Health, community, connection –  they’re important to all of us.

When we work together, use science-based information and promote sustainable practices our ability to create a difference is immense.   Our last newsletter for 2022 showcases these values.

Message from the Chair

Dear Members and Friends,

This year is going fast as we “Imagine a better World.” So many people around the world are needing our help and it is hard for Rotary Clubs to decide where support from their fundraising would best be used.  There are floods in Australia, hunger in the Sudan, as well as war in Ukraine, amongst other challenges, which all call us to help. Most clubs have prepared a strategic plan, and so that is where they go to make a decision. But I know some clubs have a little to spare and WE can offer long-term solution to malnutrition.

We are excited to say that we are, and have been, working closely with a group in Ethiopia to develop a Global Grant, called “Nutrition, Early Childhood Development and Women Empowerment through integrated Children’s’ Centre for Marginalised Families.” I know they would love your support for this very exciting project.   We can share the details with you.

We are also excited that we have just approved our first Chapter of Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group, in India. Thank you to all who have been involved. You can read about it further in our newsletter.

Yours in Rotary,

PDG Una Hobday OAM, PHF

Chair – Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group

Food Plant Solutions and AFSA (Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa) collaborate

Food Plant Solutions was honoured to work with, and contribute to, AFSA’s latest Barefoot Guide – “My food is African.”

This guide takes you on a journey through the farms, gardens, local markets and kitchens of Africa to learn about the unique, delicious and healthy foods and cultures that belong to this beautiful continent.  Eating healthily is not that complicated. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to understand how to do so. New scientific research is simply telling us what many of our grandmothers, and their grandmothers, have always known.

As the effects of biodiversity loss and climate change worsen across the globe and in Africa, the need for healthy, equitable, efficient, resilient, and culturally diverse food and agricultural systems and practices has never been greater.  It was necessitated by the crisis of an increasing number of people in Africa, particularly in rapidly growing urban areas, who are disconnected from the food production system.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa is working to strengthen the citizen voice in order to demand nutritious and healthy food and Food Plant Solutions is proud to work with them.

The barefoot guide can be downloaded from



India Chapter for FPS formed

In the absence of a holistic food policy that prioritises balanced nutrition and local supply chains, India is home to the largest number of undernourished people, despite being a top agricultural producer. India is a net exporter of food grains today and yet there exist pockets of hunger & starvation at different places and at different times.

Locally grown and consumed food is the best solution as that is NATURAL – given by mother nature. This idea has to be promoted if human beings are to be healthy and live without the threat of hunger.

Rotary Bangalore Rajarajeshwari Nagar Centennial has been conducting Health & Nutrition Awareness Camps under “Community Services” for the last many years. In spite of these camps, we could not see significant improvement in the health of people in the community where we conducted these camps. The reasons being:

(a) ‘Health and Nutrition’ has been a small part of the Community Service activities.

(b) There has never been a focussed approach to the subject.

(c) There has never been a dedicated team for the subject.

(d) The subject never found priority as there has never been shortage of food per-se in the community.

While food security is being addressed by governments, malnutrition & lifestyle diseases are not getting addressed. Seeking a preventive solution for malnutrition and lifestyle diseases, we came across “Food Plant Solutions Rotary Action Group”. This motivated us to start the India Chapter. The fact that it is a proven approach that utilises local potential to reduce malnutrition and lifestyle diseases, appeals to us. We see it as a doable and apt solution for local communities.

Over a period of next 3 years, we hope to achieve visible improvements in the health & lifestyle by raising awareness about nutritional values of edible plants and by supporting and empowering local communities to grow suitable varieties of local food plants. This would also lead to changes in lifestyle, thus preventing lifestyle diseases. The aim, ultimately, is to empower communities to remain free of hunger & malnutrition on their own.

ESAFF Burundi milestones using FPS materials

Eastern and Southern Africa small scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) in Burundi is engaged in a food and nutrition security programme, which is aimed at achieving a diverse nutritious diet among vulnerable smallholder farmers in the rural areas of Burundi.

The program began last year in the provinces of Cibitoke, Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza. Food insecurity is mainly explained by the scarcity of land, which leads to its overexploitation, its fragmentation and the use of marginal land, resulting in a soil degradation and low agricultural productivity.

ESAFF Burundi used the materials provided by Food Plant Solutions, focusing on local food plants, and the programme has been able to achieve the milestones as follows:

Awareness-raising messages on nutritious food plants: the Nutritional Rehabilitation Learning Centers (FARN) played a major role in terms of communication and awareness raising.  The “light mothers” and health center agents affirmed that the proportion of children suffering from acute malnutrition during period of six month (Jan-June 2022) had decreased due to the use of local food plants. The evaluation report states that 8,270 guardians of children, pregnant and lactating women followed the capacity building on best practices on Infant and Young Child Feeding (ANJE) and nutritional values of local food plants.

School gardens – The field visits of the evaluation team made it possible to validate the presence of 8 school gardens integrated the following food plants: Taro, hybrid plantains, peanut, soybean, pigeon pea, pumpkin, sweet yam and bitter cucumber. This happened after being aware of nutritional values of local food plants.

ESAFF Burundi, Bujumbura-Burundi, Kigobe Sud, Bld Mwezigisao

Let’s Grow!

Carolyn Gent, Training and Project Development Coordinator, Bethany Children’s Trust

‘We have nothing to eat.’ Food insecurity is among the biggest challenges facing many communities globally. It is a catastrophic consequence of climate change, of conflict and of unequal access to resources. It causes anguish, despair and hopelessness, and hits the youngest and the weakest disproportionately hard.

The Bethany Children’s Trust’s[1] vision is to mobilise churches to respond to the needs of the most marginalised children. BCT works with local partners in Goma (DR Congo), on the Copperbelt of Zambia and in rural Rwanda, to bring life and hope to children marginalised by extreme poverty, disability, HIV and AIDS, and other forms of stigma. All of these groups are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of food insecurity. Children affected by HIV and AIDS need a nutritious diet in order to take anti-retroviral medication, which will otherwise make them very sick.  Children with disabilities like cerebral palsy often struggle to absorb nutrients so they become weaker when they only have access to a poor diet. Malnutrition robs children of their potential.

That is why BCT was so excited to learn of Food Plant Solutions and their vital work in identifying nutritious plants that grow freely but are often overlooked by communities. The extraordinary benefits of plants like the moringa can and do transform the nutritional outlook for communities struggling to grow imported plants, which are often less resilient to prevailing conditions, including climate and pests.

With the support of a Zambia-based agronomist, BCT has produced a training resource called ‘Let’s Grow!’[2] which builds on, references  and complements the work of Food Plant Solutions. BCT wants to see communities empowered to grow their own food, to reduce their reliance on external aid, and to build dignity and resilience into their neighbourhoods. This approach works!

[1] Find out more about The Bethany Children’s Trust at

[2] The resource can be viewed and downloaded free of charge after a simple one-off registration process at It is available in English and French, with Swahili coming soon.

Solomon Island Posters

Due to continued support from Tasmanian Rotary Club – Deloraine, 3 posters have been created in collaboration with Kastom Gaden Association in Solomon Islands.  These posters are aimed for all audiences and identify 6 local food plants that are, could be, important for the diets of Solomon Islanders.

Kastom Gaden Association were involved with all aspects of the design – they best know their communities and what they need.

Posters such as these can be created for any country or region.