President Bill Clinton, Dan Glickman, José Andrés meet with MFK staff!

It’s not everyday you hear the words, “Mr. President, come here! There’s something I’d like to show you!” At Sunday’s investor event hosted by North Coast Development Corporation, that’s exactly what former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said. The president he was referring to, was former President Bill Clinton; what he wanted to show him was MFK’s life-saving foods.

“Mr. President, look at this,” he said excitedly, pointing to a sachet of MFK’s school snack. “This was funded through USDA’s McGovern-Dole project.” The secretary then turned to Jamie Rhoads, MFK’s Agriculture Specialist and me and said, “We fought hard to keep this program alive. It’s exciting to see the results of it on the ground.”

Then the president, the secretary, Jamie and I engaged in a lively discussion about the virtues of school feeding, malnutrition treatment using Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), agricultural promotion, and national production of life-saving foods. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the president demonstrated that in addition to his myriad other responsibilities he keeps up with the literature on childhood malnutrition.

“We now know that malnutrition is influenced by the microbes found in the child’s gut,” President Clinton said, referring to the most recent publications on childhood malnutrition. “The gut flora affect whether some children respond well to different treatments.”

The event brought the president and more than twenty investors to Haiti’s northern department to witness the positive changes occurring in Haiti and to look for potential investment opportunities. In attendance were representatives of Coke, Pepsi, Heineken, among others.

As if a private audience with the president wasn’t enough, celebrity chef José Andrés also added to the day. He walked up to MFK’s booth, opened a sachet of MFK’s school snack, and took a big bite. He looked up as if deep in thought, letting the taste permeate his mouth. After a few seconds he exclaimed enthusiastically, “This is the best peanut butter I’ve had in my life! It’s delicious!”

When the former President of the United States congratulates your work and a celebrity chef thinks your products taste amazing, you know you must be onto something!

“Thank you for your good work in Haiti,” the president said as he departed MFK’s booth.

A good day it was!