Posts Tagged ‘DISC’


Three Inspiring People Who Have Met with Nourishing the Planet Among Reuters 10 Food Trailblazers

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By Alison Blackmore

Reuters AlertNet recently identified 10 individuals who are changing the food system at the grassroots. Based on nominations from leading NGOs and research institutes involved in nutrition and agriculture, including Nourishing the Planet, Reuters paid tribute to innovators worldwide who are finding ways to boost production without sacrificing food security for generations to come.

Women at work at the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA). (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Nourishing the Planet is thrilled to give special congratulations to three recipients who we have met with on the ground: Edward Mukiibi, co-founder of Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) in Uganda, Reema Nanavaty, Director of Economic and Rural Development at the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India, and Davinder Lamba, co-founder of the Mazingira Institute in Kenya. Their work is inspiring farmers, youth, and policymakers to create a more environmentally sustainable food system.

As the world looks to find ways to feed a population predicted to grow to 9 billion by 2050, it will be people like Mukiibi, Nanavaty, and Lamba who are finding ways to raise yields, improve nutrition, increase incomes, and protect the environment. From inspiring youth to become farmers, to giving poor women farmers a voice through organizing, to promoting urban farming—these  food trailblazers are finding the best solutions for their communities and creating new models for a sustainable food system.

To read more about Edward Mukiibi, Reema Nanavaty, and Davinder Lamba see Mazingira Institute and NEFSALF: Training a New Breed of Farmers, Looking Inside the Gates to Feed the City from Within: An Interview with Diana Lee-Smith, Nourishing the Planet Spends a Day with SEWA, Women farmers key to end food insecurity, Youth Deserve Gold Medals for Sustainability, How to Keep Kids “Down on the Farm”, Conversations With Farmers: Discussing the School Garden with a DISC Project Student, and Cultivating a Passion for Agriculture.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Youth Deserve Gold Medals for Sustainability

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Over 1,000 young athletes from 70 nations will compete in the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Not only will they compete for coveted medals, they will cooperate in various hands-on workshops as part of a Culture and Education Program that includes the Youth Olympic Games Sustainability Project.

DISC is working in Uganda to change young people's relationship to, and respect for, agriculture. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

As we prepare to cheer the young athletes of the Winter Youth Olympics, let us also applaud the young leaders of sustainability efforts across the globe. Dedicating their time and energy to making the world better for themselves and for generations to come, they are not motivated by medals but deserve them nonetheless. Nourishing the Planet would like to honor 10 medal-worthy organizations and their youth-focused sustainability efforts:

1. Bridges to Understanding: Using digital technology and storytelling, Bridges to Understanding seeks to empower young people, promote mutual understanding across cultures, and cultivate a sense of global citizenship among youth. Students who participate are taught how to use cameras and editing software to create stories about their cultures and communities. These stories are shared online with other participating students in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Peru, South Africa, and the United States. While students in Kalleda, India, post videos about local water pollution, they can simultaneously watch videos from Seattle, Washington, about children who are learning to grow corn, squash, and beans using traditional Native American methods.



One Billion Holiday Wishes

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The holidays are a time for putting others before yourself. And with the recent announcement that the world’s population has surpassed seven billion, there are a lot more ‘others’ to consider this year. Nearly one billion people in the world are hungry, for example, while almost the same number are illiterate, making it hard for them to earn a living or move out of poverty. One billion people—many of them children—have micronutrient deficiencies, decreasing their ability to learn and live productive lives.

Let's not forget about the 1 billion people who lack basic goods this holiday season. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

But there are hundreds and hundreds of organizations working tirelessly in communities at home and abroad to fix these problems.

One Billion Hungry

Although the number of undernourished people worldwide has decreased since 2009, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry each night. This number is unacceptably high. Malnutrition contributes to the death of half a billion children under the age of five every year, and in Africa alone, one child dies every six seconds from hunger.

But organizations, such as the World Food Programme, are using home-grown school feeding (HGSF) initiatives to alleviate hunger and poverty. HGSF programs in Brazil, India, Thailand, Kenya and other countries work to connect local producers with schools, helping to provide children with nutritious and fresh food, while providing farmers with a stable source of income.



Nourishing the Planet TV: Agriculture Education in School

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In this episode, research fellow Supriya Kumar highlights some of the many organizations that are working to help young students develop a respect–and an excitement–about farming, preparing them with the skills they’ll need to feed their families while protecting the environment.


To read more about organizations that are providing agricultural education, see: Innovation of the Week: Agriculture Education in School

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


World Population Day: Agriculture Offers Huge Opportunities for a Planet of 7 Billion

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As the global population increases, so does the number of mouths to feed. The good news is that in addition to providing food, innovations in sustainable agriculture can provide a solution to many of the challenges that a growing population presents.

As our global population continues to grow, agricultural innovations could provide solutions to some of our most pressing problems. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

“Agriculture is emerging as a solution to mitigating climate change, reducing public health problems and costs, making cities more livable, and creating jobs in a stagnant global economy,” said Danielle Nierenberg, Director of Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project.

This year, the world’s population will hit 7 billion, according to the United Nations. Reaching this unprecedented level of population density has prompted the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) to launch a “7 Billion Actions” campaign to promote individuals and organizations that are using successful new techniques for tackling global development challenges. By sharing these innovations in an open forum, the campaign aims to foster communication and collaboration as our world becomes more populated and increasingly interdependent.



To Bring an End to Hunger, Finding What Really Works

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Check out this episode of Link TV on innovations in agriculture, featuring Danielle Nierenberg, Nourishing the Planet co-Project Director, as well as State of the World 2011 contributing authors Edward Mukiibi, co-founder and Project Coordinator of Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) in Uganda and Sithembile Ndema, program manager for the Food and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in South Africa.


