Posts in food security

FRB Mourns Passing of Founding Member Vernon Sloan

With great sadness FRB announces the passing of one of our founders, Vernon Sloan. He peacefully entered eternal rest on October 7 at his home in Stryker, Ohio after battling a long illness. He was 91.

A fourth-generation farmer, Vernon considered it his mission to feed people. He dedicated both his farm and life to doing just that. In 1999, Vernon and his wife Carol founded FRB along with several agricultural business leaders and Christian organizations that fund and run international food security programs. Since then, FRB has helped over 1 million people in developing countries become food secure. Vernon’s legacy continues as we work to reach the Next 1 Million through agricultural training and development programs in 30 countries.

“He was a soft-spoken, yet well respected leader in his community who cared deeply for the world’s hungry,” says FRB CEO Marv Baldwin. “Vernon voluntarily served on our board for years and his vision, compassion, and faith will continue to guide us. His memory is a blessing.”

Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Friday, October 13 at the Stryker United Methodist Church, with a memorial service at 6:30 p.m. Fellowship time with family will immedialty follow the memorial service. Arrangements are by the Grisier Funeral Home.

Follow this link for more details on Vernon’s remarkable faith and service-filled life, including as a U.S. Army veteran and founder and past president of the Williams County Pork Producers, the Williams County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Williams County 4-H Endowment Committee.

10/09/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Getting Creative

María Francisca’s sales of her handmade soaps and hair gels may have started out modestly, but some small-business training has helped her take them to the next level. She initially sold what she made to neighbor women. Word-of-mouth advertising reached a beauty salon in a nearby town which now stocks her products. As a single mother of five, she’s grateful for the additional income.

Since many men in these indigenous Maya Mam communities have migrated for work, local partner CIEDEG staff prioritizes women, food security, and income opportunities as they develop programs. Kitchen gardens are popping up everywhere thanks to training on growing vegetables. If there’s any extra to sell, the women use what they earn to buy school supplies or to cover household expenses.

Women’s groups, or Sociedades Femininas, often meet in churches to share their experiences, organize, or receive training. A workshop on nutrition and creative cooking led to experimentation: radish leaves in omelets, anyone?

Besides María Francisca, other entrepreneurs have felt encouraged to act on their great ideas. Lucía and her sister started a small grocery store in the front room of their home. And three sisters – Juana, Catarina and Santa – have capitalized on their cooking skills to open a small restaurant. In addition to coffee, smoothies, and standard-fare meals, Juana makes chocolate-dipped bananas and, her own inspiration, chocolate-dipped orange slices.

Photo caption: María Francisca shows her wares
Credit: Bethany Beachum, CWS

Guatemala Nebaj-Quetzaltenango Program
Led by Church World Service and local partner CIEDEG
20 Communities, 771 households, 3,855 individuals

02/08/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Sturdy Construction, Risk Reduction

When natural disaster strikes and homes and crops get damaged or destroyed, Haitian farmers often have to resort to eating the seed they’d saved for the next planting season or sell off any surviving livestock to pay expenses.  Both lead to more hunger in the months following the catastrophe. To improve their level of preparedness, members of all nine farmer cooperatives received training in managing risks and building sturdy homes, latrines and animal enclosures.  

Having a sound plan and strong structures reduces loss of life and serves to strengthen food security in the face of Haiti’s frequent hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. When people understand and follow the building code they’re more able to withstand the country’s inevitable emergencies without having to start over again each time. One cooperative member said, “I give God thanks because this training protects people’s lives.”

People generally build their own homes, mud-and-stick structures without foundations, so the training sessions start by reviewing the need for digging a foundation, using rebar, and mixing cement to form concrete blocks. The co-ops buy materials in bulk to lower the cost to members, and offer loans and discounts as well, to encourage participation. When families are ready to build, engineers from Church World Service are there to supervise.

Roger, another coop member, said, “Now we don’t need to be afraid anymore, with the work the engineers do.”

Photo caption: Explaining reinforced concrete construction

Haiti Northwest Program
Led by Church World Service and SKDE
10 communities, 6,000 households, 21,000 individuals

01/22/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

A "Crazy" Idea Reaps Great Improvements

Once Victor started re-purposing cast-off plastic bottles as mini grain-storage bins, as suggested by FRB’s local partner ACJ from our Nicaragua Boaco program, he saw more than just a few benefits. He explains:

“If you want to have enough food for your family, you’ve got to have a good way to store what you grow. I used to pile up my corncobs with the husks still on and just threw a pesticide on them. It was easy and protected them from weevils.

“When I first started collecting pop bottles my wife, Lucrecia, thought I was crazy! She thought I’d never have enough, but my neighbors gave me their old bottles. You can fit six pounds of grain in each bottle. Before long I’d managed to store 400 pounds of corn and beans!

