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Posts Tagged ‘seeds’

Friday Fun! (The Only Shoes I Talk About: Gym Shoes)

Hello my lovely readers!

I feel like I’m being terribly dull after the excitement of my Seattle and gashed knee Friday Fun posts but things have been honestly rather calm around here.

*looks around*

*knocks on wood*

Well, besides the Social Sciences Librarian Boot Camp and the release of my book that is. 😉

The most exciting things that happened in the last week were:

  1. My recently planted container garden seeds sprouted.
  2. I wore out my gym shoes and bought new ones.

Ok, so, to me the fact that seeds that are organic, heirloom, and over two years old sprouted was pretty damn miraculous, particularly given that right after I planted and liberally watered them we had no sun for around four days. (Things got…moldy).  But I am literally speaking to you about plants growing, so.

It also was a big deal to me that my gym shoes wore out.  We’re talking holes appeared and a heel is half off.  To me this is a sign that my fitness thing went from an attempt to a part of my life.  I literally worked out so much that I wore my gym shoes out. Wow. To celebrate, I let myself buy nice ones.  When I put my feet in them, they said ahhhh.

Oh, before I go, btdubs, I finally realized I totally neglected to put my novella I published almost a year ago, Ecstatic Evil, on Smashwords for all of you lovely folks without kindles, so it is up there now.

Waiting For Daybreak will be there as well after the first 90 days of exclusivity to Amazon are up, aka on September 4th.

Happy weekends!

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Book Review: The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow

Kenyan woman standing in a field.Summary:
Smallholder farmers make up the majority of Kenya’s food production and yet they face multiple challenges from inefficient planting techniques to bad seed markets that lead to an annual wanjala–hunger season.  One Acre Fund, an ngo, saw the gap and came in with a vision.  Sell farmers high quality seeds and fertilizers on credit, delivered to their villages, on the condition they attend local farming classes.  Roger Thurow follows four families as they try out becoming One Acre farmers.

Review:
Every once in a while there’s a book that you know will impact your entire life.  I know this is one of those books.

Thurow strikes the perfect balance between narrating the farmers’ lives and knowledgeably discussing the global politics and environmental problems that also impact the hunger.  The information he hands out would be riveting in any case, but how he narrates it kicks it up to another level.

Central to the book is this question:

Why were people still dying of hunger at the beginning of the twenty-first century when the world was producing—and wasting—more food than ever before? (location 202)

I know we all know there is hunger in the world, but it can be easy to ignore when it doesn’t have a face like David or Dorcas, two of the children featured whose mothers flat out do not have food to give them.  During the wanjala, since it is most of the families’ first years using One Acre Fund, they do not have enough maize (their staple crop) from the year before.  Thus while watching their fields grow, they don’t have enough food to feed their families.  During the height of the wanjala the families routinely have tea for breakfast and lunch and maybe some boiled vegetables or bananas for dinner.  And they still must farm and go to school.  I can’t recall the last time I’ve been so humbled.

Don’t get me wrong.  The families profiled in this book aren’t put on a pedestal or romanticized or distanced.  They are very real.  But their strength and wisdom in the face of so many challenges has no other option but to be inspirational.  Because it is so real.

You don’t focus on the afflictions you have, on your poverty; you focus on where you are going. (location 1469)

Makes you feel bad for complaining about morning commutes, doesn’t it?

Beyond talking about the disgusting fact that there is still hunger in a world with so much plenty and demonstrating the resilience of the families, the book also discusses One Acre Fund’s poverty fighting ideas.  Basically they operate on the teach a man to fish principle.  Thurow talks about how Youn, the founder, believes that bringing in food aid to feed farmers is absurd.  We should instead be helping them to farm better.  Beyond it not being sustainable to feed everyone year after year, it robs the farmers of their dignity.  This was the point I liked best.  These people are not dumb or lazy.  They are victims of a system that is not working.  Helping them help themselves lets them retain their humanity and dignity.  I think that’s something that is often missing in charity work and ngos, but it’s vital to truly changing the game.

Overall, if you want a book that will challenge your perceptions, humble you, broaden your horizons, and help you see how to truly fight global poverty, this is the book for you.  In other words, this is recommended for everyone.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Netgalley

Buy It

Counts For:
Specific country? Kenya
map of africa