Situated along the Principal Riverwalk in downtown Des Moines, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates housed in the former Central Library building was constructed in 1903 as part of the City Beautiful movement. The building honors the visions of both Des Moines businessman John Ruan and Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and founded the World Food Prize.
Ruan envisioned Des Moines as the "food capital of the world," and his endowment of the World Food Prize in 1990 eventually led to a $30 million building renovation, which was completed in 2011 in time for the 25th anniversary of the World Food Prize. A portion of the funding was devoted to commissioning artwork from artists around the world, as well as restoring the original staircase to the east entrance and erecting statues to both John Ruan and Norman Borlaug.
The prize itself is the highest international honor recognizing – without regard to race, nationality, religion, or political beliefs – the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.
Today, the Hall of Laureates serves as a museum to recognize the importance of food sustainability and the fight against hunger. Featuring stunning artwork alongside interactive displays on hunger and food security, the museum is a popular location for events, conferences, and weddings.
Tune into the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates facebook page on Sundays to see items from the World Food Prize Foundation Archive.