One Acre Fund gala aids African farmers

One Acre Fund gala aids African farmers

January 2, 2015

"The eighth annual One Acre Fund gala at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom attracted more than 300 guests Dec. 11. Co-founded by Andrew Youn and John Gachunga in 2006, One Acre Fund's mission is to supply small farmers in Africa with the tools and financing they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty.

The evening honored the Combe family, longtime One Acre Fund supporters, with the 2014 Farmers' Humanitarian Award. Patriarch Christopher B. Combe accepted the award along with his wife, Courtney, on behalf of their family. "This organization has directly taken more than a million people out of extreme poverty and starvation to where they can live relatively normal lives. For centuries, they've been starving," he said.

During the cocktail reception and silent auction, guests bid on native African items that included Rwandan art carvings, Senegalese woven baskets and bracelets, Ghanan ceramics and stuffed toy animals from Kenya made from local plant materials. A small tree held holiday ornaments, crafted from banana leaves by Kenyan and Ugandan artisans, that could be purchased for $20. This "banana fiber art" is a cottage industry that brings fair trade income to rural communities."

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