Sustainable Harvest International founder visits Camden Jan. 7

Dec 20, 2013
Florence Reed will tak about her international work Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Public Library.

Florence Reed believes that when people work together, things change for the better.

This belief led her to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama in the early '90s, and in 1997, Reed founded Sustainable Harvest International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with rural Central American communities to implement sustainable farming practices. SHI is based in Ellsworth.

As president of the organization, Reed divides her time between overseeing programs in Central America and gathering resources in the United States, bringing together farmers and donors to create a better future.

Reed will be talking about her international work Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Public Library, as part of the library’s Green Growing January series of speakers on sustainability and environmental issues.

In addition to presenting her experiences founding SHI, Reed will speak more broadly on the topic of sustainable agriculture, food security, sustainable development, eco-tourism, and voluntourism. An acclaimed speaker for audiences of all ages and backgrounds, Florence Reed brings to her lectures a unique combination of fascinating information, beautiful photography, and a warm appreciation of peoples, cultures, and the natural environment. Her tales of struggle and hope exemplify what people can accomplish with determination and vision.

Reed’s presentation begins with a look at the global and local impacts of slash-and-burn agriculture in the tropics. It then focuses on Sustainable Harvest International’s unique and successful model for reversing this harmful trend. The talk goes on to show how this simple approach helps to alleviate poverty, reverse deforestation, mitigate global climate change, decrease illegal immigration, reduce pollution, and much more.

In recent years Reed has received two honorary doctorates for her work, along with many awards such as the Yves Rocher Women of the Earth award, Traditional Home Classic Woman award, Garden Club of America’s Distinguished Service Award, and an etown e-chievement award.

The next speaker in the Green Growing January series will be Neil Lash, co-founder of Medomak Valley High School’s Heirloom Seed Project on Jan. 9 at the Camden Public Library.

Lash said in a news release, “The act of saving seeds promotes biodiversity. The unique genetic makeup of these seeds is the result of forces and situations that will never again be duplicated. Whatever interesting qualities in the plant’s taste, aesthetics, disease resistance, or ability to grow in Midcoast Maine will be lost if the seeds are not passed on to others to perpetuate.”


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