Food Tank: Ten Farmers You Need to Know
“According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are more than 570 million farms in the world and global trade in agriculture totals more than US$1 trillion annually. There’s no question that farmers are feeding the world, but many lack the investment, resources, education, and attention they need.
Fortunately, from Uganda to Hong Kong, farmers are finding ways to farm in more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable ways, improving the planet while providing food for their communities. They cultivate community gardens, educate citizens about farming, distribute fresh produce, and support fellow farmers. Hailing from the four corners of the world, these are 10 farmers you need to know.
Becky Balderstone (United Arab Emirates): Since 2011, Becky Balderstone has been running Ripe Organic, the farm network, store, and community organization she founded in the United Arab Emirates. Balderstone started the business as a delivery service for produce boxes to support organic farmers, but it has since grown in scope. Ripe Organic now has its own farm, runs a series of farmers markets and brick-and-mortar grocery stores, and leads community initiatives such as school vegetable gardens and menu collaboration with chefs.
Ben Burkett (United States): Ben Burkett is a fourth-generation farmer who grows vegetables on 300 acres in southern Mississippi, but he is also a tireless advocate for family farms. He is the President of the National Family Farm Coalition, the director of the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, and a member of the Community Food Security Coalition and Via Campesina. Burkett won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2014 for his lifelong support of the family farm and his food access advocacy.
Jess and Matt Fealy (Australia): Blue Sky Produce is a family-owned farm producing mangoes, avocados, passion fruit, and limes. Jess and Matt Fealy and their children moved across Australia in 2012 to start Blue Sky in Far North Queensland. Matt Fealy’s family is in the farming business, which inspired Jess and Matt to leave the city and start their orchard. They are passionate about sustainable farming, and they implement integrated pest management to promote populations of beneficial insects.
Thomas Harttung (Denmark): Thomas Harttung is the Co-Founder of Aarstiderne, an organic produce and meal box delivery program that now supplies more than 45,000 customers across Denmark and Sweden with fresh, nutritious food. He also has a 1,8000-acre biodynamic estate in Jutland, Denmark. In addition, he serves as the Chair of the Trustees for the Sustainable Food Trust, a nonprofit committed to building a food system that causes the least possible harm to humans and the environment.
Tengiwe Cristina Kaba (South Africa): As the Executive Director of Abalimi: The People’s Garden Center, Tengiwe Cristina Kaba teaches Cape Town residents effective urban gardening strategies. She also founded Harvest of Hope, which is a community-supported agriculture initiative that sells organic vegetables in a way that provides farmers with a secure, fair income while offering families, schools, and restaurants a reasonable price. Kaba was recognized as South Africa’s Woman of the Year in 2001.”
Read about the other five farmers HERE!