It has been a busy week. I’ve written all sorts of lists (for Thanksgiving week projects, for French baking goals, for academic requirements, for Christmas shopping). I’ve done lots of homework & finally started feeling a bit better about all this math that has entered my life. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the issue that’s most important to me: local food systems & the increasing importance of global food security.

This morning, I finally got around to reading an article in the July National Geographic that a friend was kind enough to let me borrow. I found the article on line, “Food Ark” by Charles Siebert, & I strongly urge you to read it. You’ll learn about the importance of heirloom varieties, about endangered species no one speaks of, about how important farmers are to our food security–even though lately we’ve been giving a lot of that credit to food engineers. If that’s not tempting enough, you’ll learn about a crazy-intense seed bank protected in the permafrost of Norway.

I’ve become increasingly sensitive to issues like this, becoming impassioned & excited about my future work after reading only a few sentences. I give a lot of credit to the ONE/WFP-sponsored Griot course I’ve been taking. Last night, I turned in my final project, a review of the ONE meeting I held a few weeks ago. I’m sad to see the project end, & I wanted to share some of the things I learned with you.

Top three things I learned during my time as a “griot”:

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak to your Congress members. Click to my food policy-focused tumblr for a sample of my weekly assignments for the course, & learn how you can be involved in the debate for the budget & foreign aid.
  2. ONE recently increased their focus on agriculture, which is great, as it’s intrinsically connected to overall health, the economy & community viability.
  3. There are so many organizations doing great things for this issue, & they have really entertaining content on their web sites. Like Ending Hunger. Or the government-sponsored Feed the Future program. Or the Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program. Or the Girl Effect, focusing on girls’ unique role in ending poverty, which is again deeply rooted in hunger & nutrition.

I look forward to sharing more of what I learned with the Griot program as I move forward, but they’ll be over on my tumblr so that I don’t splinter the focus of this blog.

I hope you enjoy clicking around some of the links & reading “Food Ark.” As Joe & I consider the garden we hope to plant in the spring, we’ll be looking at heirloom varieties & encouraged you to do the same. I’ll post more about heirlooms in the future, & I’ll go back to that harebrained idea of washing my hair with baking soda here soon, once I get a squeeze bottle (to store my “shampoo”) & a bigger dose of confidence!

I’ll be enjoying the rest of my day–attending my public management class, baking cookies with a friend & finishing some Christmas ornaments (because nothing says “the holidays” like decorating ornaments while watching The Wire). Happy Seasonal Weather to all. Put on a scarf, hold a warm mug & rejoice in everything that’s coming.

Coming up this weekend: tea & honey macarons (Earl Grey macarons with a honey buttercream filling).


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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