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What's New - My World My Garden

Expanding Support - My World My Garden and My World In a Garden®, South Africa

Our gardens are growing in both our Vancouver based, My World My Garden and our South African based, My World in a Garden® programs.

Building gardens to feed children at an important time of the year

Warrens Wall Sml

We are so excited and enthusiastic about the My World My Garden program. The My World My Garden program has proven to be very successful in both Vancouver and Bergnek this year. Each of the Vertical Food Garden Walls have been able to produce enough fresh veggies for 150 families each week during the growing season. This is due to the tenacity and support of both communities and the volunteers who keep the programs alive and thriving.

Building more gardens and planting more plants to enable communities to thrive on their own

In Bergnek we are back into spring and the planting cycle to move the wall from it’s winter state back to full food production. We are looking forward to another great year and in fact, are hoping to increase the number of walls in Bergnek to a total of 6 walls by the end of 2015 that will have the capacity to feed 900 families in total. That capacity would provide for immediate needs as well as storing food for winter use.


In Vancouver, at the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, we have had a fantastic growing season and the wall provided fresh veggies for over 150 families each week and we are now preparing winter veggies for the wall and preparing the wall for winter in general.

Here's where we need your help:

The next steps are for us to increase capacity in the Bergnek Community as well as a adding a new site in Phoenix, Arizona to support the local community in West Phoenix and to continue supporting the Vancovuer, Canada Vertical Food Garden Wall.


Can you make a donation today and perhaps make it a recurring donation? The women and children at the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Bergnek are grateful for all of the support you have given them.


Thank you for your continued support of the women and children of the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre and Bergnek Communities and the My Arms Wide Open programs.




Take a step and sponsor the 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' program in Bergnek

For more info and to donate now, TAKE ACTION and visit our Canadian Donation Page to start your donation now and get involved in your communities to support families, women and children to change their futures. 

If you are in the United States and need to make a donation and get a tax receipt please visit our GlobalGiving 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' donation page, to make your donation to support the communities we are working in. 

My World My Garden Warren's Wall, Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre

The welded, steel frame of the garden, ready for planting.

“Warren’s Wall” is now reality. This is what the staff at Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre fondly dubbed their new vertical vegetable. I am equally humbled and honoured. Like its sister food walls in Bergnek and Cradock, South Africa, Warren’s Wall will bring focus to community, food security and family. At the same time, it will provide a special learning opportunity for the children and youth at Ray-Cam to work side-by-side with the Centre’s seniors. Working in teams, the seniors, together with the children and youth under supervision, will plant, maintain and harvest the vertical garden. The Ray-Cam youth who have participated in and completed MAWO’s “Iziko Labahlali” Program will lead the teams in accordance with an established learning guide.

The garden will create collaboration and a sense of ownership across the community – ownership by the children who will work in the garden; their families, as a result of their own children’s involvement; and other members of the Ray-Cam community who will not only benefit from the garden’s harvests but will take joy in watching it grow. The intention is to inspire other children and youth within the community to take similar steps and grow vertical food walls.

The garden is designed in an “S” shape and is approximately 23’ long x 7’2” at one end starting from 3’5” at the other end. This design allows younger children to tend to the lower part of the garden and older youth and seniors to maintain the higher areas. A 1’ high concrete footing supports the frame and individual steel ‘cages’ with divided slots. Each slot will house a plant. There is room for 2,500 individual plants.

A portion of each harvest during the growing season will be canned or frozen to augment fall and winter food requirements.

Community Collaboration

Community collaboration is essential in a project like this.  Without the financial support from the HRSDC (New Horizons Grant) and the City of Vancouver/Vancouver Foundation (Green Cities Grant), and without donated assistance from the following organizations, the food wall could not be completed: Strathcona 1890: Urban Seed Project, Twin Lions Contracting, UBC Civil Engineering, In-Form Engineering and Craig Yates, a young structural fabricator.

Summary of Benefits 

  • Addresses food security challenges by providing a sustainable fresh vegetable and fruit food source
  • Engages the community across generations
  • Supports the children and youth by engaging them directly in the projects
  • Transfers skills around vegetable and fruit growing, business skills and community engagement and capacity building
  • Creates a model and funding for community based enterprises built around food growing and harvesting


2,500 Opportunities to Contribute


Each wall contains up to 2,500 plants that the children tend and care for and ultimately harvest to help them get the vital nutrients and fresh vegetables they need. We are grateful for donors and sponsors like you. By sponsoring a plant in the wall on a quarterly basis you are supporting the maintenance of the wall and the plants as well as, and more importantly, the education, food needs and well being of the children on an ongoing basis.

