Join our network of non-profits, companies and individuals who believe social change can happen through design.

Become A Member

Derek White

New York, NY, United States

Web Content Manager

Member since February 07, 2008

  • seeds, fertilizer and credit

    Poverty, Communication Design

    I was in a meeting at Millennium Promise where a colleague was talking about the importance of agricultural interventions in our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. As a writer and designer, I couldn't help but to think of the parallels between agriculture and art, despite one being driven by necessity and the other, you could argue, being a decadent privilege unnecessary for survival. In particular, three words kept coming up: seeds, fertilizer and credit.

    These three things were the key ingredients to successful agriculture, stressed this colleague of mine. Of course there are other key factors, most notably water and climate, but climate is beyond human control, whereas seeds, fertilizer and credit are within our control as humans on this planet.

    Good art also requires these three same ingredients. You need the seeds to create the art (ideas and inspiration). You need fertilizer to germinate the art (tools and instruments to create your art). And you need credit. In the agriculture world, this means credit to buy fertilizer and tools, and also money to get on your feet and weather the off-season. In the writing and art world it’s the same. You need free time and a full belly to create your art. Depending on your art, you need your tools of the trade.

    I’m not sure what the parallel of climate is in the art world. Maybe it’s the artistic community in which the art can thrive? The viewers of the art? Another interesting concept talked about in this meeting was “climate insurance”. One of our agricultural interventions involves offering climate insurance to farmers to weather the seasons of drought.

    I’m not sure where I’m even going with this. These just struck me as interesting concepts. In light of the Millennium Promise design competition, perhaps this will serve as some seeds to get you going. And credit will be that award you get!

Leave a Response

Fields marked * are required

No file selected (must be a .jpg, .png or .gif image file)

Once published, you will have 15 minutes to edit this response.


Designing for the bottom billion

Contact Derek White
Millennium Promise

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design