My World in a Garden - Sister Walls

by My Arms Wide Open
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My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
The children of Bergnek
The children of Bergnek

The "My World In A Garden" vertical food garden project is getting support from a whole host of areas; some of them quite unexpected and most welcome indeed. We still need your help though and from what you will see below, your support dollars are going further, thanks to innovation and support from organizations willing to donate their time and materials. You will see and update to the project page reflecting how money is spent soon as we update the project cost.

As we have put the word out to supporters and worked with the student community at Arizona State University we have received offers of help to support building the walls. We have architects offer and agree to produce the architectural drawings we need, construction companies offer to pour the foundations and others offer to weld the frames for us. Support has come from organizations locally in the US and Canada as well as South Africa and will dramatically reduce the cost of the walls, especially in North American cities, like Phoenix and Vancouver. The wall in Bergnek will be ‘sistered’ with a wall in Phoenix and as you know the wall in Vancouver will be ‘sistered’ with the wall in Cradock.

At our Annual Board meeting in April we added two new members to the board who have been instrumental in garnering new support. We still need more and that's where you come in. 

We need your support in putting the word out on Social Media for My Arms Wide Open to gain a broader audience for the initiatives. Here's what we are asking you to do: Please go to our Facebook page and "Like" us and forward the page to your friends telling them why you think this is an important project. You can also visit our Twitter profile and follow @MyArmsWideOpen and re-tweet the links we post about the projects. We have provide the links for each of these below.

With gratitude and thanks,


Brother and Sister in Bergnek
Brother and Sister in Bergnek


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More Innovation from ASU EPICS Gold

In our previuos report we published an update on the My World My Garden Sister Walls, where we are now in fact building three identical food walls providing fruits and vegetables to the town of Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa, at our project working with the Ray-Cam Community Centre that will be located in Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the third in Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa.



 In our previous post we talked about the importance of having a solution to purify and transport water to the vertical food wall, making it viable and sustainable. Now that we have found a solution, which is being provided by the EPICS Gold Project team, Drops for Africa, the next issue that we need to tackle, is the actual watering of the plants and controlling pests in the vertical food wall.

The students at Ira F. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University in the EPICS(Engineering Projects In Community Service) Gold program have once again stepped up to the challenge. The second team is made up of Eric Sprute, Mindy Kim, and Zachary Tomasch, who are the members of team V.E.R.T. (Vertical Environment Research Team).

The opportunities?

The watering system needs to be able to withstand weather variations ranging from -10 to 50 Celsius, have longevity and not have to be replaced in a few years, as well as being a system that will be easy to use and duplicate with parts readily available in South Africa.

Another aspect of the project is to research, study and determine methods in which we can maximize food production taking onto account local insect challenges. This will allow for excess food produced to be sold, creating another business to benefit the community.

Working to create solutions


The V.E.R.T. team has taken on the challenge of creating a watering system to move water from the Drops for Africa PureRoll™ units of EPICS GOLD Team SAFEsipp, to water each of the plants, and ensure the sustainability of the food wall.

The team is focusing on our original goal of using the food wall to create additional business opportunities to support the community.

In addition to their core work, the V.E.R.T. team is also studying food production as we noted above, to create a business opportunity. A large part of the teams research to date has included establishing which manufactures in South Africa they can source materials from needed to build the watering system, creating a real opportunity to reduce overall costs and in turn create an additional entrepreneurial opportunity for local residents to manufacture low cost and highly effective watering systems.

The V.E.R.T. team has spent time understanding what materials can be used, what their costs are as well selecting materials that will stand the test of time endure the weather variances and provide the right level of support as far as their strength goes. We are very excited and looking forward to seeing their full solution, in the near future.

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The ASU EPICS Gold Team
The ASU EPICS Gold Team

In our previuos posts and reports we have described the vision of providing sustainability through the My World In A Garden Sister Walls, two identical food walls providing fruits and vegetables to the town of Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa and another located in Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition, to add to the list another food wall will be constructed in Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa.

This is an update to share information with you about the system that has been developed for acquiring clean water by the Drops for Africa Team of the ASU (Arizona State University) EPICS Gold program to ensure the vitality of the plants, being a very important part of the project.

SafeSIPP (Sustainable Innovative Portable Purification), is developing the water system we have decided to utilize to retrieve and transport water for the vertical food walls. SafeSIPP won $2000 from a previous competition which will be used for research and development of the purification system as well as the manufacturing of several prototypes.

Who makes up SafeSIPP?

