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With all the hurdles we've faced this year, there is an awful lot of negative news out there, and the first days of 2021 have offered little respite. But here at Billions Rising, bad news is just not in our wheelhouse. More to the point, there is just too much good news out there for us cover.

The people over at Vox put together a year-end look at some of the biggest breakthroughs of 2020–and why they were so important. Aside from the lightning-fast development of multiple Covid vaccines, a stupendous achievement in its own right, there were a host of other high-water marks over the course of the year: from big steps in Biotech to major advances in our understanding of poverty's causes ...

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Despite our relative wealth here in the U.S., hunger is a vexing problem in our nation even in the best of times. And with the Covid crisis surging, this year has certainly been no exception. People have been hit hard–but thankfully, Californians have responded, pulling together to make sure the neediest among us don't go without.

The sheer number of initiatives is beyond impressive: from a teenager that raised $10,000 to benefit the hungry to an Encinita farm stand offering pay-what-you-can produce to those in need, people across the Golden State have stepped up to feed their neighbors this year.

This week, Patch.com showcased the vital work being done across California, in an exhaustiv...

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Food access is something that is so fundamental, people don't generally see it until it disappears. For those in economically sound communities, it's usually taken for granted. But our inner cities historically fall short on this measure, and "food deserts"–places where it can be difficult or impossible to find any fresh food–have become an unfortunate staple of many of our urban centers.

Olympia Auset is one person who wasn't ready to settle for that. Determined to help her community do better, the Howard University graduate and native of South Central Los Angeles launched the pop-up grocery concept SÜPRMARKT back in 2016.

"I would be on the bus two hours every time I needed ...

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We've all learned a great deal over the past eight months, and there has been a sharp learning curve in one area in particular: hunger. As Chef José Andrés explains in yesterday's editorial, this is an area where improvements are far overdue.

Andrés points out that our medical system wasn't truly modernized until after the 1914 epidemic, when it became clear that the old system wasn't up to the changing needs of the nation. In order to tackle our bigger food crisis, the same comprehensive overhaul is needed, he argues: "We need to think even bigger," Andrés says. "We need food policy action across the federal government, including the departments of agriculture, st...

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When you think of the fight against poverty, a billion-dollar candy conglomerate might be the last thing that comes to mind. But as we celebrate Halloween this year, Mars, the 109-year-old privately held candy company, is actually working hard on the problem.

This isn't just good public relations, either. Grant Reid, the CEO of Mars, has made it his goal to make the company's global food-supply chain more equitable and sustainable, working with NGOs, governments and suppliers. His belief is that everyone working within Mars' supply chains--not just the employees--should earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living. And his efforts to curb destructive palm oil harvesting have reaped rea...

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To say the very least, 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year for all of us. But as the pandemic drags on, people across America are working together with compassion to solve urgent problems in our food system.

Community-based and -supported agriculture has been soaring since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and it's a more-than-welcome silver lining. Our friends at Civil Eats have collected fully 20 stories about these inspiring changes: from the farmers in Puerto Rico who are working for climate resilience and social justice to the Navajo women who are exploring ways to increase food access, together they describe a food system struggling to change for the better.

To learn more, you can read ...

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Celebrity trappings aside, Chef José Andrés considers himself, above all else, to be a cook. So after a tragic earthquake devastated Haiti, Andrés did what a cook would do: he came up with a plan, and got to work feeding the people displaced by the disaster.

That was back in 2010. Today, in the face of Covid-19, World Central Kitchen has pivoted to safely feeding people in a pandemic. And in a brilliant move intended to support restaurants by helping them to feed the hungry, they've created Restaurants For The People.

Andrés' program has hired workers in Covid-19 hotspots from NYC to the San Francisco Bay area, and identified communities that need food the most. The...

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After returning to work following the birth of her second child, Michele Liddle felt unfulfilled, and her work schedule was punishing. Liddle traveled sometimes three weeks a month, and still nursing, she was pumping breast milk to ship it home. Somehow, working while her kids slept, she managed to put together her dream company: The Perfect Granola. But Liddle's product wasn't the point: hunger was.

“We’ve never been about the granola," says Liddle. "We’re mission-first. The granola was something to sell to fuel my other ideas on how to fix hunger.”

And Liddle will evidently stop at nothing to fulfill that mission. She is part of the New York Farm-to-School Program, an...

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As a volunteer working with the Peace Corps in Rwanda, Markey Culver typically ate just one meal per day, common practice among Rwandan families. One day, Culver did something that seemed simple at the time--but it would change her life, and the lives of scores of East Africans.

To increase the calories she was taking in, Culver baked a loaf of yeast bread.

When her baking caught the interest of local women, Culver began to teach those in her community to bake bread for themselves. And when the women began giving the bread to their children, she began to realize the potential of her work to impact malnutrition. Culver was inspired, and when the women began to sell the bread at local markets, s...

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When Vandana Shiva was growing up in the wilds of the Himalaya, her father was a forest conservator, her mother a farmer. Her close relationship with nature was set early on, and her involvement with Chipko, a nonviolent org that emerged in response to large-scale deforestation in the region, soon put Shiva on the path to a career in ecology.

Today, at 66, Shiva has founded a biodiversity farm, Navdanya, as well as Earth University, a learning center that teaches students principles of biodiversity and what Shiva calls "Earth Democracy." Her commitment to farmers' rights and poison-free farming has earned Shiva a slew of awards and accolades, and she has been called an environmental hero by n...

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