Category Archives: Urbanization

Here’s an urban farm that provides tools, vegetables, jobs and jam

Afro Jam is a revenue-producer for Detroit's Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Image: Eric Freedman
Afro Jam is a revenue-producer for Detroit’s Oakland Avenue Urban Farm. Image: Eric Freedman
Commentary

By Eric Freedman

In recent years I’ve read a lot about — and written a little about — urban farming but hadn’t put my boots on the ground at one until recently when I joined MSU faculty members and grad students on a tour of the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm in Detroit’s North End.

Continue reading Here’s an urban farm that provides tools, vegetables, jobs and jam

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Researchers study fair price shops in India

 

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By Ali Hussain

Every month millions of people below the poverty line in India make their way to fair price shops. There they can buy a ration of wheat, rice, sugar or oil at a reduced price.

A network of over 400,000 fair price shops have provided governmentally subsidized food to more than 600 million citizens.

It is the largest distribution network in the world, yet there are concerns about its efficiency.

Prashant Rajan, an assistant professor at Iowa State University, studies the effectiveness of fair price shops in the Chhattisgarh province of India. He is studying how salespeople feel about the use of debit card-like smartcards to keep track of fair price purchases. His research could help fair price shops serve people higher quality food at a lower cost.

Listen to the podcast here.

Traders push for security lighting as a key market innovation

By Rachel Linnemann

Editor’s note: Students from Michigan State University and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources are exploring frugal market innovations in Malawi. This is one of their reports.

It was the second design charrette with representatives from the markets.

Many traders were there to advocate for changes to happen at Tsoka Market. The room was full of a sense of hope but also what felt like an expectation of failure. Continue reading Traders push for security lighting as a key market innovation

Next round of innovative program gets funding from early participant

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Trish Abalo won a grant to help people in dire need in Malawi. Photo Credit: Kasey Worst

By Kasey Worst

A little funding can go a long way.

Trish Abalo won a $1,200 grant to help people in dire need overseas, and she knows exactly what she is going to do with it.

The Michigan State University senior plans to help out food vendors in Malawi through a program she helped launch last summer.

The money will fund projects to improve storage, access to electricity and other food-related problems in the markets of Lilongwe, Malawi.  Continue reading Next round of innovative program gets funding from early participant

Farmer invents air conditioner powered cold storage units

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Typically, air conditioners are not seen as a way to keep food cold enough to safely eat. But a new technology lets air conditioners provide safe and inexpensive cold food storage.  

Ron Khosla, a small farmer in upstate New York, created a technology called CoolBot that turns almost any window air conditioner into a food storage machine for about an eighth of the cost of a walk-in refrigeration unit.

The device can make the air conditioners reach the freezing point of water, and maintain these temperatures through multiple sensors.

His innovation could help reduce food waste and post harvest losses.

Listen to the podcast here.

Photo: Ron Khosla