Name: Joan Baxter
Role: journalist, author, development researcher and consultant, science writer
I am a Canadian journalist and development researcher and writer, with a special interest in Africa and development issues, having lived and worked for more than 25 years on the continent. For many years, I reported for the BBC World Service (from Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso and also Cote d'Ivoire where I covered the conflict in 2002 - 2003), and have also worked for Associated Press and contributed articles and radio pieces to a wide variety of media in North America and the UK. My particular interest in sustainable land use and agro-ecological agriculture, as well as seed and food sovereignty, developed over the four years I worked as Senior Science Writer at ICRAF (now the World Agroforestry Centre, HQ in Nairobi, Kenya), visiting farms and learning from farmers and researchers in a dozen African countries. My 2000 non-fiction book about African development, politics and culture, A Serious Pair of Shoes, won the Evelyn Richardson Award for non-fiction in Canada. And my most recent book, Dust From Our Eyes - An Unblinkered Look at Africa (Wolsak & Wynn) was shortlisted for the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the United States. I hold a Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of King's College in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am on the Board of the international NGO, USC Canada / Seeds of Survival, and continue to investigate and report on key development issues affecting Africa. I am very interested in development issues, environmental sustainability in agriculture and land use, social and environmental justice, economic policies and political systems, food and seed sovereignty as well as agrobiodiversity, land and water rights, cultural change and heritage.