Solutions to Global Hunger: From Seed Banks to Market Gardening to Crop Rotation

Today’s New York Times features several letters to the editor in response to “Experts Worry About Feeding the World as Its Population Grows,” an article published on October 22. The letter writers call attention to several issues: the political realities that perpetuate global food insecurity; the relationship between access to contraception and reduced food demand; and a desire for integrated farming strategies that combine conventional farming practices with agro-ecological approaches. What the letters do not include, however, are examples of grassroots organizations that are implementing many of the creative solutions the authors are seeking.

For the past decade, a community-based organization called GREEN Senegal has been helping rural populations reverse the hunger cycle by promoting small-scale farming. AJWS funds its Techno-Agriculture Innovation for Poverty Alleviation (TIPA) project, which trains farmers in “market gardening,” a unique method for making small family farms profitable. Farmers learn how to use simple, inexpensive techniques like crop rotation and Israeli-style drip-irrigation, maximizing output on formerly overtaxed or arid land.

The Lambi Fund of Haiti, a long-time AJWS grantee, is donating high-quality seeds to two women’s peasant organizations to help them build seed banks for their farming communities. After the initial input by Lambi Fund, from which the first harvest will be planted, farmers will replenish the banks each year with home-grown seeds. The annual crops will dramatically improve farmers’ ability to feed their families directly, and the surplus will be sold at the marketplace, generating capital to increase the community’s self-sufficiency. Paired with this project, Lambi Fund is holding a series of regional trainings to further empower rural communities to overcome stigma and discrimination, to fight for their rights and use their skills to change discriminatory government policies.

Visit Fighting Hunger from the Ground Up to learn more about the Lambi Fund, GREEN Senegal and other grassroots organizations that are developing sustainable solutions to food insecurity.