Formed in 1985, the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. To mark the milestone, organizations currently implementing F2F programs gathered to hold a learning event on December 3. The two-hour event, held in Washington. D.C., offered a platform to recognize the accomplishments of volunteers and staff over the life of the program; highlight lessons learned; and to promote awareness of the program as a means to expand volunteer participation.
With nearly 100 in attendance, there was no shortage of positive energy in the room surrounding the impact and power of the F2F program and volunteerism. Comprising approximately 20 percent of the crowd, volunteers were able to connect over the common bond of having participated in this long-lasting, successful program and share stories.
Dr. Susan G. Schram, senior partner at SP Consulting, served as the master of ceremonies and moderated a speaker panel entitled, “The Legacy of F2F.” The panel of volunteers shared their experiences and fielded questions from the audience on the value of building relationships and how providing technical assistance allows agribusinesses in developing countries to move forward. The panelists included Brian Foster, Gary Geisler, Bill Nichols, and Judith Moses.
The highlight of the event was the keynote address from the Honorable Douglas Bereuter, for whom the F2F program is named (pictured left). The former member of Congress (1979-2004) and president emeritus of The Asia Foundation, spoke of the early days of Farmer-to-Farmer, its formation, and highlighted the strong impact F2F has not only on the beneficiaries, but also on the American people. He encouraged everyone in attendance to continue to spread the good word about the F2F program.
Dr. Saharah Moon Chapotin, deputy assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau of Food Security, also offered remarks to the attendees. Dr. Chapotin noted that development of sustainable, productive and equitable agriculture and food systems is a complex undertaking that benefits greatly from volunteer support, especially practical technical assistance in production and processing, organizational capacity development, and natural resource management.
Also in celebration of the 30th anniversary, Farmer-to-Farmer implementers, in collaboration with Agrilinks, held a month-long blog carnival. In the days leading up to the event, daily blog posts were shared to highlight successes of the program’s 30 years. Thirty blogs where shared over four weeks, and these blogs fell under the following themes: technology transfer, capacity development, resource management and environment, citizen diplomacy, and reflecting on 30 years of Farmer-to-Farmer.
To learn more about current F2F implementers and their programs, click here.