Who Would You Nominate for the 2013 World Food Prize?

Who Would You Nominate for the 2013 World Food Prize?

This week, I need your input and advice. The nominations process for the World Food Prize has begun.  In 2012, Food Tank co-founder Ellen Gustafson and I participated in a panel about transforming the global food security agenda through increasing the role of youth at the World Food Prize /Borlaug Dialogues in Des Moines, Iowa. You can watch the panel HERE.

Since 1987, the World Food Prize Foundation has given an annual award to an individual who has worked toward the goal of a "nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people." Over the last three years, the Prize has been given to a scientist, two former presidents, and anti-hunger advocates.

The prize itself is a $250,000 award, which is presented in mid-October at the Laureate Award Ceremony hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa. The criteria for the nominations can be found here. To officially nominate for the World Food Prize, go here: www.worldfoodprize.org/nominate.

Here are a few candidates, from the Midwest and around the world, who I think are worthy of this year’s World Food Prize:

WILL ALLEN: Will Allen is the founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., a farm and community center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The son of a Maryland sharecropper, Mr. Allen went on to become the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of Miami, where he majored in education. After careers as a professional athlete and in corporate sales and marketing, Mr. Allen took over his wife’s family farm outside Milwaukee. He started moving into the city to sell produce in 1993, and also began helping kids from the city’s largest low-income public housing project grow their own food. This experience led to the founding of Growing Power Inc. in 1995. In 2008 Mr. Allen was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” the second farmer ever named a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2010 he helped launch First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative and was named one of Time’s 100 World’s Most Influential People.

STEVEN CASEY, JEFF PINZINO & SHEELAH MUHAMMAD: These three food activists, all with backgrounds in philanthropy, teamed up to battle the food deserts in Chicago. They founded Fresh Moves, a mobile food market which brings healthy, nutritious food options to poor, economically isolated neighborhoods that lack access to fresh produce. Starting as a grass-roots organization, they were able to get local companies to sponsor them in creating this mobile food market, such as the Chicago Transit Authority which donated a bus to their cause for $1.

CHARLES BENBROOK: Benbrook was the Chief Scientist at the Organic Center and worked on agricultural policy, science, and regulatory issues in Washington D.C. from 1979 to 1997. He is now a research professor at Washington State University. Benbrook has studied the "dilution effect" or the decline in nutrient density in crops as a result of growth in yields over the last 40 years. He helped develop the Nutritional Quality Index which evaluates individual foods, as well as entire diets, based on their nutrient density.

NANCY KARANJA AND MARY NJENGA: Karanja is a professor at the University of Nairobi and Njenga is a Ph.D. student and through Urban Harvest, they have helped farmers in Kibera slum in Nairobi find ways to grow vegetables and vegetable seeds, despite many challenges, including lack of access to land and water. As a result, urban farmers are not only growing enough food to eat and sell in the slum, but also becoming a source of inputs for rural farmers.

ROGER LEAKEY:  Leakey was born and raised in Kenya and is an expert on tropical agroforestry. He is the Vice Chairman of the International Tree Foundation and is Vice President of the International Society of Tropical Foresters. His work has focused on the role of tropical trees in environmental rehabilitation and the alleviation of poverty, malnutrition, and hunger.

REEMA NANAVATY: Nanavaty is the Director of Economic and Rural Development at the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a member-based Indian trade union that brings together 1.3 million poor, self-employed women workers. SEWA works with women farmers and food processors, helping  them use organic practices, as well as teaching them how to market and distribute the food they grow.

DYNO KEATINGE AND JACKIE HUGHES: Keatinge is the Director General of the AVRDC-WorldVegetable Center based in Taiwan and Hughes serves as the Deputy Director General of Research. Together, they are leading AVRDC in working to promote a shift in the direction of global agriculture funding to include more research and support for the production of fruits and vegetables to address malnutrition.

LESTER BROWN: Brown is one of the world’s most influential thinkers and his work on global food system issues over many decades has led the way for future sustainable development. Brown was the first person to publish a comprehensive projection of world food, population, and land resources to the end of the century with his book Man, Land, and Food. He also founded the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute with the aim of providing a visionary road map in achieving a sustainable environment and economy.

SARA J. SCHERR:  Scherr is an agricultural and natural resource economist specializing in land and forest management policy in tropical developing countries. Founder of EcoAgriculture Partners, she now serves as its President and CEO. Scherr’s work focuses on developing agricultural landscapes that reduce hunger, promote biodiversity, and improve rural livelihoods.

ROLAND BUNCH:  Bunch is Groundswell’s Mali Program Coordinator. He specializes in agro-ecological practices and the design of agricultural development programs, with a focus on training rural residents. In 1982, Roland published Two Ears of Corn: A Guide to People-Centered Agricultural Improvement, which is available in 10 languages and is used by more than 60 universities and organizations.

SERENA MILANO:  As the International General Secretary of Slow Food International, Milano strives to promote biodiversity in the global food system. Her work is helping small-scale farmers preserve biodiversity and raising awareness around the globe about the importance of agricultural diversity for nutrition, environmental sustainability, and increased incomes. She authored World of Presidia, a book on food, culture, and community in relation to biodiversity.

DOV PASTERNAK: Pasternak has devoted his life to turning around the agriculture problems in Africa, giving people the skills and tools they need to improve their livelihoods. His work with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has improved women farmers’ status and income in West Africa.

CARY FOWLER: Fowler is the former Executive Director, and now special advisor, for the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Throughout the 1990s, he headed the International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, producing the first ever global assessment of the state of the world's plant genetic resources, and his work has focused on protecting crop diversity through seed banks.

LINDIWE SIBANDA: Sibanda is the Chief Executive Officer for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a network of farmers, researchers, and governments working in 14 south African countries and she is working to create a food-secure Africa that can feed itself. FANRPAN’s goal is to create conducive policy environments for Africa’s farmers.

KEN COOK: Cook is the president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). He has led EWG in creating innovative online databases which analyze toxic pollution and provide consumers with ingredient safety information. Cook is widely recognized as one of the environmental community's most prominent and effective critics of industrial agriculture and U.S. farm policy.

What Chicagoan do you think should win the World Food Prize this year?

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    Danielle Nierenberg

    Danielle Nierenberg is an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. Her knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 3,000 major publications and outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She spent two years traveling to more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America meeting with farmers, scientists, researchers, policymakers and government leaders. Danielle currently lives in Chicago and is the co-founder of Chicago-based Food Tank: The Food Think Tank.

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