Link-TV-WARM-FANRPAN-Worldwatch-Nourishing-the-PlanetBoth Mukiibi and Ndema describe how the projects they are working on are helping to empower farmers to be better able to provide for themselves, their families, and their communities. In Uganda, the DISC project instills greater environmental awareness and understanding of nutrition, indigenous vegetables, and food culture in Uganda’s youth by establishing vegetable gardens at pre-school, day, and boarding schools.

“Young people are all moving to the town to look for jobs,” says Mukiibi. But for many people in Africa, agriculture is the best means of improving diets and incomes. Mukiibi hopes that by teaching young farmers to appreciate agriculture from a young age, he’ll help to provide them with the tools they’ll need to care for themselves and their families.  His work is gaining popularity and momentum. “We started with three schools in 2006 and currently we are working with 17 schools and 13 school gardens,” says Mukiibi.  “These gardens have been created and managed by the students, the teachers, and the parents.”

In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 80 percent of small scale farmers, yet often women do not have access to the land, credit or resources they need to feed their families and earn money. FANRPAN’s Women Accessing Realigned Markets (WARM) project recently launched a series of Theatre for Policy Advocacy (TPA) campaigns in rural Malawi, using an interactive model to strengthen the ability of women farmers to advocate for better for themselves and their families. ”What we are doing is we are using theater as a way of engaging women farmers as a way of getting involved and getting them to open up about the challenges they are facing, says Ndema.“We want them to be a part of the process of trying to address those challenges.”


State of the World 2011 is full of similar stories of success and hope in sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. To read more or to purchase State of the World 2011 at a 20 percent discountClick HERE now and enter promotion code “NtPB20” . To watch the one minute book trailer click HERE.


What Works: Educating the Farmers of Tomorrow

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By Mara Schechter

Roughly 70 percent of Africans are under the age of 30. Unfortunately, young people in Africa are choosing not to be farmers. Farming is labor intensive and many small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa struggle to make a living. And often young people look down on farming or view it as a punishment, rather than something they choose to do. But across the continent, many innovative projects are working to reverse this trend by teaching younger generations how they can improve their livelihoods, preserve their culture, and repair damage to the environment through farming.


DISC is helping students at 31 schools grow local crops in school gardens. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

In Uganda, for example, Edward Mukiibi and Roger Sserunjogi began Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) to reignite a taste for traditional African vegetables among school children. Now, partly funded by Slow Food International and a participant in the 1,000 Gardens in Africa program, DISC is helping students at 31 schools grow local crops in school gardens.

At DISC schools, students also learn how to cook traditional foods with primarily indigenous crops, such as amaranth, African eggplant, and traditional varieties of maize. Students also learn how to dry seeds to store them for later seasons. Through the program, students’ eating habits and ideas about farming change as they come to appreciate indigenous vegetables and the sense of identity and security they gain from the practical skills they learn. And students bring this change of attitude back home and into their communities, starting community gardens and introducing their families to local foods and new farming techniques.

In Rwanda, the organization CARE International’s Farmers of the Future Initiative (FOFI) funded 27 pilot schools to start school gardens. After one year, the pilot schools used half of the profits from their gardens to reinvest in their agriculture programs, while putting the other half towards helping other  schools to start their own gardens. By the end of the three-year project, 28 satellite schools had started their own gardens. (more…)


Complete Video of the State of the World 2011 Symposium Available Online Now

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For those unable to join the Worldwatch Institute’s 15th Annual State of the World Symposium, hosted at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC on January 19th, 2011, full live stream coverage is available online now.


Sithembile Ndema speaks at the State of the World 2011 Symposium on January 19th, 2011. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

The video features keynote speakers and panelists, who include Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World; Hans Herren, President, Millennium Institute; Sara Scherr, President and CEO, Ecoagriculture Partners; Catherine Alston, Cocoa Livelihoods Program Coordinator, World Cocoa Foundation; Edward Mukiibi, co-founder and Project Coordinator, Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC) in Uganda; Sithembile Ndema, WARM Project Coordinator, Food and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in South Africa; and Stephanie Hanson, Director of Policy and Outreach, One Acre Fund.


Video Spotlight of the Week

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Each week Nourishing the Planet features a video to give you the inside scoop on the different projects we see on the ground that are working to alleviate hunger and poverty. We showcase past favorites and some brand new videos you’ve never seen.  Check out Nourishing the Planet’s Youtube channel to see more.

This video features Edward Mukiibi of Project DISC (Developing Innovations in School Cultivation) who will be joining us this Wednesday for the State of the World Symposium all the way from Uganda.


In Case You Missed It: The Week in Short

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Nourishing the Planet has spent a busy and exciting week at Slow Food International‘s Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto in Torino, Italy. Our Earth Workshop entitled “Sustainable Innovations in Fighting Hunger and Poverty” was held earlier today, featuring several of the Slow Food supported projects we’ve met on our travels, including Mangeons Local, Developing Innovations in School Cultivation (DISC), Enaleni Farm, and Chigata Fettes et Development.

photo credit: Bernard Pollack

This week’s innovation saw organizations and farmers partnering to improve farming practices and create financial incentives to take better care of the soil for those living upstream and down.  We interviewed Mark Muller, director of the Food and Society Fellows program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) on the global food system and policies that could help farmers improve their livelihoods. Our team in DC got up close and personal with the Organic Valley Generation Organic Tour bus as they spread the message about farming as a career option.  This week’s episode of Nourishing the Planet TV featured how Farm Radio International is making change and helping farmers by broadcasting over the airwaves.  We also go to see the DC Farm to School Network is bringing food straight from the field into school cafeterias, while kids learn firsthand about healthy eating.