The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—The country still looks wintry, though some of my daffodils and a few hyacinths are out. However, my son John's house last night was filled with flowers from the garden, which I could hardly believe since along the parkway only a few trees are beginning to show buds and only the early blossoms are in bloom.

On arriving here for the weekend I found some photographs that had been taken when I was at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. One picture shows Dr. Philip V. Cardon, FAO's director-general, pointing out to me a map on which it is shown what the various calorie intakes are of the peoples of the world. There are also a series of pictures showing the headquarters in Rome and various FAO activities through the world.

Agriculture is so basic to all countries that this specialized agency of the U.N. comes as close to the lives of the people as do the specialized agencies called the World Health Organization and the Children's Fund. The photographs sent to me show the vast variety of FAO activites which, at the request of various countries, are undertaken throughout the world.

For instance, there is one picture showing a group of Afghans watching while an FAO expert demonstrates the use of a scythe. To them this is a new implement. They customarily use a sickle for cutting field crops, whereas the scythe probably would make their harvesting of crops go almost 10 times as fast. There is another picture that shows the primitive way in which wheat is reaped in Ethiopia. And another shows two oxen drawing a very cumbersome type of wooden plow.

An agricultural extension worker at the Patzcuaro Fundamental Education Center in Mexico is shown in one picture demonstrating to some students how to rid the soil of pests. In Thailand a mother with a group of children is shown allowing some nutrition workers to examine the children, which is done for a survey to find out what changes in food need to be made to provide better nutrition for the family.

And there is a wonderful picture of a fishing boat, with a very small engine installed, making its way to new and more profitable fishing grounds, around the island of Ceylon.

Last winter, on his return to Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selassie sent me some wonderful coffee but I did not know a fact which I learned from looking at these pictures. That is that Ethiopia is the native country of the coffee tree. And FAO has been able to give advice to improve the local strains and has found types in Ethiopia that are of interest to growers in other countries.

There is one lovely picture of a baby tied by a shawl to its mother's back while she milks the cow. This is in Ecuador and the caption says that more fresh, clean milk is needed everywhere in the world to improve the health of children. There is a fine picture of fish being brought in by fishermen in Chile who are being helped by FAO to learn better methods of marketing their fish.

This organization also is trying to preserve the forest resources and to teach better and less wasteful methods of handling timber. There are pictures of Libya where a fight is being made against the spreading of the desert by planting the right kind of grass to keep the sand dunes from shifting. All in all, these pictures give one an excellent idea of the scope of work that goes on under this specialized agency.

I think it would be of interest to all of our agricultural organizations in this country to obtain the publications of FAO for circulation among their members.

(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 26, 1955

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.