Tag Archives: food

Fixing food labeling to end world hunger

By Max Johnston

Today’s idea to make the world less hungry is to regulate and standardize the date labels on our food.

If you wander through your local grocery store, you’re likely to see a lot of ‘labels’ with dates preceded by a warning of sorts.

“Best if used by,” this date, “sell by,” that date, “use by”…this date.

These labels can have different meanings, some are for freshness, others are for quality, but all these labels do have one thing in common: they’re confusing.

The nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that 20% of food waste that occurs at home, stems from confusion over what these labels mean.

In other words, people are throwing away good food, because they think that if it’s past the “best if used by” date, it’s spoiled. That isn’t the case.

In this episode, you’ll hear about why these labels are causing food waste, and past and future legislation to simplify food labels.

Listen here


Northern Michigan pioneers effort to reduce food waste


Emmet County’s recycling program has been recognized as one of four model programs in Michgian for having a high quality service that matches the needs of the community.

The Michigan Profile of Recycling Programs and Potential Recycling studied recycling programs across the state, concluding that the level of participation among residents and businesses is a strong social cue to encourage others to recycle. The study was done by the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments with a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality.

Under a recent law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, beginning October 1, establishments that recycle 100 tons or more per year must collect data and report their activities to the state. The law requires the Department of Environmental Quality to operate a statewide database of recycling efforts, exclusive of food waste, by the facilities, which will be published annually online. Continue reading Northern Michigan pioneers effort to reduce food waste

Rescued food feeds the poor

By Karen Hopper Usher

Trucks carrying some 40,000 tons of cherries will drop them off this month in Cadillac to fill food bank shelves in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

It’s part of a statewide effort to reduce food waste and put it to use feeding poor people.

“The state is one of the winners when hunger comes off the table,” said Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. Continue reading Rescued food feeds the poor

Cassava: the Rambo of root crops

By David Poulson

Here’s a presentation of an innovative research project that also demonstrates some strong public engagement tools. Among them:

  • Length – It comes in under three minutes yet contains a remarkable amount of information. But just because it ends there doesn’t mean that communication ends with the presentation. This is the kind of thing that could well promote continued questions and conversation.
  • Popular culture reference – You have to capture your audience’s attention before you can inform them. The speaker does this with the references to Rambo in both the title and in his first sentence after greeting us: “Let’s think for a moment about Rambo.”
  • AlliterationRambo root has a nice ring.
  • Humor – “And yes, you’re in the right room.” That sentence prompts a chuckle.
  • The turn – This is where the speaker pivots from the funny, to the substantive – aided with some simple visuals. We quickly learn the attributes of cassava – it adjusts to climate change, there is potential to increase yields, it requires minimal inputs.
  • The metaphor – What if parents had a tool to help children realize their full potential? That’s what we’re going to do with cassava.

Continue reading Cassava: the Rambo of root crops

Using bitter melon to treat diabetes


A bitter-tasting plant that looks like a cucumber with warts growing all over it might help treat the symptoms of diabetes. The bitter melon, or bitter gourd, is popularly used to treat diabetes in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

According to World Health Organization, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were caused by diabetes in 2012.

The cost of treating diabetes can add up over a lifetime, and fruits and vegetables with medicinal properties could be treatment options in low-and-middle income countries with poor access to health care.

Jose Perez researches the potential of bitter melon to treat diabetes. Jose is currently a doctoral student at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in the department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

Listen to the podcast here.