Every day of the week, The Pollination Project (www.thepollinationproject.org) provides $1000 in seed funding to an individual who is working to make the world -- or just their own community -- a better, more peaceful and more sustainable place. Here are the extraordinary people and ideas changing the world this week:
Deborah Gigliotti started the Cornucopia Project to provide gardening kits to augment a local food program, Project Hope, which provides food to low-income families in her community of Pasco County, Florida. Under the Master Gardeners program for the State of Florida, Deborah has developed a Green House Solution Growing Kit including a rain barrel adaptor made by a local company, and a solar powered pump system to hydroponically feed stackable plastic containers (made from recycled/repurposed materials). The kit will include step-by-step instructions so local families can use the growing kits to raise their own fresh produce plant and how to propagate seeds.
Ann Nymbura is an Akili Dada Fellow in Nairobi, Kenya working with young women in the slums, where many of her peers drop out of school due to early pregnancies, setting of a cycle of poverty. Her project mentors young girls and teaches employment skills to teen mothers. Currently she is training young women to make eco-friendly briquettes from urban waste like sawdust, charcoal dust and waste paper for an alternative fuel source. Along with skills and resources for self-support and empowerment, the project also helps young women and girls understand their reproductive health and gender rights.
Message in a Bottle started four years ago when three Chicago high school freshmen, Isobel Araujo, Fiona McRaith, and Simone Greblo started selling reusable stainless steel water bottles to get their peers off the plastic water bottle habit. Today, the team sells bottles at school functions, farmers' markets, and local independent grocers throughout the city. Proceeds are used to purchase water quality test kits, beach cleanup equipment, and educational materials in partnership with the local environmental organization, Alliance for the Great Lakes.
Jamie Gioe is an environmentalist creating a farm and intentional community in the Ozarks of Missouri. Visitors to L'isola Farm learn to live off the grid and live off the land. After the experience of living cooperatively and in harmony with nature, people begin to make more informed and sustainable choices once they are off the land and back to their regular lives. Jamie plans to bring the work of L'isola Farm to nearby schools as a model for teaching about environmentalism, sustainability and personal and community health.
Matthew Kaplan is a Phoenix high school junior who founded The "Be Open to New Experience" (Be O.N.E.) Project to end school bullying. Be O.N.E. uses positive peer pressure, interactive games, activities and guided discussions to build community, foster empathy, and create mutual respect amongst middle school students. Already, more than 900 students and 150 teachers have participated in The Be O.N.E. Project, and it has been so effective in ending physical, verbal, and cyber bullying that it has been adopted as part of his school's mandatory curriculum, and the demand from other schools is strong.
Stephen Boardwine is a photographer and former chef who promotes environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment and justice through veganism. He created VEGAN.beat, an online vegan lifestyle magazine, to promote and inspire these values and ideas and offer news, resources, and guidance for a vegan lifestyle. VEGAN.beat is designed to appeal to a broad audience by including entertainment and political news, as well as delicious recipes.
Kate Franzman left the corporate world to focus on urban farming, and created Bee Public to place and maintain beehives in support of Indianapolis' local, sustainable farms. Believing that urban beekeeping could hold the key to reintroducing healthy, happy honeybees to our environment, Kate offers free hives to urban farmers to foster the symbiotic relationship between pollinators and organic farms. Unlike commercial beekeepers, Bee Public uses all-natural, chemical- and antibiotic-free practices, and Bee Public bees keep all their honey and beeswax.
Congratulations to our grantees this week for their outstanding work.
These are just a few examples of what a little seed money can do when put in the hands of someone with a vision and a plan to change the world.
If you were given $1000, how would YOU seed the change?
The Pollination Project makes $1000 grants every day, 365 days a year to individual changemakers. Please go to our website at www.thepollinationproject.org for funding guidelines and application.
Follow Ari Nessel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pollinationproj