The World Food Prize Foundation, headquartered in Des Moines, will celebrate the 99th anniversary of founder Norman Borlaug's birth next week. The public is invited to join in the events to honor this Iowa native's legacy in feeding the world. Borlaug, who died in 2009, was a crop scientist who is known for his lifetime of work devoted to improving food production. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Unable to convince the Nobel committee to start a prize to recognize people who make outstanding contributions to food and agriculture, Borlaug went on to establish the World Food Prize in 1986. The World Food Prize is now the foremost international award recognizing the accomplishments of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
Born of Norwegian descent, Norman Borlaug was raised in Cresco, a small farming community in northeast Iowa. He learned his work ethic on a small mixed crop and livestock family farm and obtained initial education in a one-room rural school house. A scientist with outstanding contributions, perhaps Borlaug's greatest achievement was his unending struggle to bring together the various streams of agricultural research into viable technologies and systems, and to convince political leaders to bring these advances to fruition.
The World Food Prize will hold several events over the coming days at the Hall of Laureates to celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Borlaug:
* Saturday, March 23: The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines will be open for extended hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The documentary, "Freedom from Famine: The Norman Borlaug Story," will be shown at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the Food Bank of Iowa will collect food donations to combat hunger in Iowa. In addition, children's activities will be offered.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
* Monday, March 25: WHO Radio's Van and Bonnie Show will broadcast live from the Hall of Laureates from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Over the lunch hour from 11 a.m. to noon, birthday cake will be served and renowned sculptor Benjamin Victor, who is creating the statue of Dr. Borlaug for the U.S. Capitol, will give a public talk. The documentary about Dr. Borlaug will be shown at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the Food Bank of Iowa will again collect food donations to combat hunger statewide. The Hall of Laureates will be open to visitors for extended hours, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.
* Tuesday, March 26: The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Food Bank of Iowa will collect food donations to combat hunger in Iowa.
Norman Borlaug (March 12, 1914 to September 12, 2009 was an American agronomist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate who is known as "the father of the Green Revolution." Also known as "the man who saved a billion lives" he's one of six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor.
Normal Borlaug was born and raised on a farm at Cresco in northeast Iowa
Born and raised on a farm at Cresco in northeast Iowa, Borlaug went on to earn his PhD in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He went to work in an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations. These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. Later in his life, he helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa.
WFP Hall of Laureates earns highest award as a model of energy efficiency
It was also recently announced that the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates has been awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest possible rating for leadership in energy efficiency and environmental design. The building is the former Des Moines downtown public library, a 110 year old building that has been restored to house the headquarters of the World Food Prize Foundation.
Only a handful of buildings in the entire country designed in the 19th century are on the National Register of Historic Places and have earned the distinction of LEED Platinum certification. This puts the World Food Prize headquarters on the map as a model for salvaging historic buildings and transforming them into usable, sustainable, cutting-edge facilities. To learn more about the building's green features and to view photos and video, visit the World Food Prize website.
Iowa Youth Institute will offer STEM pathways to students on April 29 at ISU
In other World Food Prize news, the second annual Iowa Youth Institute at Iowa State University will take place on April 29, 2013 and with over 200 students expected to participate. Interested teachers and students still have time to sign up, and can register until April 1.
Students write a research paper on a global food security topic and present their solutions to experts and peers during the event. Throughout the day, they also get a behind-the-scenes look at academic and research opportunities on campus, and career pathways in science and related fields. More information is available at this link.