Last month I photographed a man who is making a mark on the lives of vets returning to civilian life. Not only does he help young soldiers but he's brightening the days of older vets as well. Touching profile story for The Bay Citizen:
My work from Guatemala's food insecurity project called, Green Hunger, was recently published in the Christina Science Monitor as part of a featured issue on rising food prices. It was an intense few days of working on this project last August and I'm thrilled its been published. Click on the picture to view it bigger. The spread is not online, so I've added my text below.
Jalapa, Guatemala - Throughout this fertile land is a hidden problem; chronic malnutrition among children. The rate here is the highest in Latin America and the sixth highest in the world, says the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Chronic malnutrition is not simple the lack of food but a lack of nutrients in the kinds of food consumed - mostly beans and corn tortillas. Researchers say half of the children under age 5 here are chronically malnourished , leading to poor development, both physically and mentally. The government, aware that the nation's future is at stake, has launched Hambre Cero (Zero Hunger), a program that includes food supplements for pregnant women and infants.
That's not enough, according to José Luis Vivero Pol, director of Action Against Hunger in Central America (ACH), a nongovernmental organization. He reports that the crux of the problem is the "hungry season" when crop reserves from the previous year run low. To address this in a sustainable way, he and others say, the government must see to the needs of small farmers for land, credit, and expertise in order to boost crop yields. National policies that encourage food exports at the expense of production for national consumption also need to be modified.
Guatemala, with a population of 14 million, is one of the world's top exporters of sugage, coffee, bananas, and corn. Ironically, those most affected by chronic hunger here are farming families.
Humanitarian organizations like ACH aim to educate villagers about nurtrition and urge them to grow vergetables native to their climates. They support beekeeping and building greenhouses to protect seedlings from severe weather. Also, fair-trade coffee growing amkes that crop more profitable for farmers to grow.