Archive for the ‘Hygiene’ Category


Nourishing the Planet TV: Using Small Businesses to Create Local Markets

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In this week’s episode, research intern Christina Wright discusses Sylvia Banda’s entrepreneurial efforts in Zambia. Since 1986, Banda has created small businesses like Sylva Professional Catering Services Limited. Her businesses have successfully created markets for local farmers and emphasized local cooking methods.


To read more about how small business are helping local communities, see: Innovation of the Week: Using Small Businesses to Create Local Markets

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Innovation of the Week: School food gardens support food security and education in the Cape Flats

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By Matt Styslinger

Southeast of central Cape Town, South Africa is a large, flat swath of land known as the Cape Flats. The area is home to around 4 million people and unemployment is around 40 percent. As many as 25 percent of students in the Cape Flats are undernourished.

SEED is working with students and teachers to establish permaculture food gardens in 21 Cape Flats schools. (Photo credit: Matt Styslinger)

South African non-profit organization School’s Environmental Education and Development (SEED) has established its Organic Classroom Programme in 21 Cape Flat schools. The project aims to improve food security in the Cape Flats by engaging students in environmental sustainability and teaching them how to practice permaculture—a holistic agriculture system that mimics relationships found in nature. SEED’s Organic Classroom Programme is a winner of the 2010 Sustainability Awards presented by Impumelelo—an independent awards program for social innovations in South Africa.

“Permaculture looks at ecological habitats and applies them to human habitats,” says SEED Permaculture Designer, Alex Kruger. Kruger says that sustainable food gardening is a starting place for students to learn about larger environmental sustainability issues. “It addresses an immediate need. And it also brings biodiversity back into these schools, which are quite barren.”



Preventing Cruelty on the Farm

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Check out this New York Time‘s on-line discussion about preventing cruelty to farm animals.

Rancher and lawyer, Nicolette Hahn-Niman, suggests five ways government can prevent abuse at factory farms. Walter Olsen from the CATO Institute and Temple Grandin,a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, also join the conversation.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Technological Advances For Life Off the Grid

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The Buckminster Fuller Challenge recognizes innovative strategies with the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems. Each year, a distinguished jury awards $100,000 to the winning strategy to support further development and implementation. In this series, we’re featuring the 21 semi-finalists currently under consideration for the 2011 award

Frontline-sms-nourishing-the-planet-agriculture-buckminster-fullerFrontlineSMS is an open-source, award winning software program that enables groups of people to instantaneously communicate with each other without internet connectivity using computer-to-cell phone text messaging. The software is particularly useful in remote areas of developing countries where internet access may be limited or non-existent. With 12.5 million users in 60 countries and 300 organizations, applications of the software range from monitoring national elections to tracking potential targets of human trafficking networks. Developer Ken Banks was named a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow in 2008, Laureate of the Tech Awards in 2009, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2010.

portable-light-buckminster-fullerThe Portable Light Project created an adaptable solar textile kit that provides decentralized power and light to communities in developing countries without access to electricity.  The 2-watt PV cell can be woven into bags, clothing, or other textiles and provides up to 14 hours of light with 5 hours of charging. An integrated USB connection makes charging devices like radios or cell phones possible, and the individually owned cells can be joined to form a larger grid that powers community-scale tasks. The non-profit partners with NGOs in Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, and Kenya.

sanergy-buckminster-fuller-challengeSanergy, a collaboration between engineers from MIT and Kenya, has developed technologies to convert human waste into biogas and fertilizer safely and efficiently, addressing the sanitation and energy problems of slums while also creating jobs and a valuable agricultural product. Their design moves human waste from a franchised network of pre-fabricated ferrocement toilets to an off-grid waste collection area using bicycle power, and on to a centralized processing facility where it is converted to electricity and fertilizer. There is a potential $72M market in Kenya where they are operating pilot projects in Kibera and Lunga Lunga slums.


Answering Nature’s Call with Agriculture

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Nourishing the Planet and State of the World 2011 were recently highlighted in the Mail & Guardian, one of South Africa’s oldest and top news sites.

The article focused on agricultural innovations that are using human waste to provide nutrients for farms, which is not only helping to fertilize crops, but also helping to improve sanitation in many African countries.

An estimated 2.6 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation services in developing countries and these same people are also suffering from food insecurity due to the lack of clean, nutrient-rich soil. But organizations, such as SOIL/SOL and Oxfam, are helping to build public toilets and waste composting sites to convert dry waste in to nutrient-rich fertilizer, turning two problems in to a solution.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Climate, Climate Change and Public Health Workshop at Johns Hopkins University

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Next week, from April 12-14th, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is hosting its “Climate, Climate Change and Public Health Workshop” in Baltimore.

GAIA_Global_Assimilation_of_Information_for_Action_Johns_Hopkins_University_JHUThe conference is part of JHU’s new initiative, Global Assimilation of Information for Action (GAIA), which is designed to focus on extreme weather events brought on by climate change and their impact on society, as well as to build connections between decision-makers and the research community. The workshop, focusing on the intersection between health and climate change, aims to bring together members of the academic, scientific, health, and grassroots activist communities to identify and prioritize research and policy needs that can help people working to address climate change and public health at the practical level. Registration is available online at the GAIA website.


