How Do We Feed Ourselves?

Nuru group members harvest their fields together.

This question – how do we feed ourselves? – has both immediate and long term ramifications in both the developed and the developing world.

Hold on just a second. I’ve been using those phrases – ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ world, all week on this blog, and this is the first time it has hit me as really wrong. This is probably because I haven’t really written about food yet. We, in the West, have developed technology. We have developed a decent, if imperfect, education system. We have ready access to money, energy, food, jobs, healthcare… all those things we look at the ‘developing’ world as needing to, well, develop.

Perhaps it is that food is a particularly important issue to me, and that the way we have ‘developed’ to produce it in the West is productive in the short term but so very problematic in the long term, that suddenly ‘developed’ doesn’t seem an appropriate word to me to describe our system.

Okay, yes, this does reveal some of my bias. When I see things like what has become of the Arkansas Delta, or when I read about the ever-depleting nutritional value in our agribusiness food, not to mention the dangers of toxins applied to and engineered into our food, I tend to think we have a way to go in developing our own food supplies.

So I will try to come up with another set of words. But for now, in this first report on innovations addressing the needs of the hungry people in the world, let’s just assume the entire situation is developing.

I found these people while researching the Nuru Energy group I wrote about last night. The word Nuru means ‘light’ in a few different African languages. Searching ‘Nuru’ led me to Nuru International, a social venture dedicated to eliminating extreme poverty.

Nuru International heads several development projects, currently largely centered in Kenya. This video tells the story of one woman they have helped. They have quite a few videos, all well made, which makes it quite fun to learn about them. Takes you do a different world.

As far as food goes, what Nuru has done is bring in better seed, more productive farming practices and get people to work together rather than everyone trying to do their own plots alone. It seems to be working in the communities they are in. They plan to expand to help other communities. At this point they are funded mostly by donations.

Great Idea: End extreme poverty by helping communities become self-sufficient.
Practical Steps: Development programs in agriculture, water, health, community development and education.

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