The United Kingdom is finding creative ways to simultaneously address renewable energy needs and waste disposal. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants are utilizing chicken manure from farms and coffee grounds to create electricity. The initiatives have the added benefit of improving standards for the treatment of poultry, as well as reducing the distribution of harmful toxins from the waste.
Community leaders are working together to address the issue of food insecurity in Mansfield, caused not just by lack of access to grocery stores and fresh food sources, but also often by unemployment, high housing costs, low wages, poverty, and health care costs. The North End Local Foods Initiative is installing food gardens in these communities, creating access to fresh produce, to educational opportunities, recreational activity and more.
New Jersey legislators are introducing a series of actions that can help drastically reduce food waste and ensure more food is provided to those going hungry. The varied measures include provisions for farms where post-harvest produce is collected and donated, as well as clarifications on food labeling to help prevent confusion about expiry dates.
By 2050 the percentage of the world's population living in cities will increase to two-thirds. The environmental impact, particularly in regards to pollution and strain on resources, is already extensive.
But people around the world are implementing creative solutions to meet growing demand, while also making cities more sustainable. In Colombia, a company called Conceptos Plasticos collects recyclable plastic material, melts it down and moulds it into bricks used to build houses for the local community. Singapore too, is on the cutting edge of environmentally sustainable urban solutions including vertical farms and living buildings.
As the global population flocks to urban centers, challenges to ensuring sufficient food production and access to nutrition increase, especially with concern to poor communities. To help ensure availability of food in these neighborhoods, researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, and even corporations are looking at cities as fertile ground to grow hyperlocal produce. The BLK ProjeK’s Libertad Urban Farm in the Bronx is one example of successful urban agriculture projects that are as much about community building and economic empowerment as they are about nutrition.
While the USPS has seen a drastic decline in revenues and capacity in recent years due to growing competition from the private sector and social changes, First Class Meal is reimagining the role that this institution has to play: improving national access to healthy food. Using the existing USPS app to connect organizations and food banks that struggle to distribute donations, postal drivers out on their normal routes would pick up donations, deliver to food banks or pantries, and store food in post offices with excess capacity.
New Jersey was one of seven states chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in a pilot program for SNAP recipients, where eligible participants can use food stamps for grocery purchases online for the first time.
Regenerative farming practices such as cover crops can be environmentally friendly and financially profitable. But federal crop insurance rules and certain characteristics of the agriculture industry have prevented farmers from employing these techniques fully. However, one farmer, Gail Fuller, has been working to broaden access to such techniques.
Hospitals in the United States spend over $340 billion on health services, but with those funds they could also help neighborhoods struggling with socioeconomic issues. The Democracy Collaborative is research center that helps hospitals link up with local institutions to encourage job growth, buy regionally produced food, and reinvest back into their local economy.
Food access for low-income Americans is still a challenge across the country. Campus Kitchen Project, a national community service project that operates at 53 colleges, leverages the readily-available manpower and compassion of university and high school students to help provide meals to those in need.
New Jersey looks for those solutions being implemented successfully in other regions around the country to fight hunger in food deserts and poor neighborhoods, assessing what can be replicated in their local communities to address these issues.
In this episode of New Mexico in Focus, we examine the economic impact of medical cannabis in rural communities in our latest report for Small Towns, Big Change. Producer Sarah Gustavus also looks at the potential impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico.
For something as important as food, many communities in the West struggle. That's because agricultural systems aren't really geared for the communities that harvest the food. In this episode of West Obsessed, the writers and editors of High Country News discuss some of the most interesting challenges — and solutions — to rural food supply.
Columbia University has a food insecurity problem among its students. New York University has developed an app called Share Meals that pairs needy recipients with meal donors, and also encourages repeated donations through the app. So far, the app has enabled over a thousand meal donations. Columbia now is looking to collaborate on the Share Meals app to improve its food security.
Climate change causes intense weather, such as droughts and hurricanes, which damage vegetation and cultivation of farming practices. In addition, farming can contribute to climate change because it causes greenhouse gas emissions. The Malawi Farmer to Farmer Agroecology project has offered low-cost and low-technology techniques, as well as farmer-to-farmer teaching, which has successfully diversified crops and improved food security.
Hunger is a hidden crisis in the U.S., and in places like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico - a food desert and poverty-stricken community - a few dedicated food pantries are all that stands between thousands of people and going hungry. A longstanding relationship with Farmers Markets authorized to use SNAP benefits has also allowed farmers to donate overstocked produce to those in need - though the greater battle against the poverty that causes hunger is yet to be won.
In India, the food business has lacked transparency and people have depended upon imported foods that have been chemically treated. New programs, such as Jivabhumi and Organic Mandya, connects consumers with organic farmers to receive locally-made chemically-free food. The organic food industry is expanding to offer tourists the ability to see where their food comes from in order to encourage informed consumerism.
Reunity Resources is a Santa Fe-based company that has stepped into the national arena in which many cities are contemplating what to do with the enormous problem of food waste. Some 40% of the food supply goes uneaten in the U.S. annually. Ellen Berkovitch researched this story as part of KSFR’s Solutions Journalism Network grant initiative.
Pollinators such as honeybees have been decreasing at alarming rates, resulting in poor pollination in cotton crops. The Jha Lab in Austin has discovered that by increasing land plants surrounding the cotton fields, successful pollination increases, yielding fuller crop harvests. The land plants enable nesting and provide nourishment for pollinators.
Elephants in Africa often eat a farmer’s entire crop, physical barriers don’t work, and fighting the elephants has left both people and elephants dead. After learning from Africans that Elephants don’t like bees, a researcher devised a hanging bee-hive/fence that effectively scares the elephants. The Elephants and Bees Project is helping farmers in Africa and Asia implement this solution.