August 11, 2014

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations


Jiminy Cricket! Bugs Could Be Next Food Craze
A 2013 report by the FAO that extolled insects’ potential to help stabilize the global food supply helped propel the edible-insect industry forward. American entrepreneurs believe protein-rich insects, and crickets in particular, are poised to ignite a quinoa-like food craze that will attract people following a Paleo Diet and gluten-free eaters.

Tom Osborn, Inventor of 'Green' Charcoal, Proves You’re Never Too Young to Innovate
Tom Osborn is CEO and Founder of GreenChar, is a Kenya-based social enterprise that creates charcoal briquettes from revitalized agricultural waste and are smokeless, high energy, and long lasting. GreenChar also hopes to empower youth around the globe to think critically about the needs of their communities.

Scientists Develop a Tomato Plant that Can Grow all Night
Scientists discovered a gene that would allow commercial tomato plants to tolerate 24 hours of light a day. In theory, more light exposure means more energy production for the plant, so the discovery could lead to tomato plants that yield up to 26% more tomatoes compared with plants that are given 18 hours of light in a greenhouse setting.

Using Mobile Phones to Better Understand Refugees’ Food Needs
The benefits of using mobile technology to gather information for WFP are numerous: Calling those stranded in violent areas is far less dangerous than sending employees and could save on the cost of data collection. Phones can easily and inexpensively collect information about food prices and the availability of food over time in order to provide earlier warning of crises in the making.

Milking It: Dairy Farmers in East Africa Are Earning More By Learning More
Research into volunteer farmer trainers shows how lessons from community health worker schemes have informed the effectiveness of using farmers as agents of change. Given the importance of smallholder farming in the developing world, the potential of farmer trainers is something we cannot afford to ignore.

Solar Energy: Picking Up Steam
Solar energy has many other uses beyond electricity—some of which are extremely handy in parts of the world where the sun is the only readily available source of energy. These include running desalination plants, refrigeration, sterilization, chemical purification and numerous kinds of waste treatment. So there is a big incentive to make it more efficient.


The Global Food and Agriculture Program aims to inform the development of US policy on global agricultural development and food security by raising awareness and providing resources, information, and policy analysis to the US Administration, Congress, and interested experts and organizations.

The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

Support for the Global Food and Agriculture Program is generously provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


1,000 Days Blog, 1,000 Days

Africa Can End Poverty, World Bank

Agrilinks Blog

Bread Blog, Bread for the World

Can We Feed the World Blog, Agriculture for Impact

Concern Blogs, Concern Worldwide

Institute Insights, Bread for the World Institute

End Poverty in South Asia, World Bank

Global Development Blog, Center for Global Development

The Global Food Banking Network

Harvest 2050, Global Harvest Initiative

The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, Humanitas Global Development

International Food Policy Research Institute News, IFPRI

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Blog, CIMMYT

ONE Blog, ONE Campaign

One Acre Fund Blog, One Acre Fund

Overseas Development Institute Blog, Overseas Development Institute

Oxfam America Blog, Oxfam America

Preventing Postharvest Loss, ADM Institute

Sense & Sustainability Blog, Sense & Sustainability

WFP USA Blog, World Food Program USA


| By Roger Thurow

Our New Gordian Knot

Fifty years ago Dr. Norman Borlaug recieved the Nobel Peace Prize for cutting the "Goridan knot" of population and food production. Now the planet faces another seemingly intractable problem: how to nourish the planet while preserving the planet.