The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

My Passion: The World Food Prize

By Jody Beimer
World Food Prize Docent
Jody Beimer

I am pleased to be part of the conversation with other Borlaug Bloggers! We all have Dr. Norman Borlaug in common by: his message of improving the quality, quantity and availability of food as our mission statement; an appreciation of the Borlaug Laureates’ accomplishments; and Dr. Borlaug’s personal character as our directive.

As a former science teacher, I have always had a passion for sharing Dr. Borlaug’s message with all of my students. Seventh graders at St. Augustin Catholic School had the opportunity to participate in the Borlaug Dialogue in the 1999 and 2000 school years. Approximately 30 students were invited by Ambassador Quinn to sit in on some of the Borlaug Symposium events.

The first step in preparing for this prestigious day was an academic assignment. Student teams were given Laureates to research and prepared poster boards. The poster addressed some background information on the Laureate and their accomplishments. There were other categories displayed on the poster as well: the Laureate’s country of birth; which country the research was done in; the pros and cons of the accomplishment and the nutritional value of the project. Students explained in their own words what the Laureates worked on. The posters were then presented to underclassmen and placed on display prior to the Borlaug Dialogue. It was a great honor for me and my students to have the ability to share the impact that Dr. Borlaug and the World Food Prize Laureates had on them with the Dialogue attendees.

The second part of the project was food collection throughout the school building. The students collected food for the month of October, which coincided with the Dialogue. The food was given to the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC). DMARC volunteers came to the school and presented information about the service that was provided for the community, and when the food was collected, the students took it to the DMARC community center. The information gained through this two-step project was invaluable.

Dr. Borlaug was comfortable with and taught young people all his life. He had an innate ability to connect with youth and students responded to that connection. “I’d always been an advocate of youth,” Dr. Borlaug once said. “Give the young fellows a chance.”

Dr. Borlaug’s mission affected me personally and impacted a large part of my life. I became a member of the Laureate Society at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Through this group, I guide tours of the space to students, dignitaries and the general public. I describe Dr. Borlaug’s agricultural achievements with the Rust Parasite in Mexico and the successes of the World Food Prize Laureates which are displayed in the Hall of Laureates for visitors to learn from and explore. The Laureate’s accomplishments cover a range of categories: aquaculture, integrated pest management (IPM), hybrid rice, school feedings, biotechnology, biofortification and economic and social empowerment to the poorest of citizens.

Commissioned artwork that focuses on food and agriculture can be found throughout the Hall of Laureates and the ability to share that message along with Dr. Borlaug’s message to visitors inspires me each day I am in the building.

The WFP has a moral obligation to continue the Borlaug legacy. Why? Because Dr. Borlaug reminds us that “world peace will not be built on empty stomachs and human misery.”


Quotes from Borlaug taken from his book, Feeding the World: The Challenges Ahead and Noel Vietmeyer’s article, “Borlaug, wheat whisperer.”

08/28/2017 9:08 AM |Add a comment |Comments (4)
You are an inspiration! So grateful for and proud of all you do for the Hall of Laureates and all of us in the Laureate Society. Thanks! Meredith

Meredith McHone-Pierce | | 09/03/2017 9:33 PM
I know first hand what a passion Jody brings to the World Food Prize as a docent. She shares readily with her fellow docents. She volunteers frequently. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

Ellen Strachota | | 09/01/2017 1:02 PM
The Poole Family would like to thank Jody again for her tireless volunteer work at The World Food Prize. Her knowledge and help have been extremely valuable!

The Poole Family | 08/29/2017 11:52 AM
Great article, Jody...and I am glad you are such a positive force for the WFP and a mentor to the rest of us volunteers:-) Beth

Beth Billings | | 08/28/2017 11:09 AM
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