The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change

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Press: PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
Publication Date:2013-5
ISBN:9781610392402
Author Name:Thurow, Roger
Pages:304
Language:English

Content

At 4:00 am, Leonida Wanyama lit a lantern in her house made of sticks and mud. 
She was up long before the sun to begin her farm work, as usual.
But this would be no ordinary day, this second Friday of the new year.
This was the day Leonida and a group of smallholder farmers in western Kenya would begin their exodus, as she said, “from misery to Canaan,” the land of milk and honey.

About the Author

Roger Thurow is a senior fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 
He was, for thirty years, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal.
   He is, with Scott Kilman, the author of Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, which won the Harry Chapin Why Hunger book award and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award.
He is a 2009 recipient of the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award. He lives near Chicago.

Tags

History,Africa,Kenya,Politics & Social Sciences,Sociology,Medicine,Science & Math,Agricultural Sciences,Food Science



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Comment

 
 

Comment List (Total:15)

  •     To much naive political opinion when USAID contributes such a small portion of their overall budget. The concept is a good one though and deserves support as an NGO.
  •     Chicago Council senior fellow and former Wall Street Journal writer Roger Thurow has published a new book that was on sale during the Council's pre-G8 event.I strongly recommend it. Thurow follows the lives of farm families in Western Kenya throughout the year 2011 as they struggle to overcome hunger. Their productivity is being greatly enhanced through the "One Acre Fund" (<...>) - a social enterprise founded by Andrew Youn, an American son of Korean immigrant parents that now serves 50,000 families.Youn has been called the "Paul Farmer of Agriculture" - an individual of unyielding persistence as he and his team overcome logistical barriers to deliver improved seeds and fertilizer (on credit), training and farm insurance to farmers throughout his area.Those working in African development will recognize much of what One Acre Fund does in Kenya: awakening people to a new possibility, training local facilitators, providing skills in row-planting and microdose fertilizer. Many will also recognize that - as impoverished as the Kenyan villages are - farmers have a profound commitment to securing quality secondary education for their children as their highest aspiration.Like Steinbeck, Thurow follows the experiences of four families as they live through the major phases of the cropping year: the land preparation, the planting, the "hunger season," the harvest, and the second planting. He also neatly folds in the historic events unfolding beyond the villages - the famine in Northern Kenya receiving foreign food aid even as Western Kenya has a bumper harvest it cannot sell, Tony Hall fasting to force Congress to not cut food security funding, and the G8 in Paris giving little priority to food security as the global recession deepens.Thurow writes in a clear, journalistic, page-turning style. This is the kind of book you will want to give to your friends who have had no real exposure to the realities of life in rural Africa, and the heartbreaking choices families must constantly make between buying food or paying school fees or paying for malaria medications.
  •     I work in global food security and international agricultural development, so this book is very interesting to me.
  •     For all development experts or those just interested in development issues, this is a great book. It's also well written, with lots of colorful descriptions that bring the people...
  •     Great complement to his other book Enough.
  •     This book is so informative. We visit Kenya every year to help the people there. It helped us to understand better, the struggles the people have.
  •     Being a funder of the One Acre Fund, this book perfectly captures what the facts and figures of our due diligence on the One Acre Fund did not, the very personal story of each...
  •     Wonderful book to purchase and read. Price break from this site
  •     Very motivating to read how some education, a handful of fertilizer, and a little agronomic science changes the lives of generations. Highly recommended!
  •     This was a beautiful book. I studies some of the same issues in Sierra Leone, and I read this book while doing it.
  •     Well written and interesting. An eye opener!
  •     The strength of this book is the rare access the author gets to the lives of the rural poor. Beyond just recounting the challenges of the farmers, the author is able to present a picture of the thoughts and worries they face each day. The farmers are humanized, rather than just treated as victims.The weakness is that the book doesn't get much beyond the basics of the farmer's lives. One Acre Fund, an NGO the farmers work with, is presented as the answer to every prayer. Questions like, "why is the Kenyan government not paying for this intervention," "is One Acre Fund's NGO approach inhibiting private sector led efforts," and "can One Acre Fund really scale to a meaningful level?" are not addressed. Also, there are parallels drawn between the local farmers and struggles about the foreign aid budget in the US Congress, but the connection is barely drawn. Toward the end we learn that One Acre Fund receives some funding from the US government, but it's a few million dollars, which is relatively minor. How effective is the rest of the US government's one billion dollar "Feed the Future" budget.Despite a superficial treatment of larger policy questions, the book is worth the read to get a better sense of the day-to-day concerns of some of the poorest people in the world.One additional note, the title seems to be a bit wishful thinking at this point. It would be more accurate to put a question mark at the end of it.
  •     Roger-You captured the heart of these wonderful hero's.... I believe poverty and hunger go together and so does the spiritual soul of them...You showed in your book the promise of hope...Thank you so much for exposing us to this culture with this beautifully written book...I hope you get the Nobel Peace Prize...You see I believe in Miracles and this struggle brought to life is reminiscent of the early struggle of Blacks trying to be free...I will support The Chicago Council on Global Affairs...your taking us to the next step of World Peace...Your teaching us how to be "Fisher's of Men" ...Those who teach a man how to fish will be our next generation of Leader's in this now Global World...I met you year's ago when you were a young writer just starting out and you wrote about me in the Wall Street Journal, when I was nominated to the Board of Director's for Braniff Airlines...now I know I will always remember you...I hope with my support for thiscause, you can make a difference...Love PatriciaPS I saw you on Ted...Nice
  •     Global hunger is a tough story to tell. It's complicated, depressing at times and lacks the sort of glitz and celebrity that editors and readers seem to prize these days. So it's great to see a journalist of Roger Thurow's caliber and skill step up to tell the important story of global hunger -- why it exists, how it can be solved and why we can never give up trying. The Last Hunger season chronicles the lives and work of small farmers in Kenya and the steps they take, with the help of an innovative American nonprofit, to grow more food, feed their families three meals a day year-round and make better lives for their children. A natural storyteller, Thurow infuses his book with memorable characters, strong drama and novelistic pacing. You will come away from reading this book with greater knowledge about hunger and solutions, as well as utter awe for the perseverance and resourceful of people who battle tremendous challenges in order to give their children the lives and opportunities that we hope for our own children.
  •     This is an interesting look into a life of abject deprivation.
 

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