What kind of program needs nursing, social science, political theory and agribusiness management majors?
Those fields and more are encompassed by an innovative food education program developed by Stephanie White, a researcher at Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation. She developed the Frugal Innovation Practicum after studying urban legume retailers in Malawi last year.
The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation trains students to become development workers, White said. “It seemed to me there was a forum there for students to learn.”
Women in Linthpe, Malawi, prepare a meal and process maize. Processing is undertaken collectively by children and adults. Photo: Erin Anders.
A farmer in Kandeu, Malawi, presents a particularly annoying pest of pigeon pea. The insect eats the stamen off of the pigeon pea flowers. The impact of this pest on pigeon pea crop yields is unknown. Photo: Erin Anders.
A farmer, right, describes the layout of her experimental plots to Anders and Isaac Jambo. Anders is a doctoral student in the Michigan State University Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. Jambo is an enumerator who translates and administers surveys for the study. Photo: Vicki Morrone.
A farmer harvests a field of cowpea in Golomoti, Malawi. Farmers there often plant maize and cowpea in the same field, a process called intercropping. Photo: Erin Anders.
A surveyor, left, interviews a farmer in Nsipe, Malawi, about his cropping system in a field of harvested maize. Photo: Erin Anders.
A farmer in Golomoti, Malawi, explains to a surveyor the spacing between plants in a pigeon pea plot. Knowing the spacing of these crops helps researchers understand the plant density. Photo: Erin Anders.
Grace Lega sits in one of her pigeon pea plots in Kandeu, Malawi. She has four plots, and is experimenting with different methods of growing the plant. Photo: Erin Anders.
Chawezi Theu interviews a farmer in Golomoti, Malawi, about crop and soil care for pigeon pea. Pigeon pea, seen here in bush form, is grown as a perennial and used for fuel, fodder, food and to improve soil quality. Photo: Erin Anders.
Anders shells ground nuts with farmers in Nsipe, Malawi. Photo: Isaac Jambo.
Click upper left image to start slide show.
Text: Kasey Worst
Images: Erin Anders, Vicki Morrone, Isaac Jambo
Before she left to do research for the Global Center for Food Systems Innovations in Malawi, Erin Anders’ professor told her a saying from that country:
“Maize is life.”
It is a phrase Anders said she did not understand then. But after spending May through August of 2014 in the