Learn more about how our approach provides a sustainable source of nutrition, as various program partners provide feedback on their partnerships with us.

Message from the Chair

As this year comes to an end, I am sure there are sighs of relief from many people.  Throughout the year I have had the privilege of speaking to many clubs around the world via Zoom. All are continuing to work hard in their communities but for many, fundraising is a challenge because of Covid limitations.  For projects that have been trying to fulfil needs of communities internationally, this has been even harder.

In this Covid climate, we have had increasing requests from people and clubs to assist in their projects; to assist communities to build gardens, which will provide them with food security. Because of this we have had to change our fee structure, to attempt to help cover some of the reduced funds; a decision we did not make lightly.  An individual can become an annual member for $30 AUD and a club can become an annual member for $100 AUD.  For clubs, this is a new option and a great opportunity to support us.  Further details can be found at https://foodplantsolutions.org/get-involved-and-join-us/. Please do join us.

This year saw us reviewing our strategic plan and once completed in the New Year, it will be available for you. We have welcomed 2 new committee members and also 2 new volunteers to the publications team.  Thank you all. We could not work without our volunteers. A special thanks also to Karalyn, our Executive Officer and Andrea, her new, casual admin assistant. Karalyn keeps us all motivated and working for our vision. Thank you.

We have new projects awaiting funding and projects we have been working on for a few years needing more assistance. I hope you can consider Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group when you are sharing during the Christmas period, as we continue to “Serve to Change Lives”.

Happy celebrations of the season to you all.

Yours in Rotary

PDG Una Hobday OAM, PHF

Chair – Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group

Covid in Vietnam; FPS is Important

Rebekah Windsor, Program Director, AOG World Relief Vietnam

Almost a full two years since the COVID pandemic hit the nation of Vietnam, many of our schools remain closed in an effort to protect the health and safety of the younger generations. In Central Vietnam, schools first closed at the end of January 2020 for the Lunar New Year holiday and did not re-open for months. Since then, schools have opened and closed again repeatedly, in response to case spikes, with the current closures having been implemented since late April 2021.

While these closures are undoubtedly a means to protect, there are also severe consequences – economically, socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally etc, translating into very tangible and negative impacts in terms of food and nutrition security, given many households in Central Vietnam are still heavily reliant on informal food systems and income as the primary determinant of food and nutrition security.

This is why we our partnership with Food Plant Solutions is so critical. Establishing gardens in kindergarten schools that help provide a secure, fresh, and sustainable source of nutrition to children, ensures they can enjoy at least one satisfying and nutritional meal each day which feeds their mind and body.

With months of lockdowns, school closures, travel restrictions, and loss of income, food and nutrition security has understandably been jeopardised. Many young ones are not able to enjoy the safety and security of having their daily nutritional needs met due to the complex and nefarious impacts of COVID upon their family and community.

In turn, once schools are able to re-open, these gardens will play a critical role in strengthening children’s rights to adequate food and nutrition in spite of the challenging circumstances.

As such, we are extremely grateful for our partners who have supported these gardens over the years and look forward to the increasingly positive impact each garden will have on the growth and development of children in Central Vietnam.

‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. . .’

Fresh Foods for Families Manager

The Egyptians were advanced medical practitioners for their time and one of their areas of practice was in the use of herbal medicine.  In the Roman kitchen, marjoram, thyme and basil were very much treasured, offering many culinary and medicinal virtues.

These are not isolated examples of the use of herbs, we humans have been using them continuously for millennia.  The use of herbs transcends times and cultures, it is deeply embedded in our daily lives.

I live in an apartment, with no direct access to a garden bed.  To have a herb garden is an essential part of providing good, interesting, attractive and nutritious meals, but it meant that it had to be in pots.  I live close to three neighbours, and so it seemed to be a sensible idea that we make it a communal garden, accessible to us all.

We started small, with just a few pots and we are gradually adding more plants.  For example, two households had a Tasmanian Pepperberry, tasmannia lanceolata.  For the production of viable berries, it is necessary to have a male and a female plant.  The female forms the berries but needs a male nearby to pollinate.  We brought our plants together and we enjoyed doing the research to determine whether our plants were indeed male or female.

Spring sprung in my neighbourhood, and we saw exciting growth.  We now have a family of pepperberries, both female and male plants and we will be watching developments with interest, in the hope that the berries come.

It is a delight to be able to pick fresh herbs and it can be as easy as a few pots.

FPS in Togo

Trees by the Water

Trees by the Water International Ministries is a small nonprofit organization involved in community development work and health-related education among a cluster of rural villages in Togo.  We began working with children in one village in 2017.

In early 2021, we became acquainted with the work of Bruce French and the incredible database of information, used by  Food Plant Solutions. Our goals include bringing health messaging among villages with low literacy through the use of CHE (Community Health Education).  We believe that in addition to other basic health concepts, better human nutrition will be one of the most important areas to impact the future generations of young people who will be born and raised in these villages. Traditionally they have suffered from malnutrition and stunting in upwards of 40%.

We have hope that with the help of materials that Food Plant Solutions is creating for Togo’s tropical southern regions, we will be able to better explain the importance of local, highly nutritious food plants that will help mums better feed themselves whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.  And, that toddlers and children will be able to eat better so they will get a foundation for a healthier life right from the start.  This, in turn, will raise the level of education that is possible in the villages and the overall economic development.  Over time, many things can change with a wholistic approach that addresses nutritional needs, clean water, basic hygiene, sanitation, and also gets to the “root” issues in people’s lives and relationships.

Translated Rwandan Publications

Together with our program partner in Rwanda, The Mustard Seed Institute, four educational picture guides have been translated into Kinyarwanda.  These are available from our website – https://foodplantsolutions.org/programs/rwanda/

The Mustard Seed Institute said:

“The Mustard Seed Institute, Rwanda,  was happy to have the opportunity to partner with Food Plants Solutions for the creation of these informative booklets, which will be printed and placed on display in our library. The booklets will be used in future educational seminars for the community.

We thank Food Plant Solutions for making these booklets and assisting our poor rural community to better understand nutrition and healthy eating.”

Digital Transformation Hub Support FPS

We determined earlier this year that our IT systems needed an update, but without in-house expertise to manage this, it was going to be a costly and stressful task.  Thankfully, we were introduced to the team at the Digital Transformation Hub, who guided us through the process.  Their knowledge and support was exemplary, and we now have a system that meets our needs, is easy to use and is designed for the future

Editors Note:

The Food Plant Solutions team wishes each of you a safe and happy festive season and we thank you for your support.  A nutritious diet is a basic human right, together, let’s make that a reality for everyone in 2022.