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The Last Hunger Season

Ashim D'Silva
Aerial view of a farm in South Africa, with a gray sky and mountains in the background.

In the book The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050.

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?

Purchase

Order The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, by Roger Thurow.

Families

Zipporah Biketi
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 and Mary Mamati
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 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 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

A tractor harvests a field
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season Film Series: Part 1 - Expanding Possibilities
Four African farmers—three of whom are women—unite in action against their persistent hunger and conquer the annual hunger season (Wanjala) once and for all.

A farmer overlooks his land
Play Video

Documentary Film Trailer by Courter Films & Associates
Short trailer for the documentary film The Last Hunger Season: A year in an African farm community on the brink of change. Four Kenyan farmers. One acre of land each. One year of work, worry and hope. If they succeed, so might humanity.

Two children stand together outside of a house
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign, Part 1
With the words of Exodus 3:17 as their inspiration, Leonida Wanyama and a group of her neighbors in western Kenya have embarked on a modern-day exodus.

A group of people sing and clap their hands
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign, Part 2
On "input distribution day", the members of One Acre Fund line up - not for food handouts but to receive their orders of seed and fertilizer.

Two young people do schoolwork with books and notebooks in hand
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign, Part 3
As the crops mature in the fields, hope builds for a future in which hunger will only be a distant memory.

A woman carries a bag of corn on her head across a grass field
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign, Part 4
The long-awaited harvest arrives.

A woman and her son shake hands and laugh
Play Video

The Last Hunger Season – Faith Video Series by One Campaign, Part 5
For the farmers, a bigger harvest means that they can now feed their families and make investments in their future.

Book Discussions and Speeches

Screenshot from video of the TedxChange
Play Video

Roger Thurow talks about the smallholder farmers of Africa and the potential for good news in agricultural development.

Roger Thurow discussing his book on stage with two other people
Play Video

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

Roger Thurow talking to a crowd on stage
Play Video

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