Foods Resource Bank Blog

You are invited to Join FRB in Angola

Angola…now that is a country you don’t hear too much about. Part of what I love about FRB is our member’s willingness to work in difficult contexts, in places many of us have to look up on a map to truly know where it is. Honestly, I have yet to meet anyone that has Angola on their top ten list of places to visit before they die. That could be because most of the people I know don’t speak Portuguese, the national language of Angola, or perhaps because it was recently in the throes of a long civil war.

02/14/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

The power of food

I watched a program this week that reminded me of the power of food.  The program is a travel show that documents the trip of a British chef, Jamie Oliver, who explores the US by seeking out the food and tastes of the local areas he visits.  This particular episode took him to the Navajo reservation in Arizona.  The community has been struggling to find a way to combat a high rate of obesity and diabetes, especially amongst the younger members of their community.  One way that they have been trying to combat these trends is to try and encourage the younger generation to once again become familiar with the traditional recipes.  This program only gave a quick glimpse into this world, but it showed that as the community came together over the planting of crops and the preparation of the traditional foods the community was becoming aware of ways to be healthier and was keeping alive cultural traditions that were generations old.

02/13/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

With Dignity

A couple of years back, FRB had guests from our development programs traveling with staff and host families here in the US. We were having farmers and staff members of our in-country partners in the US for 10 days to visit a few of our community projects and participate in two significant events in the state of Iowa, the Iowa Hunger Summit and the World Food Prize.

02/10/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Reflections from an Airport

It was 4 a.m. on a springlike day in February and I was in a taxi on my way to the airport, bound for one of my trips overseas. Following our exchange of “Good Mornings” and his confirmation that my destination was the airport, it was too dark to see the face of my driver as I sleepily wondered about his accent.

We rode in silence for several minutes before he spoke. “You have very heavy bags. Are you going to Africa?”

02/06/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

My name is not "Those People"

About six weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a Christian Community Development Association Institute. One of the presenters handed us a poem that resonated with me and I would like to share it for this week's blog. As a staff member of an organization that focuses on world hunger I usually center around the stories of development, so this poem of U.S. poverty is a bit different slant for me, but when you reach the last paragraph you will read the very words that have become a primary theme or maxim at the Foods Resource Bank.

01/31/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

More Travels with Angela in Central African Republic

In the Mambere-Kadei area of the Central African Republic, not only do people raise crops, some tribes also herd cattle. The Fulani people are renowned for their love of cattle and as a people group, they span multiple borders from CAR north to the Sahel desert. Peter and I were privileged to visit several groups of Fulani cattle today and were able to speak with two Fulani men about their cattle practices versus those of Peter and his dad in the US. Peter, a cattle man at heart, looked absolutely at home amongst the long-horned Zebu.

01/24/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Travels with Angela in Central African Republic

We started our trip with several flights, finally landing in Cameroon. After a short sleep we piled into a truck with four others and began a day-long journey driving East across Cameroon. At 4pm we were safely at the border after eating our fill of omelettes later in the day. Once we got over the border and through all of the passport formalities, we made our way to the Eglise Evangelique Baptiste (EEB) mission station. The station was developed by Swedish missionaries decades ago, and thanks to them there exists a 120 bed hospital, housing, a nurses training school, bible school and elementary school.

01/23/2012 | Comments: 1 | Add Comment | Read More

A Senior Moment

A trip of a lifetime lay ahead of me. I was going half way around the world to Laos and Thailand, to a world I knew little about. For weeks prior to my departure, I busied myself preparing for this adventure; studying about the countries, getting my immunizations. Anxiety and excitement surged over me all at the same time. Packing became a major ordeal. After all, I take 3 weeks to pack for a long week end and THIS was 3 weeks halfway around the world! I’ll take my grey slacks (they won’t show the dirt); I’ll pack my black slacks too (they’ll show even less dirt). Don’t forget my Khakis (for dress-up), throw in a skirt or two, some hiking shoes, some walking shoes, and oh, don’t forget the sandals.  Find a place to shove in the hand sanitizer, a head lamp (for those nighttime treks to the latrine…I think that’s just an “uppity” word for outhouse), some sunscreen, insect repellent, a trekking pole, some Kleenex and baby wipes (I’d heard stories about those “no toilet tissue” places, and I figured, if these work for babies, they would be just fine for me). Don’t forget the long undies for the cold nights in the mountain villages, and the short undies for the hot humid days in town. Remember to pack the allergy pills, the Tylenol, the cold tablets, the Band-Aids, the lip balm, the Dramamine, the sinus tablets and anything else a good pharmacy could put in a suitcase.

01/19/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

A Youthful Reminder

Part of Foods Resource Bank’s strategic plan is to involve young people in the growth and development of its programs. This is the perfect time of year to go to the FRB website at to see how you can help support FRB in a variety of ways, in a number of different countries.

It was so exciting to hear of the travels of Nicholas Kuperus and Abby Genzink to Africa on an FRB program visit this summer, but prior to their departure a part of me thought, why weren’t their seats made available to other “more experienced/mature” individuals who could appreciate this opportunity more?  How could the world of Xbox, Wii, Facebook and Twitter be set aside long enough to make this trip meaningful?

01/16/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Sugar beets sweeten the Pigeon MI growing project


When you work for FRB, you talk to the most interesting people from the most fascinating growing projects! I just got off the phone with Burt Keefer from the Pigeon MI growing project in Michigan’s “thumb.” (For those who don’t understand the reference, just look at any map of MI – or the U.S. – to see our state’s mitten shape and our famous thumb.)

The Pigeon growing project is unique in that, in addition to soy and corn, they grow white winter wheat, edible beans like navy beans (for your pork ‘n’ beans!), “black turtle soup” beans (for your black beans and rice), and sugar beets. Michigan’s thumb area is a large producer of sugar beets for the refined sugar industry. Thinking of garden beets, I asked Burt, “What do they do with all the red?” Well, there isn’t any red in sugar beets!  They kind of look like huge turnips, pale and elongated, not round like a red beet.

01/10/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More