A couple highlights

16 Nov

edit: pretty technical post, read at your own risk!

The last 72 hours have been a masterpiece. If opportunity were a horse, I’d have just spurred to a gallop.
Socially Responsible Investing, Guest Lectures, Special Events, Research…

Some highlights/thoughts/questions:
-Development challenge: If people will buy organic food with higher price and now nearly unlimited demand, what is the best way for small farmers to produce it to scale?
*AND does the organic/local movement have to give up any of its ideals to be able to do so?

-Organic Farming “could feed Africa”: UN Environment Programme just surveyed 114 projects in 24 African countries. They found that yields more than doubled with the techniques of irrigation, crop rotation, and input access. Contrary to Harvard keynoter Thursday Robert Paalberg‘s recommendations, the survey suggests that money for development is best spent in education of farmers rather than developing Genetically Modified seeds and selling chemicals. Full link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/organic-farming-could-feed-africa-968641.html

-The food crisis- why?
The causes are many, but mainly, systemically, it has to stem from global overproduction-> trade liberalization-> smaller farmers without education can’t produce any more -> food dependence and FAMINE. Famine is one of the worst human conditions. As Eleanor Roosevelt put it: “The hunger of our world demands our sympathy.”

-Alberto Gomez-Flores, Frances Moore Lappe: The two keynote speakers at the Grassroots International 25th Anniversary celebration, these two serve as some of my prime influences in their work. Gomez Flores is chair of the North America La Via Campesina, the largest organization of small farmer’s rights in the world. He talked through a translator in succinct, clear Spanish about the work for his organizers to translate campesino knowledge into institutions and goals: “Our challenge and our daily work”. “Frankie” Moore Lappe is one of my idols, author of “Diet for a Small Planet,” “Hope’s Edge,” and creator of Food First, one of the best sustainable ag. think tanks in the country. Now she’s working on inspiring hope, conquering fear in a world where “the lens is cracking”. I got to talk with her for 15 minutes afterward about our planet, vision, and hope. Really an incredible experience.

-Costa Rica: I picked up an interesting book in the Boston Public Library about a new historical hypothesis for Costa Rica, which disputes the claim of the pre-coffee “rural democracy” that has permeated Costa Rican culture and even inspired social revolution. A rural society never existed, he claims, but rather a distinction plantation/underdevelopment and simple separated landholders. If true, this changes everything.

-Life: Feels good! Finally asked a girlfriend, Libby Glen of BU ’11: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=1236840042&ref=ts Here’s to that!

Coming up: culture, life, the vision for this country, and Costa Rica.

Stay tuned.

-Eddie Miller
BU ’10


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