The Last Hunger Season

Africa’s small farmers, who comprise two-thirds of its population, toil in a time warp, living and working essentially as they did in the 1930s. Without mechanized equipment, fertilizer, or irrigation; using primitive storage facilities, roads, and markets; lacking capital, credit, and insurance; they harvest only one-quarter the yields of Western farmers, half of which spoil before getting to market. But in 2011 one group of farmers in Kenya came together to try to change their odds for success—and their families’ futures. Roger Thurow spent a year following their progress.

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers’ lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world’s growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO’s, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

Order The Last Hunger Season on Amazon.com.

Families

The Last Hunger Season tells the story of four farmers in western Kenya—Leonida Wanyama, Rasoa Wasike, Zipporah Biketi, and Francis Wanjala—and their efforts to put an end to the hunger season. Learn more about their lives, families, and struggles and aspirations
 

Videos

This section features The Last Hunger Season documentary film trailer by Courter Films & Associates, video clips featuring smallholder farmers in Kenya, and Roger Thurow’s book discussion videos and speeches.

 

Media Coverage

See media coverage and interviews with Roger Thurow about his book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.


Families

Zipporah Biketi

Zipporah Biketi is a 31 year old mother of four from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya, where she lives with her husband, Sanet, who is in the animal trading business.
 

Francis Mamati

Francis Mamati is a 54 year old maize farmer from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya, where he lives with his wife Mary and their nine children. His main goal is educating his children to lift them from poverty.
 

Leonida Wanyama

Leonida Wanyama is a 43 year old farmer and village elder from the Lutacho village in western Kenya. Her husband, Peter, was injured in a traffic accident many years ago; thus, she completely supports her seven children with food and education.
 

Rasoa Wasike

Rasoa Wasike is a 31 year old mother of three young boys from the village of Kabuchai in western Kenya. She is a small-holder farmer and an upcoming entrepreneur as she invested in a calf to eventually pay for her son’s education.

 


Videos

The Last Hunger Season Multi-Part Series



 


Documentary Film Trailer by Courter Films & Associates



 

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign











 

Book Discussions and Speeches
 

Roger Thurow’s TedxChange at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



 

The Last Hunger Season Book Discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies



 

Setting the Stage: One Billion Hungry. Can we Feed the World Sustainably?



 


Media Coverage
 

Interviews

Take Note: Hunger in an Age of Plenty
Roger Thurow’s Interview with WPSU’s Kate Lao Shaffner, February 2014




  Roger Thurow’s Interview with Tom Paulson at Humanosphere, April 2013

 

Book Reviews

The Last Hunger Season: When Will It Come?, Bread for the World, May 29, 2013

The Last Hunger Season: Study Guide and Quotes, Opportunity International, May 2013

The Last Hunger Season, One Billion Hungry, April 26, 2013

One Book One Northwestern: Last Hunger Season, Northwestern University, April 8, 2013

University Announces hoice for Next One Book One Northwestern, The Daily Northwestern, April 8, 2013

Out of Africa, Harvard Business Review, November 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change By Roger Thurow, Washington Post, September 7, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, Philanthropy News Digest, November 29, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, Acumen, August 8, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, Financial Times, July 22, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: How an NGO is Raising African Crop Yields, The National, May 26, 2012

The Last Hunger Season, USGLC, May 18, 2012

Archive




| By Roger Thurow

Starved Bodies, Hungry Minds

The women farmers at the foot of the Lugulu Hills paused from the preparation of their fields for the planting season and looked forward to the harvest.

| By Roger Thurow

Extending the Reach

I returned from a day in the field with Kenyan smallholder farmers last week to find these words from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as the Newsbrief’s Quote of the Week:

“As I travel around the world talking about American agriculture, the one thing that has struck me is how jealous the rest of the world is about extension, how they would love to have the capacity that we have in this country and often, unfortunately, take for granted, of the ability to reach out and gain very useful information and insights to improve productivity.”

Exactly, I thought.

| By Roger Thurow

Bringing Home the Seeds

It’s been Christmas in February this week for thousands of smallholder farmers in western Kenya.  Seeds and fertilizer for the imminent planting season arrived.

| By Roger Thurow

Reality Check

As the budget battles intensify, a reality check is in order: Slashing foreign aid targeted for boosting development in poor countries will hardly make a dent in the deficit.  The savings will be negligible, but the consequences would be huge.


| By Roger Thurow

Writing on the Wall

The writing on the wall, foretelling the turmoil that has roiled North Africa and the Middle East in recent weeks, appeared during the food crisis of 2008.  It was then that staple food shortages and soaring prices sent protesters into the streets in dozens of countries in the developing world.

| By Roger Thurow

We Do Big Things

For those of us who were listening to the President’s State of the Union address this week, listening for a reference to the fight against hunger through agriculture development, we heard this near the end of the speech:

| By Roger Thurow

African Paradox

Once again, the great paradox of Africa emerges: hunger in one part of a country, food surplus in another.

| By Roger Thurow

The Task Ahead for the 112th Congress

As 2011 dawns, the United States government is poised to lead the greatest assault on global hunger through agriculture development since the Green Revolution half a century ago.  

| By Roger Thurow

Bowling against Hunger

The college football bowl season, which begins this weekend, celebrates food and eating almost as much as it celebrates gridiron excellence.  Just consider how many of this season’s bowls – Bowls!  The very word comes straight from the kitchen — are sponsored by food companies or named after food:


| By Roger Thurow

Food Is the Foundation

This week in Cancun, international negotiators have been consumed with climate change.  And on Dec. 1, all around the world, red ribbons were out in force for World AIDS Day.

Multimedia

Videos


 


Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days

In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.

» Learn more.
» Order your copy of the book.

Books

The First 1,000 Days

Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.

The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.

Learn more »

The Last Hunger Season

In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?

Learn more »

EnoughEnough

Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.

Learn more »