June 24, 2015

A Concept and a Connection

“There are still 900 million poor globally and 70% of this population lives in rural areas, the majority still relying on subsistence agriculture for survival.”

Catalyzing a Global Network to End Poverty through Inclusive Agricultural Value-chains, 2014

The idea for the Global Agriculture Summit 2016 (hosted by Dordt College and Partners Worldwide March 2-4, 2016 in Sioux Center, Iowa) started with a concept and a connection.

The concept is the responsibility and opportunity that the agriculture sector has to be an engine of flourishing for all people, locally and globally. This concept was part of a Partners Worldwide strategy paper on how to achieve a global vision of “a world without poverty where all have life and have it abundantly” through agriculture.

The connection was Kim Dooyema, a Sioux County, Iowa, native involved in the Partners Worldwide network in Mozambique, and a Dordt College alumnus and Board of Trustees member.  Kim read the strategy paper and was inspired by the potential of linking Partners Worldwide’s agricultural strategy and vision with Dordt College’s unique agricultural resources and “commitment to renewal in all areas of life–putting faith into action in our world.”

Partners Worldwide and Dordt College were already connected through their shared Christian Reformed roots and a conference they had co-sponsored on Business as a Calling in 2000. But Kim’s phone call spurred dialogue among the leadership on how the two organizations could bring their unique resources together to help catalyze their shared vision of a renewed, flourishing world through agriculture.

Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt College exists in one of the highest producing farm regions in the world (the 2.4 billion bushels of corn produced annually in Iowa make it the highest producing state in the U.S., producing more than many countries around the globe). This location and Dordt College’s mission result in a rich network of knowledge, students, and nearly 1,000 agriculture alumni, with a passion to answer God’s call in and through agriculture and agri-business.

Partners Worldwide is a dynamic Christian network that focuses on business to create flourishing economic environments in all parts of the world. Working in 26 countries and partnering with local institutions to provide training, mentoring, access to capital, and advocacy, Partners Worldwide brings a global network of 50,000+ businesses, many in the agriculture sector, as well as local institutions and mentors who share the passion for agriculture and a world renewed, “where all have life and have it abundantly.”

Dialoguing on these resources and the opportunities ahead, we landed on the Global Agriculture Summit 2016 as our first summit. The summit will be a venue where we can start to connect and link together the resources, knowledge, and passion of people of faith in the agriculture sector, from Dordt College, Partners Worldwide, and numerous others in the community of faith who share this vision.

We hope many of you will join us at this event, from those actively involved in agriculture to those still seeking their calling. Be a part of building global connections, relationships, and a community working together in agriculture for a flourishing world.