Who knew that growing quality coffee was such a difficult task? In fact, cultivating a quality coffee plot can take an entire generation to perfect. So how do small farmers with limited capital and capacity ever compete in such a market? Are they doomed to sell poor-quality beans (ones that will eventually be used for low-grade instant coffee) for next to nothing, or can they polish their growing practices enough to make a pretty penny selling to the likes of Illy and Starbucks? Lutheran World Relief’s intervention throughout the coffee growing world strengthens small, local coffee cooperatives in a number of ways, to include providing access to finance and processing equipment. In the above video, however, it’s the intervention of the Community Knowledge Worker that is highlighted. These CKWs, who are trained by LWR, move from farm to farm and work up close with small farmers themselves, advising them and[…]Read More
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Farmland that had reverted to dust after years of drought is being reclaimed through innovative methods. Thanks to Matemai Mbira Group of Harare, Zimbabwe for the use of their beautiful music in this piece.Read More
Want to know what real hunger is like? Don’t ask an American. The video below, narrated by Sevu, a small farmer in Kenya, gives the most poignant description of hunger I’ve ever heard. Luckily, that’s not all this video is about. It used to be that the seasonal river that runs through Sevu’s village would quickly become dry again a few days after the rain. Now, however, a series of small sand dams stationed throughout its course have kept the river flowing and have allowed Sevu and his family to farm year-round, thereby increasing their income and access to food. Sevu and the family are doing so well now, in fact, that he was able to place an international phone call to me yesterday just to see how my wife and I are doing. The dams are part of a larger program introduced in the area by Lutheran World Relief to[…]Read More
My latest video piece, which I shot for Lutheran World Relief, has given me premonitions of giving it all up and moving out to the country to be a farmer. That’s easier done than most people seeing as how I already live in Africa. Mina seems to like the idea. She used to only farm rice and corn, allowing her family to scrape by at best. LWR‘s agricultural programs in Bihar, India have allowed hers and hundreds of others’ crops to thrive in an otherwise dry and rocky environment. Hit play above and sway along with the saris and sitars.Read More
Whether you’re in a rickshaw or a limousine, in a city of fourteen million no one is immune to the horrors of traffic. India’s third-largest city, Kolkata (otherwise known as Calcutta, or কলকাতা), was my base for the last two weeks during dual video assignments for Lutheran World Relief and ChildFund. During journeys in and out of the city and on not-so-leisurely strolls, I spent a great deal of time in a teeming, chaotic muddle and thought I’d share some of it with you. Hit play below for 28 seconds of the city’s hustle and bustle. While the videos are still on my editing table, I’ll share some select stills from Kolkata’s streets, as well as shots from Lutheran World Relief’s agriculture projects in the State of Bihar, where smiles are plentiful and life goes at a much slower pace. Below I give a sneak preview of footage to LWR‘s[…]Read More