Food Tank's 40 Stories of Hope and Success

To celebrate Howard G. Buffett's book, Food Tank has compiled a list of 40 stories of hope and success in the food system
Bernard Pollack

These organizations and individuals are working to make the food system more environmentally, economically, and socially just.

Philanthropist and farmer Howard G. Buffett recently released his new book, 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World, which traces his journey to learn about the challenges and successes of farmers around the world as they battle global food insecurity.

In an article in The Huffington Post, Buffett explains the 40 Chances mindset: "We must get outside of our comfort zones, we have to break down barriers set up by others, and we cannot always accept the status quo when it's simply not working."

Buffett will be traveling to more than 10 cities in the U.S. to promote the book. On Monday, Oct. 28, he’ spoke at a sold-out event in Chicago presented by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The discussion is being co-hosted by Food Tank, among other groups. 

To celebrate Buffett's book, Food Tank has compiled a list of 40 stories of hope and success in the food system — from creating a better Farm Bill in the U.S. to research on indigenous crops. These organizations and individuals are working to make the food system more environmentally, economically, and socially just. View this list online by clicking HERE and please share it with your networks!

1. 47 Japanese Farms — This project in Japan is working to share the experiences of small-scale organic farmers in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and the 2012 nuclear crisis. The project documents the challenges these communities they're facing as well as the innovations they're developing.

2. Abooman Women’s Group — In Ghana, a group of women farmers have organized themselves into a cooperative to raise dairy cows to make yogurt. At first, their husbands were angry that their wives created the co-op, but the more they saw their family incomes grow, the more they had money for health care, for better homes, and for clothing and schoolbooks for their children, the more their husband’s opposition turned to grudging and then enthusiastic support.

3. Argentine Tea Farmers Certified in Sustainability — Six tea producer groups representing some 200 small-scale farmers in the Misiones province of Argentina recently earned their certification in social, economic, and environmental sustainability from the Sustainable Agriculture Network, a coalition coordinated by the Rainforest Alliance.

4. Basque Farmers Union (EHNE-Bizkaia) — In the Basque Country, EHNE-Bizkaia provides education and economic support to its 6,000 members, and also encourages young people to return to agriculture through its youth program. EHNE-Bizkaia was recently awarded the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize for its support of small-scale farming.

5. CEDICAM (Center for Integral Farmer Development) — To combat desertification and reforest a large part of the Mexican region of La Mixteca, a group of Guatemalan refugee farmers taught local Mexican farmers how to restore soil health using agro-ecological farming methods. These farmers formed CEDICAM, and have since planted more than 4 million trees on formerly barren land.

6. Dyno Keatinge — At AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) in Taiwan, Keatinge has studied the impact that a lack of access to vegetables has on childhood malnutrition and childhood mortality. With successful pilot gardens in Lao PDR, Thailand, and the Philippines, AVRDC is also working to implement teaching gardens in elementary schools in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Bhutan, and Nepal.

7. EARTH University’s Student-Farmer Partnerships — At EARTH University in Costa Rica, young people are learning integrated farming and natural resource management. As part of EARTH University’s curriculum, students work one-on-one with smallholder farmers to assist in rural community development, addressing challenges that face farmers and their communities.

8. Eat Jamaican Campaign — This government campaign is reviving Jamaican smallholder farming, even in unconventional settings. Gardens are now being maintained in homes, schools, hospitals, and even prisons.

9. Fiji Ministry of Agriculture’s Rural and Outer Island Program — This government program helps smallholder farmers in the Lomaiviti Province diversify their agricultural products to increase income and move away from dependence on a single crop. The government of Fiji is also supporting farmers in processing cassava and dalo into value-added products, including chips and flour, to increase their incomes.

10. Flor Cañete de Sanabria and Edita de Jesús Franco de Sanabria — In Paraguay, these two women farmers are ensuring that women’s voices are represented in decisions around rural development and agriculture projects. They are the only women who are part of a 28-member committee of rural producers operating under the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sustainable Rural Development Project.We must get outside of our comfort zones, we have to break down barriers set up by others, and we cannot always accept the status quo when it's simply not working. -Howard G. Buffett

11. FSN Forum in West Africa — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) recently launched a network focusing on projects and initiatives to promote food security and nutrition in West Africa. The forum will coordinate online discussions to foster dialogue around solving food system challenges facing West Africa. The first discussion will examine the question, "How can social protection contribute to food security and nutrition in West Africa?"

12. Govinda Sharma — Sharma is the founder of the HASERA Farm in Patalekhet, Nepal, which is a research and training center focused on organic agriculture, sustainable development, and permaculture. At the farm, he and his family talk to visitors and community members about the importance of sharing resources as a community.

13. Haiti’s Group of Four (G4) — This coalition of the country’s largest peasant organizations has supported the conservation of native seeds and development of small-scale agriculture. G4 and the Dessalines Brigade also provided outreach to victims of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. Along with EHNE-Bizkaia, this initiative was a winner of the 2013 Food Sovereignty Prize.

14. Hastings Urban Farm — This urban farm in Vancouver, British Columbia, is "empowering Canada’s poorest area code" by providing residents of the Eastside neighborhood with fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables at low prices. The farm aims to grow 2,000 pounds of produce this year.

15. Healthy Basket — In Beirut, Lebanon, this Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative works with small-scale Lebanese farmers to sell their certified organic produce to urban customers. Healthy Basket, which began as a project of the American University of Beirut, was the first Lebanese CSA.

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