Yesterday I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend the 2011 Women of the Earth Awards, a project of the Yves Rocher Foundation, and sponsored by Coup de Pouce, Elle Magazine, greenliving, and The Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Sometimes we feel “what can I do? I’m just a single person.” Then we get paralyzed, and don’t take any action.
Yesterday I learned what three remarkable women have done in Canada.
The first prize winner is Marie Rose Bain. She’s the founder and director of the Hortico-Agricultural Centre in Cayes, Haiti. The organization she has founded is helping the women of Cayes to plant and cultivate food: food to feed themselves, their families, and food to grow to feed others, to allow them to earn money to support their families. Marie Rose will be heading back down to Haiti at the end of next week.
The second prize winner is Laura Reinsborough, the founder and director of Not Far From The Tree. From an opportunity with a few friends to pick the fruit at Spadina House in 2007, Laura has built an organization of 750 volunteers who picked over 20,000 lbs of fruit last year. Each year, they’re expanding into new neighbourhoods, documenting more city-owned trees that can be picked (thanks, Mayor Miller, for granting them permission to pick the fruit!), and expanding into new projects. This year, their pilot project of tapping Norway Maples is going live as a full project: maple syrup for the masses! Not Far From The Tree donates a third of all the fruit picked to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens in the neighbourhood. The harvest potential of the city is huge, as is the growing potential. I interviewed Laura yesterday, and will be posting the edited video on YouTube. Stay tuned.
Third prize went to Nicole Meunier, the founder and director of Puits Eau Mali (Wells in Mali). From seeing how children looked longingly at her bottle of water when she was a tourist in Mali, she and her husband have spearheaded an organization that has now dug 10 wells, providing water to 5,000 people. But that’s not all: once you have water, you can plant trees, and have shade. You can start growing food. As one person in Mali told her, “water is life.”
Three women, three different stories about three different projects in three different places.
Women making a difference, affecting lives.
We all can: if not by launching our own project, then by supporting one of the existing projects that is out there, like these ones.
It was a truly inspirational afternoon.
Many thanks to Kim Galvez for inviting me.