Norman Borlaug: Scourge of Hunger


Norman Borlaug has left us.

Never heard of him?

The man who saved Mexico and India from starvation in the 1950s and 1960s?

The man who is the Father of the Green Revolution?

Read on…

Norman Borlaug was a plant scientist responsible for averting famines that would have plagued the second half of the 20th century. His hard work helped develop crops that produced more and helped Third World countries toward self-sufficiency. The Times of India has called him “Professor Wheat… the man who helped us, to a great degree, feed ourselves.”

Dr. Borlaug received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970 for his work.

Dr. Borlaug’s drive came personal experience:

As a boy, he hadn’t known what hunger was. He came from a small Norwegian farm in Iowa, the land of butter-sculptures and the breaded tenderloin sandwich. But on his first trip to “the big city,” Minneapolis, in 1933, grown men had begged him for a nickel for a cup of coffee and a small, dry hamburger, and a riot had started round him when a milk-cart dumped its load in the street. He saw then how close to breakdown America was, because of hunger. It was impossible “to build a peaceful world on empty stomachs.” (Economist)

Today, Dr. Borlaug’s work remains unfinished. His death last week comes at a time when more and more Americans are living below the poverty line. Share Our Strength is appealing for participation in its many programs that provide food to children and families. Events like the 27th American Wine & Food Festival that supports Los Angeles Chapters of Meals on Wheels is more important then ever. Chefs, as much as farmers, politicians, and retailers, are pivotal in encouraging people to give, and coming up with creative ways to help their communities fight hunger.

“Fight hunger.” Those are the words of Dr. Borlaugh. We must all continue the work of Norman Borlaug. Fight!

As Muckety wrote in an article entitled “Few can match the contribution of Norman Borlaug“: “Norman Borlaug saved more people from starvation, as many as a billion in developing countries, than anyone else in history.”

So, take a moment and read at the obituaries below: you will come to appreciate this great man who has passed beyond us.

Norman Borlaug in 1976 (photo by John H. Hulse, courtesy of the International Development Research Centre)

Norman Borlaug in 1976 (photo by John H. Hulse, courtesy of the International Development Research Centre)

PBS The News Hour, Economist, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Economic Times (India), Press Trust of India, Univision, Il Financiero, El Universal, La Cronica del Hoy, El Occidental, El Observador, Los Tiempos, La Nacion, El Comcercio, Xinhua, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Times, Telegraph, National Post, Dallas Morning News, Forbes, CNN, Boston Globe, Reuters, Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, Pioneer Press

Related websites:
Nobel Prize for Peace (1970)
Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation
Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture
Norman E. Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement
Carter Center
The Atlantic Monthly

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