As much as we need new THINKING on global food system issues, we also need new DOING. Around the world there are examples of people and organizations who have developed innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the most pressing issues of food and agriculture. Through years of field visits (and years of trying to eat better in our own communities), Food Tank will continue to highlight and promote the best practices. Danielle has visited more than 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America over the last three years, talking with farmers and farmers’ groups, scientists and researchers, policy-makers and government leaders, students and academics, journalists, and many others. She collected their ideas for alleviating hunger and poverty while also protecting the environment, including: In Tanzania, Danielle met with researchers and farmers from AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center at their Arusha, Tanzania headquarters. The Center works with farmers through participatory research practices finding ways to increase production and consumption of vegetables—and improve farmer incomes. During her trip to Uganda, Danielle met with youth from Developing Innovations in School Cultivation, or Project DISC. This innovative project works with students at nearly 20 schools, helping establish school gardens and incorporating environmental sustainability into the curriculum. By teaching these kids about growing, preparing, and eating food early on, they hope to cultivate the next generation of farmers and eaters who can preserve Uganda’s culinary traditions.
In Brazil, Danielle met with farmers, policy-makers, and food activists from around the world at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, including experts from the Millenium Institute, youth from Nigeria, and innovative farmers from sub-Saharan Africa. And in India, Danielle met with members of the Self-Employed Women’s Association, which has more than a million members. These women are growing, processing, and packaging their own brand of organic rice, spices, and other products, which they sell door-to-door in urban areas to low-income residents, proving that farmers are more than just farmers—they’re also business women and men providing safe, affordable, and sustainable food in their communities. Closer to home, Ellen and the 30 Project visited a number of U.S. cities and saw incredible innovations around the nation. And our friends in Northwest Iowa are developing a healthier, homegrown response to Sioux City’s Big Meat industry. In San Diego, our colleagues at the Veteran’s Sustainable Agriculture Training program showed us a way to engage our veterans in a new kind of service to America—growing good local food. We will continue to highlight organizations that are changing the food system here. If you have any ideas for best practices and innovations working on the ground, please post them on our Facebook page, tweet at us @food_tank, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.