Managing bacterial diseases in onion

kimeangthoThe onion has been a part of the human diet for more than 7,000 years. But it’s not just for eating. Onions have been used as currency and even exchanged as a gift!

Bacterial diseases are the most significant threat to their production. Despite considerable effort to control these diseases with chemicals, farmers still lose a lot of onions.

Kim Eang Tho, a doctoral student in the department of plant, soil and microbial science at Michigan State University, is studying the source of bacterial pathogens in onions to find strategies to better manage diseases.

In a discussion with The Food Fix reporter, Ali Hussain, he first talked about the onion as a vegetable.

Listen to their interview here

Photo: Kim Eang Tho

Keeping farms alive on a budget

Mphatso presenting before crowd at google science fair. Photo: Mphatso Simbao
Mphatso presenting before crowd at google science fair. Photo: Mphatso Simbao

As Southern Africa struggles to recover from its worst drought in decades, farmers are seeing their crops destroyed due to El Nino weather changes. Famine afflicts millions of people. Without crops, farmers can’t eat. Without money, they can’t buy farming supplies.
Continue reading Keeping farms alive on a budget

Fitbit for cows to boost dairy farming

fitbit-2

Every year a trillion dollars of milk is sold worldwide.

Small farmers in many developing countries face problems with low milk production.

But an electrical engineer and innovator from Pakistan hopes to help them with a fitbit for cows. It’s called the Cowlar, a collar for cows that is equipped with sensors to monitor their health, production and even if someone is stealing them.

Umer

Umer Adnan, a graduate of electrical engineering from Arizona State University now living in Memphis, Tennessee, says his invention texts such critical information directly to farmers. The result is reduced costs, more milk and more profits.

Ali Hussain, a reporter for The Food Fix, interviewed Umer.

Listen to their interview here

Researcher unlocks plant secrets that could better feed the world

Photo: Derrick Turner, MSU Photography Services.
Brad Day in his lab. Photo: Derrick Turner, MSU Photography Services.

The world’s population grows by more than two hundred thousand daily. That’s tens of millions of people annually. To feed them, food production must nearly double by 2050.

That’s a task.

Doing that in the face of climate change and the scarcity of land and water presents one of the world’s greatest challenges. Plants are stressed by drought, disease and non-native competitors. But people need to eat, no matter where they are.

In this episode, Michigan State University researcher Brad Day describes the tools he is creating to unlock the secrets of plants to better feed the world. His research could produce more resilient, stress-tolerant crops that use water and nutrients more efficiently.

Listen to the interview here

Edamame demand could spark production in Great Lakes region

Arkansas currently grows the most commercial edamame in the U.S. Image: Pamela Reed
Arkansas currently grows the most commercial edamame in the U.S. Image: Pamela Reed

By Carin Tunney

Great Lakes farmers could cash in on edamame, but a shift from dry soybeans won’t be seamless, experts say.

Edamame is a popular vegetable at many U.S. restaurants. It’s a type of soybean that is harvested while tender.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 90 percent of soy products come from U.S. farms and more than 80-percent are grown in the Midwest. But that is mostly grain-type soybeans dried and fed to cattle or manufactured into protein sources like soy milk. Continue reading Edamame demand could spark production in Great Lakes region