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Biography

Florence Reed, a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and CEO and founder of Sustainable Harvest International, is scheduled to visit Hood College Feb. 29-March 4.

She is a prize-winning thought leader, innovative practitioner and deeply engaging speaker who believes that when people work together, things can change for the better. This belief led her to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama in the early 1990s.

In 1997 Reed founded Sustainable Harvest International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with rural Central American communities to implement sustainable farming practices and preserve tropical forests. As president of the organization, Florence divides her time between mule rides to farms in Central America and cocktail parties with supporters in the United States, bringing together farmers, donors and others to create a better future.

In recent years she has enjoyed being a delegate to the Opportunity Collaboration and Environmental Laureates Convention, as well as a member of advisory committees for the National Peace Corps Association and U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. She is currently especially interested in building a global coalition of organizations promoting agro-ecology for a truly sustainable future.

Reed's community-wide talk March 1, entitled “Organic Farming to Feed the World,” will provide an overview of how common farming practices are contributing to environmental and social decay, including poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illness, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change. She will also discuss the importance of a global shift to sustainable farming practices and success stories from amongst the 2,000 Central American farms that have participated in Sustainable Harvest’s extension program. She will focus on long-term, integrative approaches that link ecosystem health, human health, societal health and a healthy planet. Reed will conclude her talk with suggestions on how people can take action on these issues, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Reed became a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow because Roger Bowen’s wife heard her give a Pecha Kucha presentation in Maine and suggested he consider her as a fellow. Roger Bowen is the program director of the visiting fellows. He thought Reed was a good fit and asked her to spend time on college campuses sharing information about the work that Sustainable Harvest International does and why they do it.

Reed lives in Surry, Maine, with her husband, Bruce Maanum, and their son, Clay, in a home they built with primarily local materials. They grow much of their own food and are close to reaching their goal of being fossil fuel independent.