2018 Holiday Newsletter

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In This Issue

Greetings, Plenitud PR family! We trust that this finds you well. In this issue of our newsletter, we want to update you on the following programs: Bioconstruction Relief workshops, our Rainwater Relief Program, our ongoing School Gardens Program, and the Plenitud Internship participants.


Annual Holiday Fundraiser:

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Now, we are launching our Annual Holiday Fundraiser, with the goal of raising $25,000 to support Plenitud. This event is our biggest fundraising project of the year and the greatest source of community support we receive for all of the important programming described above.

With increased environmental disturbance and natural disasters resulting from climate change, growing political and economic uncertainty everywhere we look, and increased isolation, disconnection, and division in so much of our society, the cultivation of a more sustainable, connected, and harmonious life is more valuable than ever! The community we are cultivating at Plenitud is a direct result of that need, and more and more people are reaching out for this example of simple living and high thinking in the face of so much uncertainty.

Please support our mission of bringing knowledge, skills, and tools to those who need it most, and come be a part of our growing community! The Holiday Fundraiser will run until December 22nd. We will share our fundraiser via email and social media, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates!


Our Year In Summary:

 A birds eye view of our terraces. Terraces are a Permaculture design inspired earthwork technique that helps prevent soil erosion through water management. Here we plant a diversity of root crops like taro and sweet potatoes, beans, and other fruits and veggies.

A birds eye view of our terraces. Terraces are a Permaculture design inspired earthwork technique that helps prevent soil erosion through water management. Here we plant a diversity of root crops like taro and sweet potatoes, beans, and other fruits and veggies.

Plenitud has been alive with love and action over the last few months, hosting many activities that have energized and encouraged us all. Our greatest programmatic effort has been the Relief Workshop Series on SuperAdobe bioconstruction, teaching and demonstrating techniques for this innovative and sustainable housing technique.

More than a year out from the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017, our crops are recovering and thriving! We have harvested an abundance of produce this summer and fall, including sweet potatoes, cucumbers, beans, kale, bananas, plantains and much more. A symbol of strength and resilience, these crops have been an example of our motto (“Love serving Love”) by sustaining the Plenitud ecosystem through nourishing meals for staff, interns, workshop participants, volunteers, neighbors, and friends. We look forward to strengthening and expanding our harvest in the coming year!

Our busiest time of year is fast approaching: the season of Alternative Breaks programs from December to May brings hundreds of students and teachers from all over the world to Plenitud for hands-on training in sustainability skills and community service.


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PROGRAM UPDATES:

Bioconstruction Relief Program: SuperAdobe

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We are excited to announce that after a successful first series of Superadobe workshops, Plenitud embarked on the task of offering a second series of workshops to train people in this building technique, a feasible and sustainable alternative for our tropical climate. Workshop participants include students, farmers, and people whose homes were affected by the hurricane.

SuperAdobe, a bioconstruction technique developed at CalEarth in California, utilizes long sandbags, barbed wire, and soil mixes as the main building materials. These low-environmental impact and affordable materials--combined with work in community--produce beautiful and unique structures that are highly resistant to fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Plenitud PR’s Executive Director Owen Ingley learned this building technique at CalEarth in order to bring it to under-resourced and natural disaster-prone areas such as Puerto Rico, especially given the increasing environmental disturbances created by climate change.

Hurricane Maria exposed the flaws in conventional building all across PR, leaving thousands homeless or with damaged, weakened homes, and interest in sustainable bioconstruction has greatly increased. Building upon previous SuperAdobe projects, Plenitud was awarded a grant from the Hispanic Federation to train participants from all over the island. Over 100 people will have been directly impacted by the end of the year, becoming ambassadors of sustainability, harmony, and resiliency through bioconstruction.

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 Instructors Pablo Acevedo from Bambú Pueblo and Claudio Maxwell from Memeplex Design teach a group of participants how to identify and harvest bambú for different purposes.

Instructors Pablo Acevedo from Bambú Pueblo and Claudio Maxwell from Memeplex Design teach a group of participants how to identify and harvest bambú for different purposes.


Bioconstruction Program, Part 2: Bamboo Building Workshops  

Bambú Pueblo, Memeplex Inc, and Plenitud PR build partnerships to offer a series of workshops on bio-construction building with bamboo.

Both of these workshop series have been made possible through the grant awarded by the Hispanic Federation, as well as our partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA program and the UPR Sea Grant College Program. Thank you so much to our partners for your generous support!



Plenitud PR Supports School Gardens  

 Students and faculty from Dr. Silverio Medina Gaud Elementary School pose full of joy and pride in front of their cilantro and tomato garden.

Students and faculty from Dr. Silverio Medina Gaud Elementary School pose full of joy and pride in front of their cilantro and tomato garden.

At Plenitud we believe that sustainability begins wherever we call home. By cultivating skills, techniques, and a focus on stewardship & interconnection from an early age, children can be the ambassadors of sustainability for their families and community. As part of our educational outreach efforts, we have adopted the following schools: Dr. Silverio Medina Gaud Elementary School in Las Marías, Raúl Ybarra Elementary and Middle School in Maricao, and Luis Muñoz Marín High School in Añasco. Through the creation and care of their school gardens, students learn how to plant, care for, and harvest crops, fostering a sense of stewardship and love for earth. This collaboration will continue throughout the academic year; look for updates through facebook and in future issues!


 High-school student stirs a mixture of consuelda leaves, molasses and water in a bio-fermentation process that results in a nutrient rich organic fertilizer for their school garden.

High-school student stirs a mixture of consuelda leaves, molasses and water in a bio-fermentation process that results in a nutrient rich organic fertilizer for their school garden.

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Internships for youth

Plenitud is committed to supporting beginning and young farmers by training them in agroecology and Permaculture, ideas and practices which they are not exposed to in the local universities. Through a collaboration with Juvempleo, a youth employment program of the PR government, and the Cooperative Education Program or Plan COOP, Plenitud is a certified internship site for budding farmers. This semester we enjoyed the assistance of 5 interns, including Christian Vélez, Gabriela Vélez, José Irrizary, and Octavio Acevedo (Juvempleo), and Alejandra González (Plan COOP participant).

 Ocatavio y Jose opening coconuts

Ocatavio y Jose opening coconuts

 Alejandra, biology student, working on her practice at Plenitud

Alejandra, biology student, working on her practice at Plenitud

 Gabriela spraying compost tea

Gabriela spraying compost tea


Rain Water Relief Program

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Recently, the Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico awarded Plenitud a grant for the installation of rainwater harvesting systems at underserved households in our community in Las Marías as well as at one of our partner schools, the Luis Muñoz Marín high school in Añasco. The purpose of this project is to reduce the risk of flooding by managing the volume and force of stormwater in underserved communities and in the process to plant the seeds of change through educational outreach efforts.

Rainwater harvesting is a highly relevant technology for communities facing flooding during the wet season, and it also helps to address water shortages during the dry season. The harvest and storage of rainwater for irrigation, domestic use, and as a backup emergency supply is a crucial component of a resilient way of life, and it helps to connect us to the greater cycles of water and weather that sustain us. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project as it unfolds in the coming months.

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