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by Louisa May

GardenI admit it. I see poetry everywhere, even in the Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy (AAFE). Experts in agriculture have created this organization, and they are helping farmers meet global demands for both food and energy. The group also has a strong message to send to government. The message is this: As a nation, we don’t need to choose between energy or food security. Through innovation, agriculture can meet growing global demands for both.

The English word poet comes to us from the Old French word poete which made its way to the French from the Greek poiein, a verb meaning “to make, to create”. And lately, every book or article I read has something to say about how America needs to create, make changes, and embrace the new; our capacity to innovate will determine our success in solving our food and energy problems.

Mark Kornblau, Executive Director of the Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy spoke in Washington D.C. on July 24, 2008 about the promise of agriculture, “With growing global demand for grain, it’s critically important for policy leaders to start thinking about how we can grow our way to a solution. Innovation is part of the American DNA, and through greater support for agricultural innovation, we can produce enough crops to supply both our food and energy needs worldwide.”

Alliance members have already helped farmers grow more crops and use their land more efficiently by making innovations throughout the agricultural process. These innovations include developing seeds with better yield per acre, equipping tractors with GPS technology (stopping the accidental reseeding of rows), and improving irrigation technology so that water use is reduced 30 to 60 percent over surface land. Through science-based education and advocacy, AAFE advances support for agricultural solutions each day.

Founding members of the Alliance are Archer Daniels Midland Co., operators of the world’s largest crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 60 countries, John Deere, the world’s largest provider of products for agriculture and forestry, Pioneer Seed Company, the world’s leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics to farmers worldwide, Monsanto, and the Renewable Fuel Association. As leaders in the field, these companies are in a powerful position to direct change.

But innovation, like poetry, sometimes seems an abstract concept, even though we know that both innovation and poetry are more than just words. Qualities that the best of both share are focus and voice. Okay, there’s no poetry on the Alliance website, but there is an impressive amount of focused information. And AAFE’s website ( includes a section dedicated to voice. You can make your voice heard in Congress by downloading sample letters or you can write your own, using the specific, writing to your representative, tips provided. (They know their stuff- repeat and clarify are two of the tips.)

You can check out books of poetry at your local library to feed your soul, but for ideas on lowering the cost of food on your table and reducing energy consumption, watch for innovations from the Alliance.

Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment. Once there, click on the Green Forum for more articles by feature writer Louisa May.

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