The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

Experiencing the Best in the World of Food and Agriculture

By Chris Wehrman
World Food Prize Hall of Laureates Docent

My blog title sums up my feelings about serving as a Docent in the Laureate Society of the World Food Prize.  I absolutely feel that the substance of the many meaningful stories within the walls of the Hall of Laureates evokes wonder, excitement and great appreciation for all that the world of food and agriculture has to offer.  It is the best story, around which revolves an amazing and continually-changing industry of science, technology, research, academia and all aspects of food production and consumption.

Each of my Docent tours begins with the words, “Welcome to a marvelous wonder of architecture, magnificent art and the most substantive message of food and agriculture in existence…The World Food Prize.”  While the beauty of this remarkable building is self-evident to visitors as soon as they enter the Hall of Laureates, the greeting lends a curiosity to what may be discovered during the tour, as they wonder what the next intriguing message will be.  

The World Food Prize is about representing the people of the past, present and future in food and agriculture.  The life and legacy of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug is without equal.  Highlighting his many accomplishments in the Borlaug Room both amazes and generates great pride among visitors.  His knowledge, dedication and achievements are such a rewarding message for me to share with others.

This is a man with strong conviction and determination, who lived to humbly experience recognition for his achievements, with a legacy that continues to live on in the foundation of the World Food Prize.  From growing up in his Sears Roebuck catalogue home in northeast Iowa to his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, from the establishment of the World Food Prize to creating youth programs to extending the impact of the Prize, Norman Borlaug was an exceptional, extraordinary individual whose life continues to benefit generations of people throughout the world.

Likewise, the history of how the World Food Prize came to be in Des Moines, Iowa, due to the leadership of John Ruan that I tell in the Ruan Laureates Room lends great credence to the old wisdom of acting on opportunity when it comes your way.  John Ruan realized the benefit for Iowa to have The World Food Prize in Des Moines.  The fact that both Dr. Borlaug and John Ruan were Iowa farm boys born in 1914 who came together in Des Moines, spent twenty years working together to advance the purpose and cause of The World Food Prize, and passed away within months of one another is remarkable to visitors, as if this partnership was always meant to be a part of their lives.   

Every room in the Hall of Laureates has a meaningful story to share with visitors, from the entrance of the building through to the garden.  Visitors hold great respect for the Laureates who have received the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.”  They are taken with the Iowa history and leaders marvelously displayed or described in the Iowa Gallery.  And without words, the “40 Chances Room” visually describes why Dr. Borlaug and so many others dedicate their lives to ending hunger through initiatives in food and agriculture.  Visitors recognize many individuals important to the first 25 years of the World Food Prize in the Founders Boardroom and are proud to see the replica of Dr. Borlaug’s statue which is located in the U.S. Capitol.  The role of Iowa artist Grant Wood in the production of the Mural Room intrigues visitors, and they are impressed with the bountiful information of interest to all ages in the Interactive Display.   

As a Docent, my experience is made the better by the capable assistance of the professional staff, led by Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, who has his own exemplary career story to share.  In addition, the students who have the opportunity to intern at the WFP embody the value of this and all other WFP youth programs.  And finally, my fellow volunteer Docents each have an amazing personal story to share as they lead visitor tours throughout the year in honor of the accomplishment, leadership and future vision of Dr. Norman Borlaug and John Ruan.  Please come visit us at The World Food Prize; we have a message to share with you that is without equal. It is the best in the world of food and agriculture.     

05/28/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment |Comments (1)
Chris, The story summary of the Hall of Laureate rooms encourages visitors to see the building’s beauty, the gifts the World Food Prize Laureates have given mankind, and the monetary support of Mr. Ruan. Thanx Chris for sharing Dr. Borlaug’s message.

Jody Beimer | | 05/28/2018 12:28 PM
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