I took a mission trip 20 years ago to Nicaragua and there, in an extremely poor part of a village, a 5-year-old girl whispered in my ear, “Feed me, I’m starving.” From that point on, I’ve done everything that I can to help feed the hungry whether it is here in America or other parts of the world.
It was in these travels to the poorest reaches of Central America, South America and various parts of Africa that I began to understand the importance of what is termed, “smallholder farmer.” Smallholders are farmers that own just a few acres, yet every group that I know on a international level who works at making sure we can feed 9 billion people by 2050 all agree on this one thing:
Supporting the smallholder farmer is critical to feeding a planet. In particular, supporting women farmers is the best investment.
Although Shop Kansas Farms began 10 months ago, my interest in farmers began 20 years ago with my friend, Santiago, in Nicaragua teaching me how to farm behind oxen and a single bottom plow.
The photos below are ones I took in Tanzania, East Africa last year and is in the same are that my son, Isaac McNary, is in right this very minute installing new solar powered water purification systems in The Outreach Program Children’s Centers (He and I both work for this nonprofit, based in Iowa).
For those of us who work to help hungry people both with short term relief (give a person a fish) and long term sustainability (teach a person to fish), the phrase that is often used to describe hunger is “food insecurity.”
Usually, “food insecure”, or hungry, people are poor and can’t afford food.
However, there was an entirely new type of “food insecurity” in April of 2020 when I started Shop Kansas Farms. People who could afford food, especially meat, could not find it in the grocery store. Our massive supply chain failed the America people.
Who came to our rescue? Kansas farmers and ranchers. In essence, small holder farmers saved our bacon – pun intended.
Ask anyone who is engaged in the fight against hunger where we should pour our resources for long term solutions and they will all tell you, “the smallholder farmer.” In fact, there is a famous agricultural summit held in Des Moines, Iowa, each year called the Global Food Prize/Norman Borlaug Dialogues. Guess what their focus is? Yep, smallholder farmers. In fact, a phrase they used for one of their conferences was, “take it to the smallholder.”
Purchasing from Shop Kansas Farms farmers and ranchers is bypassing major corporations and buying directly from smallholders.
I like my purchases to make a difference and I think you do, too. Buying directly from local farms and ranchers is critical in the fight against global hunger.