True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

There's a pretty simple way we could be feeding an additional 150 million hungry people around the world.

It's not through some super advanced technology or billion-dollar idea that someone just came up with. The answer has been right in front of us for a very long time:

‌Photo via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project. ‌


Women. Women farmers are a secret weapon to fighting hunger.

How do I know? Because they're already doing it!

Women produce half of all the food in the world – up to 80% in some countries. But most people wouldn't know it.

After all, a woman isn't the most common image that comes to mind when picturing a farmer.

Maybe it's time for it to be?

In the developing world, rural women farmers are the foundation of their local economies. Aside from being the primary caregivers of their children and in charge of domestic responsibilities, women also, on average, make up 43% of an area's agricultural labor force. Ladies get things done.

‌Photo via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project. ‌

Women farmers pull their weight – but they don't have the same access to the land, agricultural training, livestock, financial services, and equipment as men do.  

Yields for women farmers are 20% to 30% lower than for men because they have less access to the services, tools, and information as their male counterparts. When it comes to owning land, women make up only 3% to 20% of all landholders, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.  

The world could look so different if that wasn't the case.

‌Photo via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project. ‌

Sub-Saharan Africa is a perfect example of how empowering female farmers could create significant change.

Women make up nearly 50% of the agricultural labor force there, but the region also has the highest prevalence of hunger in the world. Increasing women's access to the agricultural tools they need would help them to be more productive, reduce hunger, and lift themselves out of poverty. Just look at Kenya.

When The Adventure Project worked with Kenyan women to provide access to better irrigation pumps, the increased productivity and income that resulted was astounding. Each farmer was able to grow enough to sell produce to 50 community members, and their increased earnings allowed them to send their children to school for the first time.

One irrigation pump was enough to lift a Kenyan family out of poverty and into the middle class. That's amazing.

‌Photo via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project. ‌

Unfortunately, there are still many areas where traditional laws and cultural norms get in the way of women farmers being able to reach their full potential. It's not uncommon for women to be forbidden to own and inherit land, obtain credit, or play such a large role in the field. Those limitations and, as a result, missed opportunities are exactly why gender equality is front and center in the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

If women farmers were simply given the same access to resources as men, the number of undernourished people could drop by 100 million to 150 million around the world.

That's like the population of Russia, people. That's a lot of mouths being fed that weren't before.

‌Photo via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project. ‌

Closing this gender gap would change the world by providing for more food where it's needed and improving global nutrition security — including in the United States.

The world misses out when women are held back. The data is there, and their impact is real. Women farmers just need an equal shot.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Laverne Cox in 2016.

When kids are growing up they love to see themselves in the dolls and action figures. It adds a special little spark to a shopping trip when you hear your child say “it looks just like me.” The beaming smile and joy that exudes from their little faces in that moment is something parents cherish, and Mattel is one manufacturer that has been at the forefront of making that happen. It has created Barbies with freckles, afro puffs, wheelchairs, cochlear implants and more. The company has taken another step toward representation with its first transgender doll.

Laverne Cox, openly transgender Emmy award winning actor and LGBTQ activist, is celebrating her 50th birthday May 29, and Mattel is honoring her with her very own Barbie doll. The doll designed to represent Cox is donned in a red ball gown with a silver bodysuit. It also has accessories like high heels and jewelry to complete the look. Cox told Today, “It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll.” She continued, “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection.”

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.