On March 25th, 2014, Congress erected a statue in honor of Norman Borlaug, the creator of a hybrid dwarf strain of wheat that grows in poor conditions, is disease resistant and high yielding. He was motivated by the desire to end world hunger and is credited with saving the lives of over 1 billion people. Crop modifications and GMO technology were his solutions, he was always looking for new and different ways to use technology to feed people. Feeding the world is absolutely an honorable goal, but Mr. Borlaug’s solutions have created new and different problems because of the methods he chose. His hybrid dwarf wheat is so different from ancient wheat they aren’t even the same grains anymore.
Rather than seeking only solutions that involve highly altered foods and heavy dependence on chemical fertilizers and herbicides, there are others who also have hearts for the hungry whose methods are creating sustainable food sources while also healing the land and giving work to the communities. I would like to recognize those people here and thank them for their contributions to make their world a better place. I know my list is incomplete; I welcome your suggestions in the comment section below!
Allan Savory – growing up in southern Africa, Allan witnessed firsthand the precious lands around his home becoming deserts – a process called desertification – and its effects on humans and wildlife as both went hungry. He developed a system called Holistic Management and for over 30 years now he has been teaching people throughout Africa and around the world how to heal the land, provide food, and support life through the use of correctly managed livestock herds. Savory used nature as his model, learning how to use the livestock to fertilize and till the land until it regained the ability to hold precious water, restore fertility and become usable for both crops and grazing. The Savory Institute has as its goal to heal 1 billion new hectares of grasslands around the world by 2025. With Allan Savory’s method desertified land can be re-greened and used to grow crops as well as livestock for meat, milk, and eggs all while creating healthier ecosystems and cleaner water.
Mel Bartholomew – You know Mel from his books and tv shows all about the Square Foot Garden. What you may not know is that Mel has a heart for feeding the hungry. He established his Square Foot Foundation to take gardening education to the poor and hungry around the world. His motive is much like the old saying “give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach him to fish and feed him for life”. Mel’s foundation has sent teachers to Malawi, Kenya, Peru, and Ecuador to educate communities on Square Foot Gardening methods helping people grow their own food in smaller spaces using less water, learn composting and even create cottage businesses with garden markets. He also provides curriculum to schools to educate children in the US how to grow fresh, healthy food for themselves.
Will Allen – Will’s rags-to-riches-to-food story is inspirational. Born the son of a sharecropper, he became a professional basketball player with a desire to give back to his community. His vision is to help people grow safe, healthy, affordable food; to develop a healthy food system even within inner city locations. To this end Will founded Growing Power which is now a model farm and community food center in inner city Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His company has also started food communities in other areas including Chicago, Masachusetts, Georgia and Kentucky. All of Growing Power’s urban farms are sustainable using compost, vermicompost and organic techniques. In addition to fresh produce many of these farms raise livestock for meat, eggs, milk and bees for honey. They also create jobs for the community and feed the hungry.
Joel Salatin – possibly America’s most famous farmer, Joel is an ambassador for grassbased farming, real food, and historical normalcy. He’s also a prolific author, speaker and sometimes even a movie star. Joel’s Polyface Farm has been featured in books like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and movies like Food, Inc. Joel’s farm is a living model for sustainable multi-generational family farming. His farm intern program teaches dozens of wannabe farmers each year how to make a real living through farming while healing the land and maintaining respect for the animals raised. Joel’s books reach even more people helping them turn their dream of owning their own Eden into reality. He speaks to agriculture conventions around the world sharing the good news of grass farming.
Who do you think has made a difference in this world and deserves some special recognition? Let us hear from you in the comment section!
This blog is part of the Sunday Social Blog Hop
Some links may be monetized. This blog is for informational purposes only.