How do we end hunger? By recognizing food is a moral right for all
John Deere Foundation president calls on business leaders to act
To honor the legacies of two visionary Iowans, Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. Howard Bowen, businesses must commit to the elimination of hunger in Iowa, said Nate Clark, president of the John Deere Foundation.
Clark challenged business leaders attending the 2023 Iowa Hunger Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, to act upon the most powerful and lasting idea that Dr. Borlaug shared in his 1970 Nobel lecture. “Let’s voluntarily adopt the belief that food is the moral right for all Iowans born in this great state,” Clark said.
Let’s voluntarily adopt the belief that food is the moral right for all Iowans born in this great state
Clark also stressed that the concept of corporate social responsibility that Dr. Bowen helped create in his groundbreaking 1953 book, The Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, is based on the recognition that what is good for business can and must be good for society. ”Let’s unashamedly embrace the notion that equitable access to safe and nutritious food is good for each of us. It protects peace and reaffirms free enterprise, and of course it helps our neighbors and the growers upon whom everyone in our State utterly depends,” Clark said.
“If you are a business leader in search of a corporate social responsibility strategy in Iowa, you have now found one in the elimination of hunger and the support of our food system. This is what we’ve done at John Deere.”
Laura Eberlin, John Deere’s global corporate social responsibility lead, reminded the audience that hunger is not always a consequence of a lack of food production, particularly in Iowa. Eberlin stressed, “In a place where we have some of the world’s most skilled farmers stewarding millions of acres of some of the world’s most fertile soils, nearly 240,000 Iowans, including over 68,000 children, suffer the harm and indignity of hunger.”
“A key problem,” Eberlin notes, “is that many people, including our neighbors, do not have equitable access to nutritious food, or own or have land access. Our food system does not work for everyone, particularly for families struggling in poverty and economic vulnerability.”
A key problem is that many people, including our neighbors, do not have equitable access to nutritious food, or own or have land access.
One of the key solutions, according to Eberlin, lies in the support of food banks. Today, in Iowa, food banks are rescuing tons of nutritious food, the equivalent of many millions of meals for Iowans, often feeding entire networks of nonprofit organizations.
Clark encouraged business leaders to give more money and give it more freely to food banks, growers, and organizations like the World Food Prize. Just this year alone, the John Deere Foundation has awarded over $4 million in unrestricted and capacity-building funds to Iowa food banks, a record for the Foundation and the most of any corporation or foundation in Iowa.