About Us
About Us

Roland Bunch, Founder and CEO

By 1976, Roland had founded and directed a program in Guatemala that is credited with creating the worldwide farmer-to-farmer movement. A study funded by USAID rated it the best of 41 exemplary development programs around the world.

In 1983, Roland wrote Two Ears of Corn on the design and management of agricultural development programs for smallholder farmers. Published in 10 languages, it is a best-seller in its field. His book Restoring the Soil, in its second edition, is the definitive work on the smallholder use of green manure/cover crops (gm/ccs).

When fertilizer prices doubled in the mid-1970s, he studied the worldwide supply and demand of petroleum, and predicted that prices would continue to rise for decades to come. Realizing that over a billion of the world’s poor were dependent on fertilizer, he began to study alternatives. Compost is too labor-intensive for use on basic grains, and smallholder farmers have too few animals to produce enough manure. In 1976, he began experimenting with gm/ccs and studying scores of them in around 50 countries.

In 2010, he was hired to visit programs in 6 African countries to advise them on improving their impact. Though the droughts were due in part to climate change, he realized that by far the most important cause was the dwindling organic matter content of the soil. Within a year, he would move to Africa to tackle the impending disaster.

In State of the World, 2011, Roland predicted that a “Great African Famine” would kill tens of millions of people if the problem were not addressed immediately. Very few people believed him then.

Roland has done consultancies on agricultural extension in over 50 nations for the Ford Foundation, Cornell University, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, 5 governments and more than 60 other NGOs. He has been nominated for the Global 500 Award, the End the Hunger Prize of the President of the United States, and the World Food Prize.

Board of Directors

Tony Rinaudo

Founder and leader of the Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration of Trees Movement across Africa. Likely the most cost-effective major development success in history, it has populated over 50 million acres of barren land with trees. This is particularly impressive since much of this was in the Sahel, one of the world’s most inhospitable environments for development.

Ademir Calegari

One of two leaders of the Conservation Agriculture with Gm/ccs movement in Brazil and Paraguay, which includes some 3 million farmers who use gm/ccs on over 60 million acres.

Joseph Mureithi

Technical Director of Agricultural Research for the government of Kenya, and co-author of Green Manure / Cover Crop Systems of Smallholder Farmers.

Ann Waters Bayer

World leader in smallholder farmer experimentation and innovation, member of the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, and co-founder and Senior Advisor of PROLINNOVA.

Sebastian Scott

Co-founder of Grassroots Trust of Zambia and one of the world’s leading researchers on gm/ccs.

Our Extended Team

Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, CARE and World Renew, among some 25 other NGOs, have worked with Better Soils, Better Lives to spread the use of gm/ccs across sub-Saharan Africa.

How do green manure/
cover crops work?

Support Us

Support Better Soils, Better Lives’ with your
tax deductible donation today.

Roland’s Latest Book

Roland Bunch’s Restoring the Soil, second edition, introduces gm/ccs and describes over 125 gm/cc systems that smallholder famers are using around the world.