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Rake Out Your Old Garden Tools
by Jane Sherrott
January 5, 2003

In April, Master Gardeners in Vancouver are organizing Rake Out Your Old Garden Tools to collect used, non-power, usable garden tools for donation to local community groups and to poverty level farmers in Cambodia. The success of the program depends on getting the word out and I am hoping you might be able to help by putting program information in your newsletter or at your website.

A number of Lower Mainland groups have indicated that they need used gardening tools, including KidsSafe, which organizes gardening projects in inner city schools, the Vancouver and Richmond Fruit Trees projects, which both grow fruit and vegetables for local food banks and Atira Women's Resource Society, which has a new garden at their transition house for women and their children leaving abusive relationships. We are also looking for other groups which can use the tools we hope to collect.

Global Perspectives is a local program, coordinated by Ken Lorenz, a teacher at Richmond Secondary School, providing opportunities for volunteers to work with low-income communities in developing countries. They will distribute the tools we collect as part of their 2003 project in Suong, a small village outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Suong is a village of largely subsistence-level rice farmers. Global Perspectives is well established and well-regarded; we can be sure that tools donated to them will get into the hands of people who need them. There is an attachment to this email with further information on them.

We will be collecting tools in April at Richmond Secondary School, the annual Master Gardener Update, the VanDusen Plant Sale, and Collingwood School, West Vancouver.

We are also encouraging garden clubs to collect tools at a meeting.

A project summary which could be used or adapted for a newsletter follows.

OLD TOOLS GET NEW LIFE

In April, Vancouver gardeners are going to be asked to donate their no longer used, non-powered gardening tools to the Rake Out Your Old Gardening Tools campaign. VanDusen Master Gardeners will redirect the tools collected to community projects in the Lower Mainland including KidSafe, which organizes gardening projects in inner city schools, and Atira Women’s Resource Society, which runs a transition house for women and their children leaving abusive relationships. Global Perspectives, a Richmond Secondary School program, will distribute tools to subsistence-level farmers in Cambodia.

To give your old tools a new lease on life, please drop them off during April to:

Richmond Secondary School, Richmond — any school day 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Collingwood School, West Vancouver — April 12, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

VanDusen Plant Sale, VanDusen Botanical Garden — April 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

We are also encouraging garden clubs to collect used gardening tools at one of their meetings. Contact Jane Sherrott at 604-987-2395 or jsherrott@shaw.ca for information or to arrange pick up of tools collected at a meeting.

Thank you for your consideration of this.

Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives is a local program, coordinated by Ken Lorenz, a teacher at Richmond Secondary School, providing opportunities for volunteers (principally grade 12 students from Richmond Secondary, but also teachers and health-care professionals) to work with low-income communities in developing countries. Most of its programs are in rural areas, in the poorest parts of the countries. Global Perspectives programs are small-scale and practical, and historically have been well received in the recipient communities: villagers have even held special celebrations to thank the volunteers.

Mr. Lorenz organizes the volunteers, arranges the materials needed for the projects and travels to the project to coordinate the work. He ensures that everything that is donated gets into the hands of the people who need it. Past Global Perspectives projects include:

1. Quixiya, Guatemala: Materials for chicken coops were trucked into the mountains and new homes were built for 300 baby chicks.

2. China: A library (with desks, furniture, teaching aids and 5,000 books) was established.

3. Yojakarta, Indonesia: An education center was built in a small village.

4. Dominican Republic: A dilapidated school in the slums was upgraded and expanded. Two teachers were hired for one year.

5. Sablan, Philippines: A school dormitory was built. Many of the children in the area worked in the mountains and had to walk 3 hours to attend school. Discouraged, many would only attend once a week. The dormitory, with 40 bunk beds, gave 80 kids the opportunity to attend school for a full week at a time.

Global Perspectives will distribute the tools we collect as part of its 2003 project in Suong, a small village outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Suong is a village of largely subsistence-level rice farmers. The focus of the Global Perspectives project is on building a one-room building for use as a school, meeting place, and healthcare facility. At the same time, Global Perspectives will distribute any tools we collect to the villagers. Twenty students, four dentists and three teachers will work on the project.

Global Perspectives has received private donations for eight years to run its projects. This is no small feat when you consider that there are more than 75,000 registered charities in Canada. CBC traveled to China in 2001 to document their work. -Jane Sherrott

Email: jsherrott@shaw.ca
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