Wealthy Western idealists can afford organic pesto from Whole Foods. Mathiang Nyachieng Tabisa, a refugee from Darfur, cannot. Nor can Amina Mohamed Yusuf, a young mother who walked 360 kilometers from Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya.

They are just two of many hungry but hopeful people beautifully depicted in a new book titled Fragile: The human condition, by Howard G. Buffett, published with support from National Geographic Missions.

The thick, coffee-table style book has the heft of a Midwestern Thanksgiving dinner, but is filled with strikingly beautiful, if poignant photos depicting poverty, hunger and conflict around the world, contrasted with the abundance of agricultural production and affordable food in developed countries.

The author, who farms in Illinois, includes a chapter titled “Seeds of change,” outlining how development and transfer of agricultural technology can alleviate hunger, but also stressing that production systems must fit local cultures and environments to succeed.  

Sales of the book help support National Geographic Missions and the Howard K. Buffett Foundation, focused on agricultural programs, water development and nutrition in impoverished communities.

“There are sad pictures here, but look closely at the people in them,” writes singer and philanthropist Shakira Mebarak, in her forward to the book. “You will see their value, their strength and their beauty. See them the way Howard has seen them and find your own path to help.”

Read more and preview pictures from Fragile: The human condition online,