Category Archives: Media

Rethinking food packaging to make the world less hungry

Mark Brennan

By Max Johnston

One percent of food sent abroad by USAID is lost to food spoilage and spillage because of failed packaging, according to Mark Brennan, a researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

That may sound insignificant, but it amounts to losing roughly 10,000 metric tons of food and countless dollars that could be invested in feeding hungry people.

In the first installment of the Food Fix’s new series “10 ideas to make the world less hungry,”  Brennan suggests new methods of packaging to reduce food spoilage.

“As this food kind of moves its way through the supply chain from farm to beneficiary you have instances of the bags breaking,” he said. “You have also instances of things getting wet, of insects crawling into bags.”

Listen to his idea here.

And come back every Monday for the next installment of “10 ideas to make the world less hungry.”

Zero-waste cassava processing improves nutrition, family life

Worldwide more than 800 million people consume cassava.

This project by the  Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization works to use every bit of the popular root vegetable that requires minimal rain.

Even cassava waste is used to produce bio gas to dry the plant’s flower during the night. It’s an energy source that supplements solar drying during the day.

The project benefits women  who are often responsible for growing and processing crops while caring for families.

Mobile network warns farmers of crop disasters, aids response

Researcher Ana Herrera explains a mobile technology network that helps farmers warn each other of pest and disease outbreaks and extreme weather.  The same system can deliver advice on how to handle such disasters directly to the farmers, and coordinate a response with experts in the field and government officials.

This Grameen Foundation project is supported by Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.

(A related story is here.)

Improving vegetable farming with community-driven irrigation tech in Uganda

Farmers installing an irrigation system . Photo provided by: Abraham Salomon

 

In Uganda, farmers in rain-fed agricultural communities depend on irrigation. Without irrigation, they battle with fluctuating and
unpredictable weather conditions, droughts and flooding. Crops don’t do well and yields are low.

Abraham Salomon. Photo: Lizzy LaFave

Researcher Abraham Salomon, of the University of California-Davis, is working in eastern Uganda, collaborating with local farmers, social advocates, and engineers on flexible and community-managed irrigation interventions. They’ve been installing and maintaining adaptable irrigation systems that allows tomatoes, cabbage, beans and other vegetables to thrive in the dry seasons and the unpredictable rainy seasons.

Listen to the our interview to Abraham here

Cooking, cooling and cultivating with poop

Rebecca Larson (center), with project partners near Kampala, Uganda.

Decomposing human and animal waste has the power to change lives. While it might sound – and smell – funny, the power of poop lies in biogas, a renewable energy source produced during the breakdown of waste. The process yields a gas of about 60 percent methane that can be used for cooking, refrigeration, and other basic needs. The waste itself can also be processed and applied to fields to enrich the soil and improve crop production.

Rebecca Larson. Photo by : Lizzy LaFave

That’s what waste engineer, Rebecca Larson, assistant professor professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been doing. She’s partnered with Vianney Tumwesige, CEO of Green Heat, a Ugandan energy company, teamed up on a host of projects in Kampala, Uganda that demonstrate new ways to transform waste to resource.

Listen our interview with Prof. Larson here