“After six months, Lucrecia and I checked them: sure enough, no weevils. When she saw how the beans cooked up as soft as if they were newly harvested, she was sold on the idea. Now she helps me collect used bottles!

“There are so many good reasons to use old bottles to store my grain. We don’t have to spend money on chemicals. It’s no more work than what I used to do, but it’s safer and healthier. I don’t have to buy seed for planting, and I even have leftover seed to sell. There’s never any shortage of used plastic bottles, and people usually just throw them out.  So using them even cleans up the environment. I’ve taught my friends and neighbors how to keep their grains like this, too. I’m proud to have learned the technique and proud to have shared it. God helps those who help themselves!”

Photo caption: Beans and corn, not pop, in those bottles

Led by World Renew and Local Partner Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes de Nicaragua (ACJ)
8 communities, 201 households, 860 individuals

11/28/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Every Family has a Story of Struggle and Triumph

FRB’s local partner CASM says, “When you see tables in reports about program progress, you just see numbers of participants -- this many men, this many women, this many children. We never forget that each number represents a person or a family, each family or individual is unique, and each one has a story of struggles and triumphs.”

Take Doña María, for example. Yes, she counts as a program participant, but she is also a valued leader in her community. She is always motivating other women to try new things like energy-efficient stoves, organizing a training event on vegetable gardens, or attending a reforestation rally or a nutrition workshop. She is a highly motivated person who always thinks about others first. At the same time, she is a widow caring for three grandchildren aged 12, 9, and 7 since their mothers migrated to the city looking for jobs.

The program includes supporting rural families in improving the sanitation, health and hygiene condition in their homes. María has helped many neighbors’ families get access to a stove, cement flooring, or latrines.  Her neighbors encouraged her to be a recipient as well.

Said María on the day materials for her latrine were delivered, “This is a day of great joy for us who live in a village forgotten by the authorities but supported by FRB.  We are happy because in one week we will build our latrines. We invite you to come into our homes to show you how this program has supported our families and changed our lives for the better.  We thank you very much."


Honduras Nueva Frontera program
Led by Church World Service and local partner CASM
14 Communities, 626 Households, 3,130 Individuals

Story and photo courtesy Church World Service

10/23/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Mushrooming Success for Cambodian Farmers

Channy and Chantol, a young Cambodian couple, have seen many changes over the last few years, all thanks to a fungus.  They were among the first to adopt mushroom growing when World Hope began working in their village three years ago.  “We were skeptical at first, said Channy, “so we just built a small mushroom house to test it out.”  After realizing how beneficial mushrooms could be, they built a second, larger structure and their parents built two structures as well.
 
The couple works hard, and has become skillful mushroom growers.  Although they typically average an income of $300 per month, they have earned as much as $1,000 in a month from mushrooms alone.  This is especially impressive considering that the GDP per capita in Cambodia is $1,159.   On the off days between planting and harvest, Channy sells sugarcane juice for additional income.

As a result of their efforts, the couple has been able to purchase a motorbike, buy land, and build a new house. They are also raising chickens and ducks, and eating higher-quality food now, given their improved income. Their mushroom houses are still behind their parents’ home, but they plan to build additional structures on their own property soon. 

Although Channy and Chantol are in many ways model mushroom farmers, their success has not come without challenges.  Their parents recently filled in the land in front of their home, so when it rains hard, the water flows downhill into the mushroom house, bringing with it debris that can damage the growing crop.  In addition, now that others are also growing mushrooms, the necessary materials (rice straw and mung-bean pods) that were once readily available and free, are becoming very valuable and hard to find.


Cambodia East program
Led by World Hope
3 Communities, 340 Households, 1,700 Individuals



10/13/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Food for Thought

These wise “Ten Commandments of Food” were developed by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and the World Council of Churches to address the existential challenge of hunger and inequity in an innovative and spiritually engaging manner.

12/14/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Better Together: FRB and OAIC Form Partnership

Foods Resources Bank (FRB) and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) recently announced a partnership agreement that strengthens their efforts to reduce hunger through sustainable agriculture and improved nutrition. By working together, the two organizations will now be able to share a network of learning and deepen their reach into communities at the economic margins of Africa.

“This is an exciting opportunity to create more paths to solving world hunger and learn from each other,” says FRB CEO Marv Baldwin. OAIC joins FRB's network of 23 partner organizations all focused on creating lasting food security programs in developing countries."

Adds OAIC Secretary Reverend Nicta Lubaale, “Being African means being resourceful. We are using local resources and teaching sustainable agricultural techniques to transform the way smallholder farmers grow food to improve their yields as well as the nutritional variety of the foods they produce and consume.”

