Florence Reed, an international environmental activist, visited Hood College Feb. 29-March 4 to advocate for sustainable farming and share her experiences with farmers in Central America.
Reed is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and president and founder of Sustainable Harvest International, a nonprofit that provides farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve the planet’s tropical forests while helping them overcome poverty.
She visited classrooms throughout the week and gave a community talk March 1. Her lecture, entitled “Organic Farming to Feed the World,” provided an overview of how common farming practices are contributing to environmental and social decay, including poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illness, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Reed also discussed the importance of a global shift to sustainable farming practices and success stories from amongst the 2,000 Central-American farms that have participated in Sustainable Harvest’s extension program. She talked about long-term, integrative approaches that link ecosystem health, human health, societal health and a healthy planet. She concluded her talk with suggestions on how people can take action on these issues, followed by a question-and-answer session.
Reed became a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow because Roger Bowen’s wife heard her give a Pecha Kucha presentation in Maine and suggested he consider her as a fellow. Roger Bowen is the program director of the visiting fellows. He thought Reed was a good fit and asked her to spend time on college campuses sharing information about the work that Sustainable Harvest International does and why they do it.
The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program is part of the Council of Independent Colleges. It brings prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the U.S. for substantive dialogue with students and faculty members. Through a weeklong residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions, the fellows create better understanding and new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds. There are 115 fellows around the U.S.; Reed was the first to visit Hood.
Reed lives in Surry, Maine, with her husband, Bruce Maanum, and their son, Clay, in a home they built with primarily local materials. They grow much of their own food and are close to reaching their goal of being fossil fuel independent.
For more information on Sustainable Harvest International, visit www.sustainableharvest.org.
Watch an interview of Florence Reed below.