For many years I had the privilege of serving on and co-chairing the United States Rice Producers Organization’s International Promotions Committee. In that capacity, I traveled extensively in several Latin American countries and Mexico with staff of that fine organization helping people understand how to incorporate rice into their recipe repertoire and diets for greatly improved nutrition for their families. I attended many cooking demonstration events in beautiful open air city markets. However, the memories most lingering are those of traveling up rough mountain roads to extremely remote rural villages, often impoverished, where a fascinated audience of what was usually young mothers, grandmothers, and their children anxiously learned to better use rice with beans, corn, fresh vegetables, and scarce meats to stretch thin incomes and provide more balanced nutrition for their families. Our cooking demonstrations were frequently conducted in open air church or school kitchens or schoolyards over a fire of sticks gathered from the village’s edge. It was there I saw needy people introduced to a world of nutrition that I’ve enjoyed all my life; one where simple local foods were assimilated with rice for complete nutritional needs. I’ll ever forget the smiles of the thousands of schoolchildren I’ve witnessed sitting near cookfires in those villages all over the middle Americas enjoying a bowl of rice and beans cooked with local ingredients, nor the joy and appreciation of the mothers in the audience who had just learned to affordably and more nutritiously feed their families. Arroz—mas por menos!
During those trips I began to realize we had food shortages in our own Mississippi and Southern cities, towns, and countryside. These are either a real nutritional shortage of quality calories, or the consumption of excessive substandard caloric garbage. Just as there are people around us who suffer from a lack of resources to procure basic sustenance, there are those suffering from heaping helpings of caloric crap that cause diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, etc. Every day we pass through food deserts in our land of plenty! This most glaring of problems made me realize I could likely help my Southern neighbors by sharing a little of our farm’s nutritious bounty. To that end, we give sums of our rice locally, statewide, regionally, and internationally to organizations and ministries who mercifully reach out to individuals in their networks in need of basic nutrition, as well as local needy individuals.
Please do what you can to help these superlative organizations that touch the lives of thousands with our common goal--helping those around us in need.
To this day, these wonderful partners have helped us deliver 31,080 pounds of rice, amounting to 233,100 servings.