Under-nourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa is a big challenge. The 2015 report of the State on Food Insecurity in the World indicates that 220 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are living in a state of hunger. In the East African region, 37 million are undernourished. Both FRB and OAIC see agriculture as a lasting solution to hunger. By organizing community groups and providing tools and training to smallholder farmers, these farmers are able to generate sufficient food for their families, share the excess as well as sell some to afford household staples and school requirements for their school-going children.

“Charity never ends poverty,” says Lubaale. “But once you have productive land, you will not go hungry.”

FRB has supported one million people as they have transformed from living in chronic hunger to becoming food secure in its first 15 years and has set a goal to reach the next million in half that time. OAIC is targeting 3,000 congregations and farmers’ organizations to reach 400,000 smallholder farmers in three years. With an average of five family members per household, approximately two million people will realize food and nutritional security and improved incomes through OAIC’s outreach. 

 

 

 

 

 

11/17/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

"Humanitarians In the Richest Sense"

Congratulations to Foods Resource Bank’s own Ron DeWeerd and Reverend Joan Fumetti named as the 2016 Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award winners. This prestigious award is given annually to recognize an Iowan who has provided significant leadership in confronting hunger and alleviating human suffering both at home and abroad. This is the first time the honor has been bestowed on two people.

“We are deeply gratified by this recognition of the humanitarian gifts of two people who have shaped FRB’s mission and ministry,” says FRB President and CEO Marv Baldwin.

When announcing the award recipients at a press conference on Monday, The World Food Prize organization lauded FRB as “one of the most dynamic and innovative agricultural assistance programs in America.”  The award will be formally presented to Ron and Joan at the Iowa Hunger Summit on October 10 in advance on of the World Food Prize October 12-14.

“Hunger is simply not acceptable in this era,” says Ron. “This award shines a light not only on the issue of hunger, but also on the organizations that are taking action to address it.”

Adds Joan, “We have heard first-hand from the farmers we have helped across the globe how the money we have raised is directly making a difference in people’s lives. I am profoundly thankful for the global network possibility FRB has helped create.”

Since 1999, FRB’s volunteers, community projects, member organizations, individual donors, corporations and foundations have made it possible for over a million people around the world to achieve food security. If you’d like to join FRB in reaching The Next 1 Million people, please donate online.  FRB has received the top, 4-Star rating of Charity Navigator, one of the nation’s most trusted charity evaluators.

Ron, FRB’s director of resource development, has been with FRB since it’s founding in 1999. Joan joined FRB as a volunteer in 2001, became our director of growing project development in 2002, and transitioned back to volunteer work when she retired from FRB in 2014. Together they have inspired thousands of people in Iowa and across the country to change the conversation about world hunger from food aid to supporting small farmers and their communities as they grow their own lasting solutions to hunger.

 “Ron and Joan have taught us, with their words and their actions on behalf of FRB, that all people everywhere deserve the opportunity live healthy, more productive, more hopeful lives,” says FRB board director Geoff Andersen, who spoke at the World Food Prize press conference announcing the winners. “By their example, they have demonstrated how each of us can play a part in ending world hunger. Thousands have heeded their call, and for that we are all grateful.”

Together, Ron and Joan inspired farmers, landowners, rural and urban people, churches, businesses, civic groups, youth organizations, and volunteers of every stripe to give the gifts they could give – time, expertise, elbow grease, or money – to allow FRB to offer practical and innovative ways to grow their own food, care for their families, and stay in their own communities.

“Our success would not be possible without FRB and the volunteers, farmers, churches and many U.S organizations that joined us in our mission,” says Ron. “That also includes the journalists that have helped tell our story to thousands across the Midwest and nation.” 

Adds Joan, “We have never done anything on our own. By connecting a network of people around the world, we’ve created lasting bonds between U.S. farmers and their farming neighbors half a world away.”

Both Ron and Joan continue to educate people about the complexities of world hunger: climate challenges, soil and water degradation, international markets, land grabs, natural and man-made disasters, and how all these affect the poor and the vulnerable. They are tireless advocates for peace and social justice and the potential of smallholder farmers to feed their communities as long as they have training and support and feel empowered to determine their own goals and realize their own dreams for their future.

 Says Geoff, “I know you join me in thanking Ron and Joan for their vision, their passion, their energy, and their belief in the dignity and value of all people. They are humanitarians in the richest sense, and I am grateful for their service to FRB and to all humankind.” 

09/28/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Global Food Security Act (GFSA) Passes in Congress

Newsletter: 

On July 6, the US House of Representatives passed the Global Food Security Act, and the bill now only has to receive the approval of the President. The GFSA is an important step in advancing the efforts to combat global hunger that FRB supports.

07/11/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More