How can we move poor communities from hopelessness to hopefulness? In this fascinating episode of

Add Passion and Stir, Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International, and Matt Bell, chef and

owner of South on Main restaurant in Little Rock, share insights about creating value in poor communities

with hosts Debbie and Billy Shore. Ferrari speaks about the success Heifer International has had in poor

agricultural communities throughout the world by driving social psychological change before anything

else. “We work with communities that could almost be described as clinically depressed…the despair is so

deep…they feel condemned to this situation,” he says. Heifer uses value-based training to demonstrate to

people their own ability and capacity to make change. “Without that psychological shift, nothing we do, no

animal, no training will actually catch,” he notes. Bell has first-hand knowledge of the success of this

model in Arkansas. He sources his chickens from Grassroots Farm Cooperative, a cooperative of 10

formerly struggling small farms in Little Rock that was formed with the help of Heifer International to meet

the demand of the growing market. “My understanding of Heifer at the time was you buy a cow and

someone somewhere gets a cow. I didn’t understand this small business component. I didn’t understand

it could happen in Arkansas,” says Bell.

Heifer International provides resources, capital, and knowledge to help enable small farmers to generate

sustainable income, which gets cycled back into their communities creating opportunities for building

schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

Ferrari describes a program with female farmers in Nepal which is creating a goat meat value-chain by

working with banks to fund this system. There are now 150,000 women organized into small self-help

groups, which organize into larger co-ops and then an even larger union. “They are now feeling the

dignity of being economically self-reliant,” he concludes. Heifer International measures success by giving

people a ‘living income,’ which is a carefully calculated value that is “very complicated…but basically lets

farmers live a life of dignity,” says Ferrari. Bell recalls his childhood when parents in his community

created an informal system to ensure one little boy growing up in poverty always had food. “A group of

moms would take turns packing and extra lunch for Daniel, and they would say, ‘Make sure you give this

to Daniel before you get to class, so there’s no stigma,’” he remembers. Growing up on a cattle ranch

also gave him a unique perspective on the food chain. “An understanding of that gives us more empathy

into how we tackle hunger issues worldwide and locally.” Bell’s values led him to become a passionate

supporter of the No Kid Hungry campaign.

Get inspired by this sincere discussion about ending hunger and poverty.

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