The group is made up of (from left to right in the attached picture):

  • Lindsay Fleming (Chief Executive Officer, background in Chemical Engineering),
  • Jacob Arredondo (Chief Financial Officer, background Marketing & Finance),
  • Taylor Barker (Chief Operating Officer, background Chemical Engineering & Pre-Law), and
  • Jared Schoepf (Chief Technology Officer, background Chemical Engineering & Sustainability).

All who are part of ASU (Arizona State University) EPICS Gold program.

The Idea driving Drops for Africa: PureRoll

A low cost barrel comprised of 80% recycled material that simultaneously transports and purifies contaminated water. As the barrel rolls, the water being transported will undergo a filtration process to remove disease causing contaminants. By more than doubling the amount of water retrieved during each trip and improving the method of transportation, PureRoll will reduce travel time to and from the source by 75%. The purified water will be used for drinking, cooking, hygiene, and agriculture with remaining water being sold to surrounding communities and local businesses to stimulate the economy. PureRoll can be easily stored in homes to prevent theft as well as repaired by the owner with replaceable parts.

Perceived benefits* aside from bring clean water for the vertical foods walls:

  1. A single trip with PureRoll = Drinking water for 20 people daily (Access)
  2. A single trip with PureRoll = 4 day supply of water for agriculture and gardening of freshly grown produce (Nutrition)
  3. A single trip with PureRoll = Over three hours of available time daily to be devoted to seeking higher education (Education) *Information taken from SafeSIPP (Sustainable Innovative Portable Purification) report.

Another amazing feature of the PureRoll is that with the strength of your pinky, one is able to pull the barrel behind them and also through rough terrain, i.e., rocky surfaces. Meaning that almost anyone in the community will be able to use this solution.

Next Steps

We have now established this is how we will bring clean water to the food wall, the next step is establish the system with which to water the individual vertical food wall plants through some form of drip system. For more information please look at development teams presentation (attached) and do not hesitate to comment or reach us by e-mail

The Children of Bergnek
The Children of Bergnek
How water is currently retrieved and transported
How water is currently retrieved and transported


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My World In A Garden - Sister Walls - Progress Report September 7th, 2011

During the August Challenge we raised a total of $4,450 from over 60 donors, thanks to each of you. Thank you for your support and belief in what we do.

The total budget for the initial two Vertical Garden Walls is $55,000 and we are working with partners to support us in specific areas through grants and larger corporate partner donations.

The Youth groups in both the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver (Canada) community and the Cradock, Eastern Cape (South Africa) communities have been identified. Most have now participated in and completed our Iziko Labahlali program. The new members of the groups will be going through the program in October (South Africa) and in November (Canada). A little about the program:

Iziko Labahlali (meaning “Hearth of the Community” in the South African language, Xhosa) is a leadership program developed by My Arms Wide Open which provides individuals with mentoring, coaching and skills training.  One of the key approaches is working with youth and young adults to be able to accept and own their story and then use that story to take a leadership role in their own lives and in the community – a positive approach that focuses on creating solutions and seizing opportunities.  It is a powerful non-denominational course that supports gender equality and builds skills in:

  • Leadership
  • Community building
  • Management
  • Coping skills
  • Restorative justice
  • Collaboration
  • Networking
  • Communication
  • Culturally-grounded learning

Iziko Labahlali equips individuals with a new mindset, opening their eyes to the possibilities that surround them, helping them transform from within.  The program focuses on providing learning and skills transfer that enables participants to ignite their passion, define their purpose and help build their community, while understanding and embracing the benefits of a collaborative mindset.  Those who receive training are then able to deliver the course, and they become mentors and coaches themselves.  

This program was adapted from the model Manzimvula (our primary corporate funder) has used successfully in management consulting for nearly 30 years, called the Mindful Action Program.  This is a model of engaging entire companies in discussions about vision and principles, shifting mindsets and focusing on results.

Our next step in our initiative will be to develop the curriculums for the youth groups. We anticipate starting this in November of 2011 working with partners in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In order to keep costs down as much as possible we have approached a number of organizations to donate tools, construction materials and time.

During the period September 26-October 30th we will be on the ground in Cradock, Eastern Cape and Bergnek, Limpopo, South Africa. Bergnek is the intended site for a third wall to be established.

We look forward to your continued support and will be back to update you again after our trip to South Africa.

In gratitude,



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Organization Information

My Arms Wide Open

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Twitter: @MyArmsWideOpen
Project Leader:
Warren Te Brugge
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
$8,021 raised of $55,000 goal
186 donations
$46,979 to go
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