Tag Archives: Agriculture

Making the world less hungry through agronomy management

By Ben Muir

As part of our series, “10 ideas to make the world less hungry,” Ben Muir talks to Bruno Basso, an ecosystem scientist at Michigan State University, about using legumes as a substitute for fertilizers.

Michigan State gave Basso the ‘innovation of the year award’ in 2016 for his work on crop-plant innovation and crop-plant management. He is now working with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization on innovative ways to quantify crop production at the end of each growing season.

Basso’s idea to make the world less hungry is rooted in agronomy management.

Listen to the interview here.

And come back next week for a new idea.

Eating bugs, fencing elephants, engaging audiences

By David Poulson

This talk given at a recent workshop of the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation is notable for what it borrows.

The innovation is the use of cell phones in a way that enables African beekeepers to share data.  My favorite line comes early in the piece.

After showing an image of a western honey bee, researcher Maryann Frazier notes: “The true lifeline of this story, perhaps, especially in this initial intervention, is this fabulous little insect, one that you would not want to eat, John.”

Continue reading Eating bugs, fencing elephants, engaging audiences

Bringing Farmville to the tropics

By David Poulson

When you give a talk on science or research or just about anything, you want to establish an immediate relationship with your audience.

Find something you have in common before leading that audience into unfamiliar territory.

Here is a good example of doing just that in a  brief presentation at a recent workshop on fostering innovation at Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.

“Who here is on Facebook?” Emilia Tjernstrom immediately asks her audience. Chances are that everyone either is on Facebook or is inordinately proud of avoiding that cultural phenomenon.

Either way, Tjernstrom has us hooked as we wonder how she’ll ever link that opening to her research.

Continue reading Bringing Farmville to the tropics

Michelle Napier-Dunnings: Underserved Farmers


There are numerous challenges faced by the people who bring you your fresh produce. They have to meet rigid standards, obtain pricy certifications and work hard to gradually “move up the food chain,” by getting more land and diversifying their crops over a period of years.

Underserved farmers are those wjp are outside the typical idea of a farmer – women, veterans, minorities. As a result of who they are, they face challenges in both getting into farming and moving up in ot.

Michelle Napier-Dunnings is the executive director for Michigan Food and Farming Systems. She talked about this often unrecognized group of farmers with The Food Fix.

Listen to the podcast here.

Mosquitoes, Agriculture and Malaria


Innovations that go into improving one aspect of agriculture can have a huge impact on another.

April Frake is a PhD student in the Department of Geography at Michigan State University. She is studying how the rate of malaria in Malawi may be increasing because local farmlands are becoming more irrigated.

listen to the podcast here.