Below is AlertNet's top 10 food trailblazers, a list that truly spans the globe and offers inspirational stories from many different countries.
Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, The father of India's green revolution
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Many of the seeds farmers plant today - from Mumbai to Manila - can be traced back to the work of a diminutive Indian plant geneticist better known as M. S. Swaminathan.
During the 1960s, Swaminathan brought seeds developed in Mexico by American agricultural scientist Norman Borlaug to India. After cross-breeding them with local species, Swaminathan created a new variety of high-yield wheat that was more resistant to disease and pests.
His pioneering work led to India's so-called green revolution, which is credited with helping to end the country's history of famine and turning India into one of the world's major wheat producers.
"It was a turning point in our agricultural revolution," Swaminathan told AlertNet in a telephone interview. "It created confidence in India's capability as an agricultural producing nation among its farmers."
As part of his 'lab to land programme', Swaminathan spent the 1970s taking the new variety of wheat seed to farmers. He set up 2,000 model farms in villages outside New Delhi, encouraging farmers to plant the new seed and learn from one other.
Swaminathan's focus is now on raising the incomes of small farmers by boosting productivity and adopting more eco-friendly methods, while drafting public policy to protect the rights of small farmers and biodiversity.
Through his research foundation, Swaminathan is also working to improve the lot of India's women farmers.
"I want to reduce the amount of hours women toil in the fields in what is backbreaking work from 18 hours a day to cutting it down to 12 hours by introducing simple technology and tools that are easy and light enough for women to handle," he said.
The 86-year-old also continues to champion the common farmer, saying they deserve more respect.
"We are guests of the sunlight. There is always much to be learnt from the farmer, who deals with the rains and sun every day," he said. "We need to marry modern science with traditional wisdom. We have to give farmers more social prestige and the respect that they don't often receive."
For India's leading scientist, improving agriculture ultimately boils down to two key issues.
"Hungry soils lead to hungry people," Swaminathan said. "We have to conserve soil and use water better."