NBHF presents program at Iowa Hunger Summit
Wed, 11/08/2017 - 1:38pm admin
Des Moines - Last week was the World Food Prize (Oct. 16), now a week-long event held each October at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott Hotel, founded by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug in 1986.
To recap briefly what the significance is: Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture, envisioned a prize that would honor those who have made significant and measurable contributions to improving the world’s food supply.
Dr. Borlaug is seen as the man who has saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived. For more information on the World Food Prize, please visit worldfoodprize.org
To kick off this week is the Iowa Hunger Summit that was created in 2006, with former governors Robert D. Ray, Terry E. Branstad and Tom Vilsack serving as honorary co-chairs. The first Hunger Summit took place in 2007, joined by the new Iowa governor, Chet Culver.
The 2017 Iowa Hunger Summit took place Monday, Oct. 16, making this the 12th annual Iowa Hunger Summit which is free and open to the public. Attending the conference were three board members from the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation, Tom Spindler, Joanne Lane and Vickie Grube, along with the Borlaug Foundation’s 2016 summer intern, Rebecca (Becca) Nellis.
This all-day conference gathers leaders from across Iowa representing community organizations, businesses, state and local government, schools, universities, civic and social clubs, other individuals and groups that lead or participate in projects to confront hunger.
Hundreds of participants attend the Hunger Summit from across Iowa and the United States. This year was the largest with over 1,000 in attendance.
Each year there are speakers and panel sessions with leaders and experts in confronting hunger, poverty and malnutrition, both at home and abroad. Welcoming all attending this year’s Hunger Summit was Ambassador Kenneth A. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize.
Ambassador Quinn introduced Craig Hill, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau who spoke to the large group and then led the attendees into the morning’s panel of speakers.
This year the opening panel discussion was on Food Insecurity which included five U.S. secretaries of agriculture, Moderator was Tom Vilsack (2009-2017), Dan Glickkman (1995-2001), Ann Veneman (2001-2005), Mike Johanns (2005-2007) and Ed Schafer (2008-2009).
For five years now, the NBHF have been exhibitors at this event, taking down the models of the Borlaug Boyhood Farm splendidly handcrafted by Nick Steffen. It is wonderful to have these models showing where Norman spent his younger years and depicting where life began for him that also includes a model of the one-room school he attended. The models have been in local parades, out at the Borlaug farm for events, they also have been on display at the Iowa State Capital for a partners of Silos and Smokestacks event. If you have not seen these marvelous replicas you can see them anytime by visiting the Welcome Center in Cresco.
For the first time, this year the Foundation was invited to present to some area students, telling the story of Norman Borlaug, showing the county where he was born, grew up attending a one-room school and graduated from high school.
We were given the number of possibly 60 students, however, by the time all the students were in the room it was overflowing with the number way over 100 with some needing to sit on the floor. The students ranged in ages from the fifth grade into high school. Some were from the Des Moines school districts and Iowa City school students taking part.
Tom Spindler, past president, presented some the story of Norm growing up on an Iowa farm, attending the one-room school, graduating from Cresco High School and then on to college at the University of Minnesota. He then led the discussion to Dr. Borlaug's work with wheat that led to him transforming the countries of India and Pakistan that were headed to mass starvation, to saving billions of lives and how Dr. Borlaug was still working for and with starving people into his 90s.
Spindler told the students, “Norm was always trying to engage with young people, and if Norman were here today, he would want to greet each one there offering them the importance of a firm handshake, look at them in the eye and ask, ‘What do you plan on doing with yourself, you only have one life to live to make something of yourself and make sure you don’t waste it.’”
Spindler spoke of the lessons Norm learned on the wrestling mat and learned the importance of teamwork. He also touched on the Youth Institute of the WFP that was started by Dr. Borlaug.
“It is a program that Norman started, trying to get students to think about the world around them.” Crestwood High School has had one student to achieve that honor, Bronc Dykstra and hopefully there will be others in the future.
Also presenting was the 2016 Summer Intern for the NBHF, Becca Nellis. She is a senior at Iowa State University.
She shared what it is like to be an intern. “I was able to do a lot of projects for the NBHF, learned a lot more about the Borlaug story, how to be a leader and I took what I learned back to Iowa State.”
She co-led with ISU student Rachelle Stika, collegiate 4-H students from all over the midwest participating in a Hunger Banquet and to the World Food Prize Hall of Laurettes in Des Moines.
Nellis also shared with students: “I am a scientist... It is important learning about issues so you can talk and educate... Each one can have an impact.. Even that one small impact of a few people who want to make a difference can end up being a huge impact… everyone has an individual perspective on things, different skills and all are able to do something and make a difference.”
After the presentation was the Iowa Hunger Luncheon with the meals provided by The Outreach Program. One of the three meals distributed was the bean and rice meal the fifth graders packaged the last two years in the Borlaug barn during Inspire Day. That meal included one glass of water and was all about building awareness. In many places this meal may be the only nourishment of someone’s entire day.
Each year the Robert D. Ray Iowa Shares Humanitarian Award is given during the luncheon. This year it was presented to Bishop Richard E. Pates, of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines.
He received it for his leadership in confronting hunger at home and abroad, and especially for his role of building understanding as Chairman of the International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference and his dedication for those who are hungry and living in poverty so they have food and shelter.
Each year at the Hunger Luncheon is the signing of the Norman Borlaug Day Proclamation, which was done by Governor Kim Reynolds, who it was announced has attended each Iowa Hunger Summit. It was at the first Iowa Hunger Summit, Governor Culver presented Norman E. Borlaug with a proclamation declaring Oct. 16 as Norman E. Borlaug/World Food Prize Day in Iowa along with former Governors Robert Ray, Tom Vilsack and Terry Branstad.
Keynote luncheon speaker was Diana Aviv, Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meals programs that provides four billion meals to more than 46 million people across the United States.
There were 10 very informative breakout sessions in the afternoon, making it a challenge to only choose two. Some of the sessions available we could choose from were: Outreach Program & Alliance to End Hunger, Food Security: The Foundation for Healthy Aging, Fighting Hunger While Reducing Wasted Food, Growing Healthy Kids Through School Partnerships, Donation Gardens, Food Insecurity and Child Nutritions.
The 2018 Iowa Hunger Summit will be on Monday, Oct.15 at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines. It is free and open to the public. Please consider taking in this very informative conference joining other Iowans learning and continuing to look at efforts combating hunger locally and globally.
One can visit the Iowa Hunger Summit website at www.iowahungersummit.org to learn more and get signed up when registration is open.
You are also invited to learn more about the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation at www.normanborlaug.org or visit the Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation Facebook page.
Hope to see you at the 2018 Iowa Hunger Summit!
Submitted by Vickie Grube