Sustainability, Results and Locavores – learn about them in this edition.

Message from the Chair

Happy New Year to you!

2020 had challenges for everyone. Some of us have had personal challenges and some Rotary Clubs have not survived but some have been able to look at new ways of working, to assist their communities and their world partners. While “Rotary Opens Opportunities”, the Covid world also offers opportunities to look at new ways to help those who need it most.

For our committee, we cannot forget that 690 million people in 2020 went to bed hungry every night. And, the World Bank estimates that an additional 38 to 150 million people will fall into poverty in 2021.

Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group, in response to increasing requests for assistance, developed Brief Gardening Guides, which gives people a good start to the process of developing food security in their communities. They have been received with open arms and we will continue with this development this year.

The down side of growing requests is that we have an urgent need for funds – we have many requests we cannot meet in a timely manner because of lack of funding. One part time employee, Karalyn, cannot keep up with the needs, and her skills are better than most!  So please, if you have a few dollars in your clubs budget unallocated, we would gratefully accept, and would use it wisely.

The committee is also looking for a corporate sponsor to support our projects. If you know someone we can speak to, please let me know.

Best wishes for the second half of this Rotary year when Rotary will continue to offer opportunities.

Yours in Rotary

PDG Una Hobday OAM, PHF

Chair – Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group

Our results speak for themselves:

Feedback received from an NGO in Ethiopia.  (The link they refer to is to our Ethiopian publication.)

 “The link you sent me is very important to me, my organization and to everyone who believes in food and nutritional security particularly in third world countries. Please accept my utmost recognition and respect for publishing this invaluable book which can be used at all levels of community based food production.  My understanding of your material goes beyond recognition. Your material’s contribution towards our future work, particularly that of urban and semi-urban agriculture is significant. In today’s food system where fast food is becoming the modus operandi, providing knowledge based education for food and nutritional security creates an enabling environment for communities to be empowered. It also creates a clear social impact through creating employment particularly for youth and women unemployment.”

A message from the Northern Christian Training Centre in Labasa Fiji:

“I saw you wonderful work on Landline. I couldn’t wait to get onto my computer to see what you do. I was so excited when I saw the simple way you put everything together. Well done.”  (sic)

Muravah Foundation – Philippine Program Partner:

On behalf of Muravah Foundation, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation for the untiring support of Food Plants Solutions to provide knowledge and education on local food sources to poverty-stricken communities such as the Philippines.

Feedback on a Fresh Foods for Families Workshop, (which can be hosted in any country and community):

Not only did experienced gardeners report that they had learned, one parent said, ‘This is the best workshop I have been to, and if we had more in Tasmania, we wouldn’t be going without food.’

Food Security for Communities in East Bali

Magdalena Cymanek, Co-founder

Padang Kawat in East Bali is a Food Garden Nursery and Gatsu Rice project located in Sibetan Villages in Karangasem regency in East Bali, Indonesia. It was established in September 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic to improve access, variety and quality of fresh produce available to the local families in an underserved part of East Bali.

Padang Kawat aims at preserving the land, promote self sufficiency and food security.  Our food garden is also introducing new plant foods suitable for cultivation in dry climate of East Bali. This is important because it can significantly improve nutritional content of food consumed daily, prevent diseases and malnutrition in the area of Bali where predominant crops are rice, corn and sweet potato.

We are using Flood Plant Solutions food guides for Indonesia written in Bahasa to learn about the nutritional value of multiple plants and to share that knowledge with the local community, farming families and eventually we hope to share it with local schools and establish food gardens there.  At the moment we have already improved our variety of crops

Our goal is to provide sustainable, organically grown variety of fresh produce, expand knowledge and experience, share skills with others and be an example of environmentally responsible, future oriented, sustainable way of farming and gardening.  We hope our practices will encourage young people and families living in the area of East Bali to hold on to their land, maintain it, and establish their own successful food growing gardens and businesses that will support their families in generations to come.

ECHO App – Access Food Plant Solutions Materials on Your Mobile Device

ECHO is excited to announce the availability of their new app for mobile devices! ECHO has been providing resources to farmers and development workers for over 30 years and represents a network of nearly 20,000 members. This new application allows offline storage, viewing, and sharing of resources from These resources come from a wide variety of ECHO network members, including Food Plant Solutions, and list thousands of documents and videos that are of interest to those working to end world hunger.

In addition, the new ECHOcommunity Mobile app allows farmers to track and evaluate new crops. Seeds procured from ECHO seed banks around the world, and from other sources, can be tracked from planting to harvest keeping detailed records. Farmers can track weather, inputs, pests, diseases, and many other factors along with notes and pictures. Data collected is synchronized to internet-based storage when the internet is available and is retained on the device when there is no internet connection.

The app is available in English through the Apple and Android app stores, and translation is currently underway for an additional nine languages. Search for ‘echocommunity’ (no spaces) in your app store.

Links :,,

Are You a Locavore? – Bruce French AO

Naturally Coronavirus remains the main focus of the news.  Usually, they say that young children are not affected or not seriously at risk.  There are many official reports from groups such as UNICEF, WHO, World Food Programme and others highlighting the serious effects of malnutrition for children, as a consequence of the restrictions due to the corona pandemic.

One possibly long-term implication is that we again need to encourage people to grow and use local and well adapted edible plants.  The global movement of food is being severely restricted.  Groups called “Locavores” are people who have been promoting use of locally produced food to limit the excessive energy costs from long distance transport.  A few years ago, on an international flight my wife was sitting next to a top executive from a vegetable production company.  He simply explained that they have set up a global network of producers in different countries and seasonal environments so that people in the USA could have their favourite vegetables, fresh throughout the year.  Such a strategy creates a global crisis.

Many international organisations seeking to address malnutrition around the world, and not simply make money, are all strongly emphasising diversity of food plants for stable production, balanced meals and additional health benefits.  Our Food Plants International database currently has over 32,200 edible plant species well adapted to every location in the world.

A recent on-line lecture that I gave to the University of California had students linked in on-line all around the world.  Some of the feed-back was very encouraging saying it helped them to re-think their strategies and approach to agriculture to embrace diversity.  Naturally I wouldn’t have spent over 50 years collating information to contribute towards this goal, if I wasn’t convinced that it was the way of the future for both malnutrition, and the planet.

Did You Know?

Now more than ever everyone needs a safe, nutritious diet.  With your help we can achieve this.

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