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In 1974, Stephen Gaskin and The Farm, an intentional community, started an outreach program called Plenty. In response to the devastating 1976 Guatemala earthquake, Plenty sent carpenters who built schools, houses and clinics in remote Mayan villages and a clinic for Mother Teresa. In its first ten years, Plenty established a clinic and orphanage in Bangladesh, an appropriate technology training center and reforestation program in Lesotho, and a wind-powered electric lighting system in a Carib Indian school in Dominica. It provided disaster relief in the "Developing" World and free ambulance service to the South Bronx which helped to train emergency personnel what then became New York City's EMS. It went to sea with Greenpeace and gave the Rainbow Warrior its ham radio, slo-scan TV, and radiation monitoring equipment. Plenty put Native American FM stations on the air, and pioneered amateur-band television and radio to keep its remote outposts of volunteers connected.
Plenty continues to work with Native American primary health care, midwifery, microeconomics, food and ecotourism cooperatives and alternative building programs, including the hemp house on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with the assistance of The Farm School. Plenty is active in the Central American Food Security Initiative, including programs with ADIBE in Guatemala, Soynica in Nicaragua and the Huichol Center in Mexico. Plenty's "Soyarias" now operated by ADIBE in Sololá and San Bartolo, Guatemala, introduced soy dairy and soy ice cream microcredit enterprise in the 1980s.
In 1978, Plenty formed a scientific research team, Ethos Research Group, and a litigation project to work on environmental issues and human rights, the Natural Rights Center. Together these groups analyzed mortality and morbidity data to create a cancer-by-county study from 1940 to 1980 for the State of Tennessee and applied biostatistical science to litigate Superfund and other toxic waste sites and limits on point source industrial carcinogens. It later sponsored the Environmental Resource Center in Portland, Oregon, and was a partner in founding the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm.
Following the catastrophic landfall of Hurricane Katrina near New Orleans in August, 2005, Plenty volunteers worked on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis to deliver essential supplies and re-establish civil order. Plenty worked with Veterans for Peace, Camp Casey, and others to place volunteers where they were most needed. Plenty stayed on scene for the following year and organized clean-up and repair of the damage along the coastlines of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, including the cities of Mobile (Alabama), Biloxi and Gulfport (Mississippi), and Slidell (Louisiana). Plenty also brought displaced and disadvantaged children from the Gulf Coast back to The Farm to participate in its Kids To The Country summer nature school in 2006.
Plenty was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1980.
Melvyn Stiriss, a Plenty volunteer carpenter wrote about a year of Guatemalan earthquake reconstruction in Mayan Adventure, part 4 of Voluntary Peasants Labor of Love/The Farm Commune published by New Beat Books, Warwick, NY 2015
- Equipment was provided with assistance from Solar Electronics, now SE International, inc.
- The Pine Ridge Hemp Project
- "Plenty's Gulf Hurricane Recovery Program". Plenty. Archived from the original on Feb 6, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
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