Plenty Canada
Organization profile published 1982

Year Published:  1982  
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX2463

Plenty Canada is the outreach programme of a fifty person community called "The Farm," located near Lanark, Ontario.

Abstract:  Plenty Canada is the outreach programme of a fifty person community called "The Farm," located near Lanark, Ontario. It is the Canadian sister community of The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee, which has a population of 1500.

Plenty Canada is a non-governmental relief and development organization and a member of Plenty International, Summertown, Tennessee. Plenty International members come from Europe, North America, Central America and Africa. The group is interested in and works with people who are trying to fulfill their basic needs. They believe that through collective effort, sharing and an equitable distribution of the world's resources, the needs of people the world over can be met. This belief is reflected in their day-to-day lives as both administrative and field work personnel are not paid salaries; work with Plenty is on a strictly volunteer basis. Their office is in their home near Lanark. By eliminating salaries and minimizing administrative expenses, Plenty Canada is able to spend a much higher percentage of its funds where they are actually needed, at the project site. This is made possible through the community's collective agreement as well as through the help of many friends who support their work. Both provincial and federal governments match Canadian donations for international work which makes the donation go that much farther among Third World peoples.

Plenty's approach to development is characterized initially by living with the people, learning their language and learning first-hand what their needs are. Their work is most often concentrated in rural areas and usually involves appropriate technology projects requested by local people which are carried out "in the spirit of strengthening their communities." Plenty Canada is aware that many indigenous peoples are becoming a vanishing group and through their projects they attempt to help them preserve their own cultural identities by making the road to self-sufficiency more possible.

While in Guatemala, Plenty volunteers built 1200 homes, numerous schools and an indigenous community centre after the earthquake of 1976. The projects that followed reconstruction included a gravity fed water system (with 26 km of underground pipe), the building of three reservoirs which serve 2000 people in three villages and high altitude variety trials of soy and other beans. These trials were followed by assistance to farmers who grew (and continue to grow) the most productive varieties. A soy dairy was also piloted and the demonstration which ensued instructed over 1000 farm families and others in home production of soy foods utilizing available tools. Today, the program continues to provide employment and high protein food (tofu, soy milk, and soy ice cream) for the local people.

In Canada, Plenty is working with native people responding to project requests. These requests include gardening, soy demonstrations and other village skills.

In Lesotho (southern Africa), Plenty volunteers are working with the Basotho people at the Motsemocha Village Technology Centre where appropriate technology and other village skills are demonstrated and taught to representatives from some of the forty area villages in the Quting district. Six sleeping huts, a community kitchen/meeting hall, a composting outhouse, storage building, a soy dairy, food dehydrators and a gravity fed water system have been built using local design and materials while incorporating such designs as "solar heating methods, solar water heaters and photo-voltaic assemblies for lighting." Other projects undertaken with the Basotho people include the construction of a forty foot suspension bridge, a communal vegetable garden (which provided fresh vegetables for over 250 people last year), irrigation systems, woodlot development and demonstrations focused around the use of soy foods. One-half litre of soy milk per day for children and one litre of soy milk for adults or its equivalent in other soy foods provides approximately three-quarters of the minimum daily requirement of protein.

Plenty Canada also publishes a newsletter which outlines its current outreach programmes. Write to them for a free subscription.

See also CX2810.
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