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Answering the Challenge for Small Farmers

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In early May, I challenged people to think of creative ways to tell the story of small farmers.

I was getting ready to give this speech in Washington, DC to make the argument that investing in small farmers is the most powerful way to fight hunger and poverty.

Here's why: The vast majority of the poorest people in the world get their food and income from farming small plots of land. Helping these farming families grow and sell more helps them become self-sufficient and build better lives.

In my speech, I told the story of Odetta Mukanyiko, because I think she captures the power of agriculture to spur change.

But I also invited you to tell your powerful stories, and I was amazed by the response. We received more than 140 entries from people all over the world, including Kenya, India, and New Zealand. In addition to entries in the six official categories, we received research papers, comic books, and a radio script. One organization, the Adventure Project, even organized a grassroots fundraising campaign around the challenge.

One of my favorite submissions was this beautiful photo essay. I also enjoyed this movie about seeds, especially because I'm so optimistic about the potential for improved seeds to help small farmers confront the drought, pests, and diseases that can destroy their crops.

You can see all our favorites here. The best thing is that all this creative energy and talent was inspired by small farmers.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the challenge, as well as all our partners who helped spread the word. Your collective efforts to build awareness around solutions to poverty and hunger will make a huge difference.

Originally posted on the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He regularly posts his thoughts about the Foundation's work and other projects on his personal web site, The Gates Notes.