Joe Pastry, one of my favorite food bloggers, remembers Norman Borlaug, a plant scientist and Nobel Laureate whose work on crop yields saved untold numbers of people from starvation. He died this weekend at the ripe old age of 95:
This weekend the world, very quietly, lost its greatest humanitarian. And I mean that literally. Superlatives like "greatest humanitarian" come cheap nowadays. Heck someone probably used the term on the podium at the MTV Awards last night. However I'm pretty sure no one in attendance there had really saved more lives than any human being in the history of the world. That was Norman Borlaug.
Who was Norman Borlaug? Well may you ask, since virtually no one recognizes his name anymore. Norman Borlaug was a poor Iowa farm boy who grew up during the depression. He spent his entire life finding ways to feed the world's poorest peoples. It's thanks to him that true famines don't exist on Earth anymore. Or at least not naturally-occurring famines. There are still plenty of politically-manufactured famines on Earth (Ethiopia, Durfur), but those are a topic for another day.
Borlaug is famous for developing semi-dwarf strains of wheat and rice, which increased yields six-fold. The head of the UN World Food Program remembered him as one of the great champions in the fight against hunger.