Hooray for Orange Sweet Potatoes!

When I was in Sudan, two young sisters caught my heart.  They were so sweet, laughing, and loving.  They were also blind.

“Vitamin A deficiency,” one of the workers told me.  “That’s what happens when children live on meal.”

Yes. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 43 million children under the age of 6 are vitamin A deficient.  And that leaves them vulnerable to blindness, as well as to a host of other serious health threats. Pills are available, but not enough for large areas, let alone entire countries.  A better plan is to grow vitamin A.  Especially in the form of sweet potatoes.

The best plan of all is biofortification, developed by the International Potato Center and HarvestPlus.  What it means is cross-breading locally grown sweet potatoes with deep orange versions of sweet potatoes especially rich in vitamin A.  Over time, the new locally grown sweet potato crops are able to provide enough of the necessary vitamin A to eliminate the children’s deficiency.  The new sweet potatoes are also bred to be more virus and drought resistant.

Sweet potatoes used to be known as a crop to feed the poor.  Now they are known as beautiful deep orange vegetables that save lives.  And that allow little ones to see.

“The world cares very little what you or I know, but it does care a great deal about what you or I do.”

Booker T. Washington


About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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2 Responses to Hooray for Orange Sweet Potatoes!

  1. B.J. Taylor says:

    Whoa, I did not know that! Thanks for enlightening me, Kay.
    Best of summer to you,

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