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Alice Khisa and her sisters study using a solar lamp purchased from One Acre Fund on credit

Summer 2015 Reading List

It’s that time of year again! Gear up for summer with our list of top agriculture, policy, and development reads.

Pictured above: Alice Khisa and her sisters study using a solar lamp purchased from One Acre Fund on credit


Our Recommendations

1. Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations what it is: a historical, archaeological and geological perspective on the role of soils throughout human civilization. From ancient Mesopotamia to the American push westward, we see how soil has shaped us and how we have shaped soil.

2. In keeping with the theme of the International Year of Soils, Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of Soil, by Daniel Hillel, takes readers through the long history of human beings’ use (and misuse) of soil and water.

3. For those interested in the latest findings and trends in the field of micro-finance, the January 2015 edition of the American Journal of Applied Economics features six randomized evaluations of microcredit in six different geographical contexts throughout the world. The thought-provoking results ask us to consider whether microcredit is as impactful as we think (and this list of commentary compiled by the Financial Access Initiative is helpful supplemental reading).

4. The Last Hunger Season by Chicago Council on Global Affairs Senior Fellow Roger Thurow, traces the daily struggles and triumphs of four smallholder farmers and their families as they fight to overcome hunger and poverty in rural east Africa. (Ok, it’s not technically reading, but you may also enjoy The Last Hunger Season Film Series by Roger Thurow and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which further explores the themes raised in the book through interviews and striking imagery.)

5. One Billion Hungry, by Agriculture for Impact’s Gordon Conway, is a careful examination of the many interrelated issues affecting the global food supply. Conway covers both the science and the politics food security as he explores the question of how to sustainably feed our growing global population.

6. The Global Food Security Index 2015, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by DuPont, is a very in-depth benchmarking index that evaluates the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality of the global food supply across a set of 109 countries. Constructed from 28 unique indicators measuring drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries, this is a resource to explore, bookmark, and refer back to often.

7. The Challenge for Africa: A New Vision, by political and environmental activitist and Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Matthai, argues in favor of Africans reviving their sense of identity, their cultural inheritance, and a shared sense of common purpose to face the challenges posed by endemic corruption, the legacies of colonialism and the Cold and civil wars, poverty, and - most urgently - climate change.

8. In Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, seasoned economists Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo draw on their experience working with the poor in dozens of countries to propose a radical rethinking of the economics of poverty. Insightful questions, well-supported arguments, evidence and analysis contrive to make this a satisfying read for even the most scientific-minded development aficionados.

9. For their first-ever food issue in 2011, Foreign Policy compiled this list of 5 articles which critically examine the different facets (and faces) of hunger and poverty in the 21st century.

10. The new edition of The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, by Harvard professor Calestous Juma argues that Africa can feed itself and help contribute to global food insecurity in just one generation. By working together and harnessing innovation, African countries will be able to unlock their massive agricultural potential.

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