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posted December 8, 2009

from the diligence and brilliance behind Worldwatch.  You can sign up for the newsletter online, or subscribe to the Nourishing the Planet Blog.

This week we are looking back at some highlights from my time in Ethiopia, where I met with farmers and visited projects on the ground to learn about and analyze environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating poverty and hunger.

Persistently Innovative, One Farmer Teaches By Example
I met Kes Malede Abreha, a farmer-priest living near Aksum who, as part of a farmers’ group supported by Prolinnova, is now a leading agricultural innovator in his neighborhood. Teaching by example, Kes Malede is showing how small investments in technology can make a big difference on the farm.

Addressing Soil Erosion to Improve Production, Income, and Nutrition
Teetering over gulleys–some as much as 16 meters deep, which have developed over the years because of bad weather, overgrazing and unsustainable cropping practices–I met farmers working with GTZ to develop erosion control systems that not only improve the harvest and generate more income but also reduce the negative impact of farming on the surrounding areas

These Innovations Have Legs
Meeting with ILRI and IFPRI in Addis Hitting the ground running in Addis Ababa at the beginning of our trip, I met with two members of our Advisory Group, Alan Duncan of ILRI and David Spielman of IFPRI.

Learning From Past Mistakes
Meeting with Joe Welsh, I learned how ACDI/VOCA learned from the past mistakes of other organizations to better serve local pastoralists whose livelihoods depend on their ability to efficiently export livestock to other parts of Africa.

Getting to Market on Chinese Roads
Traveling around Ethiopia by bus, it was impossible not to notice who is building the roads there. At first glance it appears that this investment in Ethiopian infrastructure is only benefiting the country, but a closer look reveals a much more complicated reality.

Check out these posts and more at our Nourishing the Planet blog. Next week I’ll review my time in Kenya where I visited urban farmers growing food in sacks, met with pastoralists struggling to defend their land against climate change, and sat down with representatives from AGRA.