Agriculture and Food Security
Today marks the 22nd annual World Water Day – a day to celebrate one of life’s most basic elements: water. It’s a day to take action for the 748 million people who lack access to clean water. And a day to prepare for how we manage water in the future.
This year’s theme is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’, and focuses on how water resources, and the range of services they provide, are the foundation for poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability.
When Claire Orner first learned about the opportunity to volunteer with Partners' Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Guatemala, she was immediately interested. Claire, along with her husband Rusty, and two sons, Walker (16) and Ashton (13) are passionate advocates for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. For nearly 20 years, the Orners have been stewards of Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living Inc., a 30-acre organic farm in Pennsylvania.
Eating is an agricultural act. The link between food and culture has been always present. How we pick and mix ingredients, their origin and seasonality define human behavior, helping sculpt culture. In recent years, advanced urbanization and globalization are pushing people away from the origin of their food and creating a gap between it and culture.
Partners’ Youth Ambassadors Program, a U.S. State Department sponsored cultural exchange program, brings together youths of limited means and/or with limited international experience, ages 15-18, to build understanding among countries, increase leadership skills, and prepare them to be positive agents of change through volunteer service. In 2012, eleven Guyanese youth and two adult Guyanese mentors participated in the program. While in the U.S., they were engaged with local government and civic organizations, built relationships with host families and youths, and participated in skills-based training that enabled and empowered them to mobilize their communities towards positive change. The youth were empowered to build mutual understanding among countries, enhance leadership skills, be conscious minded, expose themselves to cultures in and out of the country, work and relate with each other, be positive agents of change through volunteer service and replicate what they have learned.
This week, Partners of the Americas joins people around the world in remembering the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. As we commemorate the horrific event, we also hope to offer readers some insight into the current situation in Haiti.
In the town of Grand Boulage in the mountains of Haiti, Madame Andremene Solomon is the primary caregiver for her entire family. Her husband has a physical disability, and she earns the bulk of the income that supports their family of six. A few years ago, food security was a faraway goal for Andremene. She struggled to feed her family and could not afford to send her children to school. She is one of thousands of Haitians faced with food insecurity.