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Heidi Kuhn, 2023 World Food Prize Laureate, Showcased in PBS’s “Market to Market” – Des Moines, Iowa Edition

IOWA PBS – Market to Market 

Norman Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution. From his roots as an Iowa farm boy to the wheat fields around the world, his legacy lives on each October through an event aimed at finding the next big idea to help feed a growing global population. 

Peter Tubbs has a wrap of the week.

Leaders in agriculture from around the world descended on Des Moines, Iowa this week for the annual World Food Prize Laureate Ceremony and 2023 Borlaug Dialogue.

“We are called to a responsibility and a call to action to harness change and to provide assistance and help as a result of the challenges that conflict creates. And we’re certainly called as a humankind to respond to the crisis of climate. There is no question that it is impacting and affecting the way in which we live and will continue to do so.”

Sec. Tom Vilsack / United States Department of Agriculture

This year’s Laureate, Heidi Kuhn, along with other past winners of the prize started by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, took part in sessions over three days under the umbrella of this year’s theme, Harnessing Change.

“I just, Cheryl, would like to hold this shovel up in my battle cry for peace and the words that are respected by various faiths in Old Testament. May they beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks so that nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Heidi Kuhn / 2023 World Food Prize Laureate

Kuhn won this year’s World Food Prize for work she conducted through her nonprofit agency, Roots of Peace. The group focuses on the removal of landmines and unexploded bombs, making way for use of the land for agricultural use. Global food issues and security garnered more headlines following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In fact, the number of people in the world dealing with food insecurity has gone up in recent years for a myriad of reasons.

“When Russia invaded Ukraine we became very well aware of how conflict has an impact on food security and it’s one of the major causes. I think 60 or so percent of the people who have food insecure, they live in countries that are experiencing conflict.”

Cary Flower / SPC Envoy For Global Food Security U.S. State Dept.

Exactly who is leading the charge comes in many forms, whether it’s government, private industry or foundations. All those who participated this week spoke about the investment needed by everyone who eats.

“Frankly, we need to reimagine our politics to say let’s get serious again about recognizing that America has always been the world’s leader on fighting hunger. Let’s do it again. We have the skill and the will and the sense of moral purpose to get that done.”

Rajiv Shah / President, The Rockefeller Foundation

“From day one in a humanitarian setting we need to think what is the long term plan to get from shipping in food and water to investing in local resilience in these situations because we cannot continue fighting hunger in humanitarian situations the same way as we have. We need to think more long term and we really need to cooperate on that.”

Hon. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim / Norway Minister of International Development.

There was also a call for the next generation of thinkers to choose agriculture as a career to help meet the challenges of feeding a growing world. 

“Everybody in this room today can play their part in evangelizing for getting involved in food production globally because we need the brightest and best young people to come into our sector and to drive us forward to meet those huge challenges I spoke about.”

The Rt. Hon. Mark Spencer / UK Min. Of State For Food, Farming and Fisheries

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.

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