Do you like poetry? Do you appreciate its ability to create multisensory meaning and understanding to issues and challenges? Join us for our Poetry for School Gardens event.

Seed Programs International (SPI) is partnering with Hunger X Poetry and Sustainable Community Initiative for Empowerment (SCINE) to run a free online event on September 23, 2023 for Hunger Action Day. The event will feature 7 poets reading their original poems about the struggles and challenges surrounding hunger and food insecurity. Representatives from the three host organizations will also talk about their food security initiatives. Donations received for the event will go toward creating a school garden in Kampala, Uganda with local partner SCINE. Learn more about the event here.

Hiram Larew founded Poetry X Hunger after retiring from the US Department of Agriculture.  He understood that poetry could be used as a powerful tool in the global initiative toward zero hunger . In an interview, he said, “to try to solve hunger, we need all the data, we need all the statistics, and we need all the trend lines about hunger in order to understand what we’re dealing with. But if we don’t bring the arts to bear, and, in my case specifically, poetry to bear, we are missing key tools in the toolkit. because, I’m sorry, data, statistics and trend lines simply don’t grab people by the heart. And poetry and other arts, I think, can. So it’s not an either or. We need all of the tools in the toolkits.” Poetry can penetrate the hearts and minds of people and “provide a road into people’s spirits about the issue.”

SPI has had the honor of partnering with SCINE on several food security programs in Kampala, Uganda over the last two years. Last year we partnered on a program to bring container gardens to 100 households and create a school garden at a primary school. You can view a video about the program here or below. This year, we expanded our partnership to create additional school and community gardens and educational opportunities. We are looking forward to expanding this program further with this event and with your help!

The event will feature poetry readings of seven poets: Takudzwa Chikepe, Diane Wilbon Parks, Laura McGinnis, Christopher George, Willeena Booker, Patricia Asuncion, Katiba Muhammed. You can read some of their poems on the Hunger X Poetry website, and read segments from two poems below. We are honored that they wanted to participate in this event and share their great work.

Opening Lines from Takudzwa Chikepe’s poem, Hunger’s Curriculum Vitae 

Hunger

Is communication

That something is wrong

With our way of thinking

Either we have to solve

It or we will perish

Away with it!

The stomach

Knows no boundary

When it comes to swallowing

But sometimes there isn’t anything

To swallow at all swallowing

Thinness and diseases

Malnutrition and

Sometimes

Even

death!

Takudzwa Chikepe famously known as VaChikepe is one of the best writing poets from Zimbabwe. A two-time featured poet at the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, he believes that poetry is a calling and he uses different states of mind, music and spirituality to define and express poetry. Here’s the link to the full poem — International Poets – Poetry X Hunger

_____________

Closing lines from Willeena Booker’s poem, longing for more.

God bless the one who grows his own

 tilling the ground with hands of his native home

 villagers pledge to restore the land

 plant more trees united we stand

 hunger, a silent pandemic raging out of control

 millions go hungry, but who keeps tally of the toll

 swaddled skeletons and emaciated remains

 hidden 6 feet deep, the world in motion yet unchanged

 come stand with me, brothers and sisters, let us rise as one

 act to eradicate hunger until global victory is won 

Willeena Booker is an elementary school teacher and a poet. She enjoys writing poetry that touches the heart and challenges the mind. Her work has recently been published by Moonstone Arts Center’s Poetry Ink Anthology 2021, Haiku 2021 Anthology, and NonSense Verse Anthology 2021. Poet Project has featured her poem I Matter on their BIPOC poetry page and she was a finalist for the Rise Up Anthology by Oprell Magazine. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 3 daughters. Here is a link to the full poem Poem by Willeena Booker – Poetry X Hunger

Thank you for reading! Use the links below to learn more about the event and register for the event. Registration is required to receive the zoom link. We hope to see you there!

School Gardens created this year by SCINE Uganda

Children growing leafy greens in containers

School Garden created last year by SCINE Uganda

Seed Programs International is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates globally.  

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