Convention explores new frontiers for the needy
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) ended a difficult financial year in the black, and helped “almost 2.8 million families to live healthier, happier lives through 120 partnerships in 44 countries,” reported MEDA president Allan Sauder, at the annual Business as Calling convention in San Jose, Cal., Nov. 5–8. The convention, themed New Frontiers: New Solutions, examined an array of new business frontiers ranging from green technology and social entrepreneurship to immigration issues and investing for the poor. Helen Loftin, director of MEDA’s Pakistan projects, advocated helping poor women in the world’s most volatile areas as a form of “Mennonite counterinsurgency” with a “peace dividend of its own.” Stephen Kreider Yoder, San Francisco bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, highlighted the neglect of technological innovation to serve the poor. Len Penner, president of Cargill and CCMBC board member, said we should use “all the tools in the toolbox” to increase food production. Suzanne Broetje and Roger Bairstow, representatives of Broetje Orchards in Washington, said servanthood, environmental concern, and employee care are good business practices.