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Sustainable Harvest founder Florence Reed to share mission in Feb. 13 Whitworth Great Decisions lecture

January 9, 2014
Wilson Fellow fights poverty, champions environment

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Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International founder and president and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, will give the first lecture of Whitworth’s 57th annual Great Decisions Lecture Series Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre of Whitworth’s Weyerhaeuser Hall. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (509) 777-3834.

Reed’s lecture, “Feeding the Planet and its People: Sustainable Farming as Key,” will take place during a week-long residential program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions about the work that her organization is doing in Central America.

"A farmer in a remote village in Honduras is providing us with organic coffee, providing winter habitat for our songbirds, stabilizing our global climate, preserving the forests that are the source of most of our medicines, creating oxygen to breathe, and protecting the coral reefs from siltation as a result of deforestation,” Reed says. “So if a poor farmer in Honduras can do all this for us, what can we do for him?"

Reed founded SHI in 1997 to provide farming families in Honduras, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua with training and tools to preserve the Earth’s tropical forests and to overcome poverty. To date, SHI has worked with 2,200 families to save 70,000 acres of tropical forest from deforestation; the organization and its member families have converted 14,000 acres to sustainable farmland and have planted 2.8 million trees. In 2012, Reed was given the National Peace Corps Association’s Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service.

“She is an inspiring example of a person who has lived out twin commitments to promoting conservation and addressing global poverty,” says Associate Vice President for Faculty Development and Scholarship Kathy Storm. “For all of us who want to find ways to make a difference for good in the world, she offers an impressive and informative example. Given Whitworth’s history of involvement in global, and especially Central American, studies, and the university’s commitment to justice through service, this is an important opportunity for all of us.”

For 35 years, the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows Program has brought prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders, and other nonacademic professionals to campuses across the United States for substantive dialogue with students and faculty members. Through week-long residential programs, Wilson Fellows create better understanding and new connections between the academic and nonacademic worlds.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Stephanee Newman, program assistant for political science, Whitworth University (509) 777-3834 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or