State of the World 2011 Launches in Turin, Italy

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Yesterday State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet launched in Turin, Italy at the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali. Nourishing the Planet co-Project Director Danielle Nierenberg was there to discuss projects she saw on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa that are helping  alleviate poverty and hunger, while also protecting the environment. Other participants at the event included Silvia Rosa Brusin, journalist for RAI3 TG Leonardo and Mario Salomone, President of L’Istituto per l’Ambiente e l’Educazione Scholé Futuro onlus.


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To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.


Live Streaming Now: State of the World 2011 Launches in Rome

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Today State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet launches in Rome, Italy and, for those unable to attend in person, the entire event will be live streamed HERE. You can also follow the event on Twitter by checking out @avoicomunicare.


Nourishing the Planet co-Project Director Danielle Nierenberg will speak along with Gianfranco Bologna, Director of Science at WWF, Italy and Editor of the Italian edition of State of the World 2011; Sebastiano Maffetone, Dean of Political Sciences Faculty and Director of the Center for Ethic and Global Politics at LUISS University; Serena Milano, Secretary General of Slow Food International’s Foundation for Biodiversity and Director of the International Presidia Project; Gabriele Riccardi, Professor of Endocrinology at Naples University, and member of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Advisory Board; Andrea Segrè, Dean of Agricultural Sciences Faculty at Bologna University and president of Last Minute Market; and Riccardo Valentini, chairman of Global Terrestrial Observing Systems (GTOS).

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE .


Japanese Food Declared Safe, But Perception May Still Hurt Agriculture

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By Matt Styslinger

The Japanese health ministry announced on Saturday that elevated levels of radiation were detected in milk from a farm about 18 miles from the country’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Spinach grown about 90 miles away was also found to have abnormal amounts of the material, called iodine-131.


Caption: Spinach and milk from near Fukushima power plant was found with elevated levels of iodine-131.(Photo credit: Associated Press)

The power plant was badly damaged from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Northeast Japan on March 11th, and it has been leaking radioactive material as emergency crews try to prevent large-scale nuclear disaster. Tiny amounts of radiation have also been found in tap water in Maebashi, 62 miles north of Tokyo.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that the sale of all food products from Fukushima prefecture had been halted for further testing. But although the amounts of iodine-131 detected in the milk and spinach were beyond the limits set by Japanese law, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Monday that the products were safe for consumption. “It should be stressed that short-term exposure to levels of radiation seen with the contaminated spinach will pose no short-term health risk,” said WHO spokesman Peter Cordingley. “The same with the milk, it doesn’t pose a health risk.” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano claimed that if a person drank the contaminated milk every day for a year, total radiation exposure would be roughly equivalent to a single CT scan, and that a year’s consumption of the spinach in question would equal the radioactivity of one-fifth of a CT scan.

But even just the perception of contamination threatens to worsen the economic impact of the disaster to Japan’s already declining farming industry. “This will be a huge blow to dairy farms all over Fukushima,” said Yukimitsu Sato, a spokesman for a Fukushima dairy farm cooperative. Japan imports nearly 18 times more food than it exports, and if fears of contamination continue the country may become even more dependent on imports. The Tokyo Electric Power Company—in charge of the damaged nuclear plant—said that it was prepared to compensate farmers for their losses at a news conference Saturday.

To read more about disaster affecting agriculture see: Thirteen Years of Genetic Cataloguing Lost at Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank, Battling the Drought: An Interview with Philippe Conraud, Soaring Food Prices Raise Global Security Concerns, and Food Riots Return as Global Food Prices Reach Record High.

Matt Styslinger is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet Project.



In Case You Missed It: The Week in Short

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It has been a busy and productive week in Germany where we have had successful State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet launch events in both Berlin and Hamburg in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Oekom Research and Germanwatch.  Next week we will be in Italy where we will meet with government agencies, NGOs, and journalists, and participate in launch events in Rome, Turin, and Bologna.


(Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Here are some highlights from this week: This week’s episode of Nourishing the Planet TV features The Community Garden Project, an organization in Nangabo, Uganda that is partnering with the Nangabo sub-county Parents’ Association of Children with Disabilities (NAPACD) to identify and build relationships with families who have one or more children with a physical disability. The project provides the families with training and materials to cultivate household and community gardens to improve nutrition, health and livelihoods.

Check out an interview with Gordon Jenkins, the Network Engagement Manager for Slow Food USA who helped to organize the organization’s Time for Lunch campaign. Jenkins discusses the campaign he helped coordinate, along with other programs run by Slow Food USA that are helping to preserve America’s food traditions and safeguard food biodiversity.

This week’s innovation features Rain Water Concepts, an organization in India that helps farmers constructs simple and effective rainwater harvesting systems to avoid dependence on costly and wasteful external irrigation, and to conserve water in the country–where 80 percent of water resources are dedicated to  agriculture. Since being founded, Rain Water Concepts has implemented over 36,000 projects in 9 Indian states, successfully recharging 90,000 wells.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE .