Farm to Table: How Sorgho Squad Brings Sustainability Education to Life

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

In his thrilling book series Sorgho Squad, author Nate Blum takes readers on an exciting globetrotting adventure focused on sustainable farming. But beyond the riveting plot, the three-book series provides an insightful journey which tackles some of the most pressing challenges of the times while also educating and entertaining.

Farm to Table: How Sorgho Squad Brings Sustainability Education to Life

Blum's books showcase the role that climate-smart and nutritive ancient-grains play in addressing hunger, nutrition, and economic and environmental sustainability. The main characters - Professor Sorgho, his apprentice Alice Atlas, and plant geneticist Mashilla - travel to actual agricultural regions across the world grappling with challenges like drought, pests, soil depletion, and food insecurity.

Young readers get an incredibly accessible look at the science, technology, and labor behind the food on their dinner plates and renewable products in their homes. The books cover everything from food security, biodiversity, renewable products, to strategies for climate resilience.

Farm to Table: How Sorgho Squad Brings Sustainability Education to Life

Blum provided a fascinating inside look into how he brings agricultural education to life in such an engaging way for kids. He discussed the overwhelmingly enthusiastic responses he's gotten from young readers, parents, and educators about Sorgho Squad's immersive globally inclusive journey.

"Kids have told me they never realized how their choices for products made with these special grains can help to make a difference in the lives of people around the planet," said Blum. "But they love learning about it through experiencing these fun adventures with characters they can relate to."

The series was inspired by Blum's own career on the farm and working in the grain production industry. He developed a passion for bringing the importance of agriculture and sustainability to life for young readers.

The main characters Professor Sorgho and Mashilla were influenced by real-world agricultural heroes making a difference through scientific research and innovative solutions for food security. Their specialized expertise in agronomy, plant breeding, and genetics moves the gripping plot forward while teaching readers along the way.

In the action-packed first book, From the Ruins Comes Jowar!, Professor Sorgho and his apprentice Alice Atlas discover ancient clues in the ruins of an old civilization that could unlock sustainable solutions to pressing global issues like food shortages. To decipher the clues left behind, they must quickly find the lost legendary super-team known as the Sorgho Squad. This fast-paced installment draws readers into the intriguing mission.

In the second book, The Rumors are True...Introducing Mashilla!, the Sorgho Squad's global search leads them to India, where they encounter the brilliant plant geneticist Mashilla. Her critical knowledge of seed breeding and passion for developing sustainable new crops proves invaluable as their planet-saving quest continues.

In the recently released third book, The Milo Mystery, Professor Sorgho and Alice Atlas are on a race against time to find the final member of the Sorgho Squad, an expert in millet. Only by reuniting the whole ancient grain super-team can they solve the pressing agricultural riddles and help feed the world.

Farm to Table: How Sorgho Squad Brings Sustainability Education to Life

Through its riveting narrative, the Sorgho Squad series exposes the real-world benefits of sustainable heritage crops like sorghum and millet. Blum's extensive experience working with ancient grains lends authenticity to the books' themes of agricultural innovation, biodiversity, and food security. Vibrant illustrations and relatable characters make these stories wildly entertaining for kids aged 8-12 and adults alike.

For those looking to instill a curiosity and appreciation of where food comes from in the next generation, Sorgho Squad delivers an absorbing message of sustainability, camouflaged within an irresistible adventure.

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About the author
Nate Blum serves as the Chief Executive Officer of BlüMilo and Sorghum United. Sorghum United is an international NGO serving to advance education and markets development for sorghum and adjacent small grains. He is an expert on grain sorghum production and marketing, with a focus on value-added agriculture processing for sorghum-based products. 

Blum has represented Nebraska producers in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Vietnam, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Jordan, Great Britain, Scotland, Australia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Nations FAO. He has also worked with international stakeholders in regard to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, hosting an Independent Food Systems Summit (August 2021). Blum served as the Executive Director of the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board and the Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association from 2019 to 2023.

Blum served on the USDA Grains, Feed, and Oilseeds Ag Trade Advisory Committee (ATAC). The ATAC advised trade policy to the office of the US Trade Representative. He is an Alumnus of the University of Nebraska (Class of 2019), the Nebraska Leadership, Education, Agriculture, Development (LEAD) Program (Class XXXVI), and recently served as the Vice president of the Nebraska LEAD Alumni Association. 

Blum received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska. He enjoys volunteering for local non-profits and organizing community events in his free time. 

Nate Blum