About This Episode

On this very special encore presentation of Add Passion and Stir we will revisit our conversation Pierre Ferrari, the former President and CEO of Heifer International, and Matt Bell, chef and owner of South on Main restaurant in Little Rock, as they share insights about creating value in poor communities. Since the first airing of this episode, Pierre has now retired and is writing a book about ending rural hunger around the world. Ferrari speaks about the success Heifer International has had in poor agricultural communities throughout the world by driving social psychological change before anything else. “We work with communities that could almost be described as clinically depressed...the despair is so deep…they feel condemned to this situation,” he says. Heifer uses value-based training to demonstrate to people their own ability and capacity to make change. “Without that psychological shift, nothing we do, no animal, no training will actually catch hold,” he notes. Bell has first-hand knowledge of the success of this model in Arkansas. He sources his chickens from Grassroots Farm Cooperative, a cooperative of 10 formerly struggling small farms in Little Rock that was formed with the help of Heifer International to meet the demand of the growing market. “My understanding of Heifer at the time was you buy a cow and someone somewhere gets a cow. I didn’t understand this small business component. I didn’t understand it could happen in Arkansas,” says Bell.  

Resources and Mentions:

Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari

CEO Emeritus

Pierre Ferrari is the former President and CEO of Heifer International. He was born in the Belgian Congo (today the Democratic Republic of Congo) and received a master’s degree in economics from The University of Cambridge and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He joined Heifer with more than 40 years of business experience at companies like Coca-Cola USA, CARE, and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. Ferrari is writing a book about ending rural hunger around the world.

Heifer International

The mission of Heifer International is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. They empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity with an approach that is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market. When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses. The core of Heifer’s model is Passing on the Gift. This means families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities. The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance.