2014 World Food Prize Laureate
On June 18, 2014, Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram was named the 2014 World Food Prize laureate for his development of 480 varieties of wheat, bred to offer higher yields, resistance to catastrophic rust disease, and that thrive in a wide array of climates. Dr. Rajaram succeeded Dr. Norman Borlaug in leading CIMMYT’s wheat breeding program. His wheat varieties are grown by small- and large- scale farmers in 51 countries on six continents. Dr. Rajaram will be honored in Des Moines on October 16, 2014. Registration for the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue international symposium,Oct. 15-17, 2014, is now open at www.worldfoodprize.org/
Support Veteran-Farmers Through “Homegrown By Heroes”
Americans have a new opportunity to support veteran-farmers by purchasing food with the “Homegrown By Heroes” logo. Homegrown By Heroes agricultural products represent the labors of hardworking veterans that have now chosen to become farmers to feed their communities and the nation. So far, the “Homegrown By Heroes” logo is used by more than 60 farmers who have served in the United States Military. Veterans, Guard members, Reservists, and active duty personnel are eligible for the label and can apply at hgbh.org.
Homegrown By Heroes is a national initiative, which is promoted in the state of Iowa by the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa. Since launching in 2013, the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Iowa has grown rapidly to include more than 150 farming veterans. In their first year of work, they convened a state-wide Iowa Farmer Veteran Conference and held four workshops around the state that covered topics such as land access, loan programs, business planning, and transitioning from the military to agriculture. They are hosting a Midwest Farmer Veteran Conference at Drake University on July 25-26. The conference will include a farm tour along with educational workshops and a great deal of peer-to-peer networking. Registration is open at law.drake.edu/
Organizers attribute the rapid growth of the Iowa Farmer Veteran Coalition to their emphasis on developing a robust Board of Directors, which includes representatives from organizations serving both farmers and veterans. Their early focus on board development has been crucial in ensuring that their programs are driven by the needs of farming veterans, and to their ability to make referrals to provide support for farming veterans.
Seven Years of Food Pantry Collaboration Brings in Donations
The Story County Food Pantry Collaboration engages representatives from 16 area food pantries in quarterly meetings to educate staff and volunteers, coordinate efforts, and share best practices. The collaboration began in the fall of 2007, when several food pantries requested that the United Way of Story County provide a forum for quarterly conversations.
Discussion topics have included ideas for holiday food distribution, food storage, insurance, and use of the Food Bank of Iowa. Food pantries have also shared information about other programs in Story County, including sourcing fresh produce through Plant A Row for the Hungry; providing clients with nutrition education through Spend Smart, Eat Smart and a collaboration with area Girl Scouts; and supporting clients to purchase discounted food through SHARE.
The Food Pantry Collaboration also allows the community to take advantage of additional opportunities to attract donations. In 2010, they launched a partnership with Monsanto to collect donations at the semi-annual Farm Progress Show. In 2012, over 10,000 pounds of food was collected through the Farm Progress Show, 4-H Clubs, and Future Farmers of America chapters which brought in a $10,000 match from Monsanto. When The Salvation Army opened a service corps and food pantry in 2012, Feed The Children asked if they would coordinate a distribution site that would provide 400 boxes of food and 400 boxes of personal items to individuals and families in need. The Food Pantry Collaboration enabled area food pantries to successfully organize the effort in less than 6-weeks.