Off to Africa!

Hi All.  John here.  Helen Greenberg, EPN Director of Operations, and I are leaving for Niger on January 14th for a 10-day trip to continue scaling Farmers of the Future.  We’ll be joined by Robin Mednick, president of Pencils for Kids, the wonderful Canadian NGO that has co-funded the project with us for the last 9 years. 

Working closely with our Nigerien partner LIBO, we’ve organized an ambitious agenda around opening new Farmers of the Future sites, furthering plans for the Dov Pasternak Horticultural Training Center, and exploring opportunities with major international funders like the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Along the way, we’ll visit current and prospective sites and continue building support for the program at senior levels of government.  Should be a great trip!

We’ll share results in future posts so stay tuned.


See the beautiful gardens of Izawitan!

In 2017, Farmers of the Future received a major grant from USAID. This infusion of funds allowed us to double the footprint of the program, expanding to 5 new sites and 12 new women's associations. The women are putting the new farming techniques learned from FOF training to good use, resulting in lush gardens, high productivity, and the ability to earn a living wage. Now they are able to support their families in a way that was not previously possible.

Beautiful flourishing gardens

Beautiful flourishing gardens

Proud farmer

Proud farmer

John Craig visits Toronto

John Craig, Eliminate Poverty NOW's president and founder, recently visited Toronto, Canada. He was graciously hosted by Robin Mednick the President and Executive Director of Pencils4Kids, our charity partner for Farmers of the Future in Niger. Click here to check out the good work they are also doing.

John and Robin attended  meetings with key donors and P4K board members. They were heartily welcomed by all.

One of the evenings John spoke to a gathering of folks interested in hearing all about Farmers of the Future. He talked about the strides that Eliminate Poverty NOW and Pencils4Kids are making in cooperation with LIBO (a local to Niger NGO) working mostly with women and girls. They are being taught to farm their own land to evolve from subsistence farmers to profitable business people.


Robin in Circle.jpeg

Robin Mednick 


President and Executive Director 



John Craig

Founder and President

Eliminate Poverty NOW

Dedication to the late Dov Pasternak

Recently, Eliminate Poverty NOW's president, John Craig, spoke at a parlor meeting dedicated to the life and legacy of the late Dov Pasternak, Farmers of the Future visionary. He talked of Dov's dedication to improving the lives of so many in Niger - changing their futures by teaching them to approach farming as a business. Watch the video below to hear in his own words how Farmers of the Future began in Niger.  The video was shot in 2014 during Farmers of the Future's pilot phase.  Today we are in 18 sites and looking to double again in the next 2-3 years as we begin to scale the program.

Sad News - Dov Pasternak passed away

Dov Pasternak, the father of Farmers of the Future, died on Friday, April 27, 2018 in Israel.  His passing is a huge loss for Eliminate Poverty NOW, for Pencils for Kids, for Africa and the world.

Dov was a visionary, teacher, mentor, inspirational leader and friend.  So much of our philosophy and approach to agricultural development comes directly from him.  He devoted his life to growing crops in the most challenging places and teaching farmers to make a good living from their sweat and toil.  Dov taught us that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn, that every problem has at least 3 solutions, that with patience and perseverance almost anything is possible, and most importantly, “to never, ever give up!”

Dov was passionate, intense, and held strong opinions about things he believed in. He wanted things done right and done quickly so that progress could be made. He was also warm-hearted, funny, humble to a fault, an excellent listener, quick to forgive, and quick to change his mind when something else made more sense.  He was wise beyond words and a delight to work with.

In the last year Dov was given a lifetime achievement award for his impact on the lives of people in Africa.  His work has benefited hundreds of thousands.  He has been, and will always be, a role model for how to make a real difference in this world.  To say he will be sorely missed does not begin to capture the loss we feel.

Dov viewed Farmers of the Future as the culmination of his 50+ years of work in agricultural development.  We are committed to ensure his dream of transforming agricultural practice in Africa is realized.  We will never, ever give up!


Poster that hung in Dov's office -  the motto he lived by

Send Deserving Little Rock Scholars to University!

Little Rock Scholars have been funded to attend Secondary School and now they are graduates and some with high honors. They are on a path to a brighter future but have hit a brick wall. The cost of entry to university is $500 which they are not in position to pay. Let's help them realize their dreams of attending university and securing their futures. Any amount will help!

Click here to donate

A Major Breakthrough for Farmers of the Future!

This December, our Farmers of the Future project achieved a major breakthrough. We were invited to participate in Niger’s long-range planning conference, held every 5 years in Paris. The 2-day conference was hosted by Niger’s President and attended by over 500 people, including senior ministers of the government, heads of state from other West African countries and major players in international development.

John, Eliminate Poverty NOW’s president, was joined by Robin Mednick, President of Pencils for Kids who co-funds the program, and Hamani Djibo, President of LIBO, our local implementing partner.

The President of Niger and the Minister of Planning kicked off the meeting with the goals and priorities for the next 5 years. They include developing the rural areas of the country, increasing agricultural productivity, and empowering the forgotten half of the population – women! All are perfect fits with Farmers of the Future.

We were invited to speak at the break-out session on rural economic development. Robin presented on our behalf and the program was extremely well received. The Minister of Planning (a very impressive woman herself) has become a big supporter and we developed several promising leads during the 2 days we were there.

We will be following up on them when we visit Niger in January, so stay tuned.

Farmers of the Future is EPN’s most ambitious project, with the goal of changing the national mindset towards farming and enabling subsistence farmers to lift themselves out of poverty. In Paris, we took a giant step towards achieving that dream.

Free at last, free at last...

Eliminate Poverty NOW’s mission is to empower Africa’s extreme poor, especially women, to lift themselves out of poverty.  To truly empower people our programs must become self-sustaining.  That’s why we’re so excited by the celebration held this past week in Niger with the women participating in the Farmers of the Future program.

We first introduced FOF to 4 villages on the outskirts of Niamey, Niger’s capital.  These were the pilot sites – our learning laboratory -  where we launched and steadily refined how to teach women and students to approach farming as a business.  It represented a whole new way to think about and practice farming. 

Now after several years of providing training and technical support, these amazingly hard-working women are ready to support themselves.  And last week they celebrated becoming truly independent “Farmers of the Future!”

The women are ready to take the knowledge and experience they have gained to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs, supporting their families with a better quality of life –  better diet, access to higher education, better medical care and improved living conditions to name a few.

We wish them good luck for a bright future!