Writers Reading: The Green Revolution in Nepal with Jon Stewart
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Hear from local author Jon Stewart on his journeys through Nepal.
In 1969 when over half a million US troops were fighting a losing war in Vietnam, a few dozen American volunteers were winning a major victory over famine in South Asia. Two Years Behind the Plow, written by local author Jonathan Stewart, describes one Peace Corps volunteer's efforts to bring the Green Revolution to the jungled hills of Nepal. His book showcases a medieval kingdom half a century ago at the cusp of a dramatic transformation in its economy. Since then improved agricultural practices linked to rural education has dramatically transformed a rich mix of tribal cultures that share a mountainous nation that stretches from the Gangetic plain to Mt Everest. Thanks to the all but forgotten efforts of these American Peace Corps volunteers, famine that used to kill millions has been temporarily erased from the subcontinent and the life expectancy of the average Nepali has doubled.
Between 1969 and 1971 Jonathan Stewart helped bring the Green Revolution to Nepal. He spent two years living in a small Nepali village in remote jungle valley at the foot of the Himalayas. With mixed success, he demonstrated the advantages of using hybrid seed and chemicals to increase the productivity of local rice, maize and wheat crops.
The author obtained degrees in history and journalism from the University of Oregon and worked as a reporter for the Tuscola Journal in Central Illinois. He also spent over three decades working for the US Forest Service. During that time, he worked as smokejumper, volunteer coordinator, fire management officer, fire crew supervisor, and six years as the as the executive director of the Northwest Service Academy, the nation's first conservation-oriented AmeriCorps program.
Jonathan Stewart is an avid long-distance hiker, having trekked the length of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Hayduke Trail and written a book about each. He has also hiked the Pacific NW Trail, the Great Divide Trail, the Long Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Grand Enchantment Trail., the Wonderland Trail and many other trails worldwide. He has repeatedly volunteered as a crew leader for Conservation International, leading trips to Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, and currently manages his family's tree farm in NW Oregon. It is the first small woodland in the world to put under California's cap and trade initiative to fight global warming.
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