Bergnek, South Africa

My World In a Garden®,Bergnek is built! 

Our trip to Bergnek, Limpopo in South Africa this October to build the first of a series of the My Arms Wide Open vertical vegetable gardens, which in South African, are called My World In a Garden, was successful! Take a look at the slide show to see how we did it and what's happening.

Thanks to each of you and your contributions, donations and support! This was a really fast turn around with only 9 days on the ground to get it all done. The GREAT news is, WE DID IT! We are attaching some pictures for you all to see and will also have a slide show available for you shortly.

Through huge rainstorms, a hailstorm with hail the size of silver dollars and power out for nearly three days, the community and our team worked tirelessly to get the garden done. The last 48 hours where sleepless and it was SO worth it.

Next Steps


On November 15th this year we are in Vancouver to complete a final interview for a grant to build the sister wall in Vancouver in March 2013.

The funding we potentially will get will certainly help and we still need your support. Please pass the word around, get friends involved, and get involved directly if you choose to, as a volunteer and experience it for yourself.

Join our mailing list to stay updated.

My World My Garden Update - My World In A Garden, Sister Walls Project

We are making progress, thanks to the wonderful people supporting each of our projects and our partners and collaborators. We are actively working in each of the causes we support and taking one step at a time to create the support the communities we serve need to make progress and move forward.


We have made good progress and although we haven't achieved everything we wanted in the time frame we had set for ourselves, we have made great progress with our 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' project. We are now ready to get the first wall actually built and installed in the rural community of Bergnek in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. This October we will be travelling with our friends and partners in the EPICS program from Arizona State University to build the first wall. We've also updated our project page because of how innovative ways to construct and maintain the walls have reduced overall costs.  

Another important and really exciting development is that as part of constructing the wall, we are also going to be teaching a group of young entrepreneurs in the Bergnek community how to actually make the SafeSIPP PureRolls we have written about previously and you can read a bit more about it below. The exciting part about it all is that we will not only be able to transport CLEAN and SAFE water to the My World In A Garden Vertical Food Wall to water and nourish the plants, we are also turning the manufacture of the PureRoll's into a community based business for the Bergnek community, creating much need employment right in the community itself. What adds to making this even more important, is that in doing this we are one step ahead when we build the My World In A Garden Vertical Food Wall's in other communities because the PureRoll water systems will already be available and in place.

My World My Garden - Sister Walls (South Africa)

Food security is a challenge the world over in both developing and developed countries. The challenge is not that we cannot provide food. 


“We” can provide instant gratification, but this is a short term and band-aid solution. The challenge is being able to provide sustainable food sources. The solution is to transfer skills and to develop sustainable locally based food sources. This is the intent and underlying objective of the My Arms Wide Open, My World My Garden Cause through the establishment and management of My World In A Garden® vertical food walls in South African communities.

Our goal is to construct two sister Vertical Food Wall Systems based on the design and technology of the living wall designed by acclaimed South African artist, Dylan Lewis - http:// The original wall was an important component of Lewis’s “Untamed” exhibition in beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in South Africa. Timed to coincide with and celebrate the country’s hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Untamed is a thought-provoking showcase of sculpture, poetry and architecture, which explores the lost balance between humankind and nature. We intend to take it a step further by using the technology and design to create living food wall systems.

Using Lewis’s original design, My Arms Wide Open is proposing to build two identical live walls as food walls that will use both vegetable and fruit plants in place of the regular plants used in the original design. One will be located in the Town of Cradock, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The other, a mirror of the Cradock live food wall will be located in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Ray-Cam Community Centre. The Vancouver living vertical garden, although it will bear a different name, will like its sister wall in South Africa, bring focus to community, food security and family. In each instance, we run our Iziko Labahlali (Mindset) Program to engage the younger members of the community directly. The first program related to the food wall project will be run at the Ray-Cam Community Centre in the beginning of August 2011. You can find out about the program at:

To support this project go to the Global Giving Foundation website at My World in a Garden - Sister Walls and make a difference by remitting your donation!


Cradock, South Africa

The first of our community gardens has finally taken shape. Our first garden has been established at the Nomzamo Day Care Centre in Cradock. The centre has 50 children enrolled. The next step is to install our first living wall in the garden using the same frames as where used to build the living wall at Kirstenbosch Gardens for the FIFA Soccer World Cup.

What this space for more updates and pictures coming soon!

NOTE: My World In a Garden® is a registered trademark in South Africa and the use of the mark refers solely to the My Arms Wide Open vertical garden projects in South Africa. My Arms Wide Open vertical garden projects in Canada will be named by the communities they are built to serve. 

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