If you bought a pass to see Shakespeare scholar Marjorie Garber, cooperative biologist Bert Hölldobler, journalist Dana Canady, Anthony Bourdain or any of the fantastic presenters at the 2009 IdeaFestival, you helped fight water scarcity in India, Nigeria and China!
Seeking worthwhile projects that might demonstrate how small investments can have big outcomes, an IdeaFestival offshoot, Butterfly Capital, partnered with the Abundance Farming Project last year to help AFP distribute a starch-based organic granule to rural farmers in areas of the world that are experiencing sporadic rainfall. The material, called Zeba, can absorb hundreds of times its mass in water and then slowly release it throughout the growing season. It's so absorbent that a teaspoon will hold an entire LITER of water. More importantly, when applied around plant roots, Zeba can provide life sustaining water for crops, contribute to food security and provide extra income for families.
The mission of the Abundance Farming Project is to help these families grow their way out of poverty.
You have helped! A percentage of revenue from sold 2009 access passes was donated to the project following the festival, and Paul Osterlund recently informed IF that the funds were used to start new field trials.
The festival is currently looking for investment candidates. If you have one in mind, please tell us about it in the comments below, or reply @ideafestival on Twitter.
Wikipedia: Butterfly effect