  So far, the most rewarding reading has come from reading Scott Sabin’s book, Tending to Eden, coupled with past proposals for Plant With Purpose’s family garden projects in Oaxaca, Mexico.   This honest book discusses the ups and downs of Scott and Plant With Purpose’s journey in environmental stewardship, including the mistakes.  From what I have seen, Plant With Purpose is a learning organization that acknowledges when something doesn’t work, and also embraces the fact that when you work with people, circumstances become unpredictable.

Scott writes about how in the beginnings of the DR program, the cash crop of choice was oregano.  Farmers focused many funds and efforts toward better-quality oregano, but when the rest of the country caught on, oregano became next to worthless.  Mistakes were made, and the lesson was learned.  Now, teams in the six countries Plant With Purpose works in look for more diversified crops to produce.  Scott writes, “God loves diversity.  He gave us many remarkable plants and trees, most of which we are just beginning to appreciate.” 

From their experiences in the Dominican Republic, Plant With Purpose has learned great ways to approach their Family Garden programs in Mexico.  Oaxaca, Mexico has seen incredible results through specialized, sustainable, long-lasting crops, such as utilizing the already abundant source of pine trees to make pine baskets. (Side note: purchase one these beautiful pine baskets and a bag of Malindi coffee at one of our events.  Pour coffee into pine basket, leave it in the sun, and prepare for a wonderful aromatic experience.  Accidental discovery after transporting Plant With Purpose supplies!)  Incredible results have also come from a diversified diet that comes from Family Gardens.  Adults and children are healthier, and as a result are able to contribute more to their community such as cisterns and latrines (See Aly’s latest blogto read about village latrines), which, when coupled with our spiritual development programs, create what the book calls a victorious cycle. 

“Reading With Purpose.”  That’s what I’m calling my summer reading.  Not only does the reading change the way I see my world, the people in it, and the environment surrounding it, but as we become more knowledgeable in global poverty and the ways in which it can be alleviated, hopefully the vicious cycle of deforestation can be transformed into a victorious one.


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