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A Bread Member's Legacy: Making Food Security Sustainable

Last week, Bread lost to cancer an advocate who “got” the critical details of sustainable agriculture. Deon Stuthman, professor emeritus of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, worked for decades to promote food security for hungry and poor people—both as a Bread activist and in church leadership roles, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s churchwide committees on agriculture and food issues.

Stuthman’s academic background enabled him to see clearly what needs to be changed, and his work as an activist helped bring change closer.

“He had a strong desire to see Bread address sustainability concerns more thoroughly,” said Tammy Walhof, who worked closely with Stuthman as Bread’s regional organizer for the Upper Midwest. “Some of his deep concerns about the flaws in our trade system and their potential impact on regional food security were played out during the 2008 food crisis.”

Bread staff members still refer to Bread for the World Institute’s 2003 Hunger Report, Agriculture in the Global Economy, for help in understanding U.S. farming policies and their impact on hungry people.

“Professor Stuthman was instrumental in planning our research trip to Minnesota for Agriculture in the Global Economy,” said Emily Byers, policy analyst for the report. “I think the trip has informed Bread’s work on agriculture issues ever since.”

When our Offering of Letters focused on the U.S. farm bill in 2007, Bread members’ understanding—and confidence to take action—were greatly strengthened by the efforts of our activists who are also technical experts. The farm bill will be coming before Congress again in just a couple of years, and Bread staff is already planning how best to build on the progress we have made.

We can honor Stuthman’s work by continuing our efforts to make U.S. farm policy more fair to all who are struggling to feed their families.

Michele Learner is a writer with Bread for the World.

 

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