Sunday, January 14, 2024

Q&A with Nate Blum




Nate Blum is the author of the new Sorgho Squad graphic novel series for kids. He is the CEO of Sorghum United, an organization that focuses on promoting sorghum and similar grains.


Q: What inspired you to write the Sorgho Squad series?


A: I've actually wanted to write a children's series for a number of years. Sorgho Squad gave me the reason to finally put pen to paper.


This medium is a great way to introduce young people and their families to the power of these ancient heritage grains which have huge potentials for helping to tackle hunger, malnutrition, and economic and environmental sustainability in regional food systems.


Moreover, the graphic novel-style format was a natural choice given my own love of comic books.

Q:. You are the CEO of Sorghum United--what does the organization do, and how does it relate to the books?


A:  Sorghum United is a global non-governmental organization devoted to growing and connecting regional value chains which utilize sorghum and millets. This is important in many arid parts of the world where a reliance on dwindling global supplies of other cereal grains continues to threaten prosperity.


We believe that by removing obstacles to production, processing, and marketing for these grains we can facilitate local solutions and empower local leaders. This is as true in the United States as it is in say Uganda or India.


Sorghum United is a grassroots organization with hundreds of members representing all points along the value-chain for sorghum and millets. Our members are located on every continent except Antarctica. Readers can learn more at:

The books really represent one part of the mission of Sorghum United. From a markets development standpoint, the books are a part of our education and outreach efforts at Sorghum United. Consumers can't be expected to seek out products made with these healthy grains if they aren't aware that said grains even exist.


Proceeds from the Sorgho Squad help to fund our global efforts.

Q: What do you think Jordan Scribner's art adds to the books?

A: Jordan Scribner is an incredibly talented artist. I was sold on his work the moment I first saw his portfolio. His illustrations add a world-class dynamic element to the storytelling. I am looking forward to many more collaborations with Jordan.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the stories?

A: I hope both children and their parents are intrigued by the stories and want to learn more. It really wasn't that long ago that these grains were better understood in our global food systems. A matter of about six decades ago.


I hope that this reignites a passion and demand for these gluten-free and healthy grains, including in food, fuel, and fiber applications. Increased demand will allow our farmers to break out of monoculture cropping systems and diversify their operations.


Many farmers I meet with get excited for the water and soil conservation benefits that sorghum brings in rotational cropping systems, for example. But, without valuable markets, this is not an economically viable option.


Q: What are you working on now?

A: Sorghum United is entering into 2024 with a concerted effort to continue the conversations begun under the United Nations' International Year of Millets 2023. We're calling this the "IYM+1".


Look for a new podcast, new websites, virtual and in-person conference sponsorships around the world, as well as a big announcement out of our office in India in late 2024.


In regard to the Sorgho Squad.... Let's just say I've written a fourth, and the fifth and sixth books are living rent-free in my head. We are waiting to see the end-of-year numbers from the initial trilogy before pressing ahead.


Q: Anything else we should know?

A: In addition to the Sorgho Squad books, which are available for purchase on Amazon and at, there is also a set of educational posters that are great for the classroom setting.


The posters are downloadable on both of our websites: and They are free for download and loaded with additional facts regarding sorghum in food, industrial, and environmental systems.


Feel free to also join our global Whatsapp group by clicking the link on the Sorghum United website!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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