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The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African…

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink…

by Roger Thurow

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In Kenya, the hunger season is defined as the time between when supplies from last year's harvest run out and the next year's crops are ready to be harvested. Just by its definition, you would think this would be a rare occurrence - maybe something that happens during a disaster. But for many small holder farmers in Kenya, the hunger season happens every year and lasts several months. The Last Hunger Season follows the lives of several families as they navigate what they hope to be their last hunger season. All of these families are hoping to break the vicious cycle of poverty through their participation in the One Acre Fund, an NGO that offers farmers improved seeds, fertilizers, and farming methods, so they can yield a crop that will hopefully last an entire year. It is heartbreaking to read about some of these families whose children go to school with only a cup of tea for breakfast, walk all the way home for lunch to have nothing, and possibly just a cup of tea and some vegetables for dinner. I am completely baffled that we live in a world where we throw away food daily, fly around the world and yet, still have people on this planet who starve to death.

Such a fantastic story, that offers some hope, but really will change your view of the world. ( )
  jmoncton | Apr 9, 2016 |
The message of this book - that hunger can be overcome, that the will is there to prosper and thrive - that is the amazing thing about this year in the lives of four different Kenyan farmer families. The work of One Acre is truly inspiring and the hardships that these families have lived through are heartbreaking. Poverty is a relative thing, but many Americans take for granted the broad safety nets that don't exist for much of the world's poor. Seeing the progress that One Acre has made in alleviating hunger and hardship has made me want to be involved in an endeavor that is working and that gives its participants ownership and satisfaction in being able to care for themselves and to look forward to prosperity. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Nov 13, 2012 |
In America, not having any food in the house often means that there is plenty to eat, just not what you are hungry for. But in Kenya, where one is often named for the season of year in which one was born, there are too many children named Wanjala — the hunger season. Even among farmers, hunger and its accompanying problems is common. The Last Hunger Season details one year in the life of 4 farmers involved in One Acre Fund, founded by American Andrew Youn. One Acre Fund seeks to improve farming techniques through education, loans and better seeds. It is not another food aid agency; it seeks to improve the lives of farmers by making them part of the solution.

The Last Hunger Season is an eye-opening book. Hunger and the day to day struggle to have enough to eat is something foreign to most of us in the Western world. The idea that farmers go through a hunger season, watching their children become more and more listless and susceptible to disease seems incomprehensible. While I did not always agree with the political assessments of the author, I found the book a great look into the heart of the famine problem in Africa. I am also impressed with One Acre Fund’s commitment to educate and empower the farmers rather than perpetuate the cycle of handouts and need.

The featured farmers and their families are very real. I hurt during their losses and rejoiced with them in their victories. The book puts a face and a heart on the problems seen in 30 second commercial clips. These farmers are not so different from you and me — they want more for their children. They are committed to hard work, persistence and perseverance. And they get on their knees, raise their hands and praise God for what He has done, what He’s doing and what He will do. I recommend The Last Hunger Season to anyone who wants an accurate look at the plight of farmers in the developing world and a wonderful project that can be the solution to the problem.


(I received The Last Hunger Season from B&B Media in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Jul 26, 2012 |
Smallholder farmers make up the majority of Kenya’s food production and yet they face multiple challenges from inefficient planting techniques to bad seed markets that lead to an annual wanjala–hunger season. One Acre Fund, an ngo, saw the gap and came in with a vision. Sell farmers high quality seeds and fertilizers on credit, delivered to their villages, on the condition they attend local farming classes. Roger Thurow follows four families as they try out becoming One Acre farmers.

Every once in a while there’s a book that you know will impact your entire life. I know this is one of those books.

Thurow strikes the perfect balance between narrating the farmers’ lives and knowledgeably discussing the global politics and environmental problems that also impact the hunger. The information he hands out would be riveting in any case, but how he narrates it kicks it up to another level. I know we all know there is hunger in the world, but it can be easy to ignore when it doesn’t have a face like David or Dorcas, two of the children featured whose mothers flat out do not have food to give them. Don’t get me wrong. The families profiled in this book aren’t put on a pedestal or romanticized or distanced. They are very real. But their strength and wisdom in the face of so many challenges has no other option but to be inspirational. Because it is so real.

Beyond talking about the disgusting fact that there is still hunger in a world with so much plenty and demonstrating the resilience of the families, the book also discusses One Acre Fund’s poverty fighting ideas.

Overall, if you want a book that will challenge your perceptions, humble you, broaden your horizons, and help you see how to truly fight global poverty, this is the book for you. In other words, this is recommended for everyone.

Check out my full review: http://wp.me/pp7vL-Ne ( )
  gaialover | May 31, 2012 |
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Documents the story of a group of Kenyan farmers working to transcend lives of dire poverty and hunger to secure better opportunities for their families, illuminating their challenges while explaining the necessity of improving Africa's agriculture sector.… (more)

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