ONE Seattle digs into African agriculture with Roger Thurow

ONE members in Seattle listened to an inspiring panel discussion on the the issues surrounding agriculture and development in Kenya and what non-profits are doing to empower farmers.

This week, Seattle ONE members had the opportunity to talk with guests at a panel discussion featuring journalist, activist, author and ONE Fellow Roger Thurow. His new book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change details how four farmers in Western Kenya are addressing challenges like rotting food, sickness and malnutrition.

ONE members with Roger Throw

The event, which took place at Seattle Town Hall, was moderated by Mary Kay Gugerty. Gugerty is an Associate Professor at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. The discussion also featured Stephanie Hanson of One Acre Fund and Tony Machacha of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Thurow, a 30-year veteran of The Wall Street Journal, spent a year documenting the struggles of local farmers and the impact that organizations like the One Acre Fund have had in improving the lives of people in these Western Kenyan communities. Hanson discussed the successful work of the One Acre Fund in encouraging sustainability through loans and market training. Machacha added his own personal stories on growing up with farmers in rural Kenya.

ONE members with Roger Thurow, Mary Kay Gugerty, Stephanie Hanson and Tony Machacha

At the ONE booth, we talked to attendees about ONE’s Thrive campaign, which shows how agricultural development and better nutrition can play a role in saving and improving lives. ONE’s sweet potato campaign is working to get nutrition on the global agenda. We want leaders in both donor and developing countries to commit to – and deliver on – the new World Health Organization target to reduce stunting of children by 40 percent and help save 25 million children from malnutrition by 2016.

ONE Seattle members

We were encouraged by the support we heard. ONE’s upcoming actions on World Food Day, Tuesday, October 16, will promote the work of the farmers that Thurow talks about so profoundly in his book, The Last Hunger Season.

-Geoff Patrick and Jessica Beckwith, Seattle ONE Members