On Sunday, October 14th, we started “World Food Prize Week” with a Des Moines Area Sisters on the Planet potluck. We were able to hear from the 2012 Female Food Hero Susan Godwin from Nigeria about the challenges she and her community has overcome such as changing market demand for products, low prices offered by middlemen buyers, and weak institutional support for smallholder farmers.
Tuesday, October 16th, was the kickoff of the Iowa Hunger Summit. Howard G. Buffet (yes, that Buffet!) was the keynote speaker and spoke to a room of 700 about the fight against world hunger. He said, “The solution is not setting goals and campaigns, the solution is changing our mindsets…When I started, I thought if we could produce more, we could feed more people. I was wrong.”
Wednesday, October 17th was the kickoff of the 2012 Borlaug Dialogue at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott. For three days (well, two and a half), leaders, panelists, and other stakeholders gathered to discuss the variety of ways that partnerships lead to food security and how to set an agenda that feeds the world. Oxfam America hosted a GROW luncheon and we, the Iowa Action Corps, had a great dinner with the Oxfam staff. We spent the day tabling, asking folks to sign-on to our World Food Day Dinners, and sharing a “tea time”.
Thursday, October 18th was another day of the 2012 Borlaug Dialogue and the evening saw the Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol Building. Watch the recorded version here. Great speeches all around! We were excited to have such honored guests (like the U.N.Secretary General) in Iowa!
Friday, October 19th we traveled to Marshalltown Community College and visited their Rural Entrepreneurship Incubator (REI) and student gardens on campus. We heard about “Harvest from the Heart of Iowa” – an initiative to bring local producers and distributors of Central Iowa together as a resource for the community. That evening, we traveled back to Des Moines to experience the Global Youth Institute’s Oxfam America Hunger Banquet. 300 students from all over the country (and others) gathered to experience our world’s food security problem.
Saturday, October 20th saw the departure of our beloved Action Corps visitors and Oxfam staff. We spoke with many visitors at our table at the Downtown Farmers Market and had a chance to share the GROW Method with them. Farmers markets are so much fun and a great way to show people first-hand how their purchases benefit small farmers. We had a sample platter with fair trade chocolates and locally-grown and chemical free sweet peppers, spinach, and apples.
Whew! Can you really be exhausted and rejuvenated at the same time? (The answer is yes!) So many thanks to our fabulous volunteers for their time and energy over the long week and we have many exciting things coming up for our month of November! Hope you can join us! If you haven't signed our pledge and would like to get involved, email us here. Don't be shy - we'd love to have your support.