Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of July 19, 2010

Readers write in about the US Civil War and Africa's agricultural promise.

Ethical history

I was surprised at Walter Rodgers's harsh tone toward Robert E. Lee in his opinion column, "The other big anniversary of American freedom: July 3" (July 5).

I felt that the examples given were taken out of context in order to make his point. Having grown up in the "North," and speaking as a former elementary school teacher in Illinois, Iowa, and Colorado, I agree that the "mendacities and myths of the past must not be perpetuated," but it is important that American schoolchildren understand the whole picture – in its historical context. I attempted this task in my heterogeneous classrooms. It was not easy, and simply required more preparation, but hopefully it gave the children a fuller understanding of our history in general and perhaps contributed toward helping them to make more ethical decisions of their own.

Betty S. Hart

Geneva, Ill.

Please convey a huge thank-you to Walter Rodgers for his column. Though it will not be popular with Confederacy-worshiping Americans, Mr. Rodgers says what needs to be said about civil rights in America and the place of the Civil War in expanding those rights.

Larry Schlack

Kalamazoo, Mich.

A brown revolution

Regarding the commentary "Africa needs a brown (not a green) revolution" by Shannon Horst (July 5): I was pleased to see that Ms. Horst was advocating the use of traditional agriculture methods. There are many other organizations in Africa beyond the Savory group that are helping farmers sustain themselves using organic and natural farming practices and traditional seeds.

Harambee-Kenya and a small grant from Rotary International has trained hundreds of heads of farm households in small landholder organic farming in the sublocation of Mungao, Kenya, 70 kilometers from Kisumu on Lake Victoria.

In only two crop cycles, 60 percent of trained farmers began to experience food security and surplus. Kenyans from Manor House Agriculture Center in Kitale are now training the farmers in one-eighth-of-an-acre biointensive farming with drip irrigation from buckets. Through the success of these methods of farming, surplus is occurring.

The surplus is being sold, creating fluid cash in this subsistence farming area for the first time.

The result of discretionary cash is not only the payment of school and medical fees but also has generated a need for microlending in the community.

With only a little investment and a ready and involved community it is possible to make big gains in creating a world without poverty.

Carol Carper

President, Harambee-Kenya

Conifer, Colo.

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