August 17, 2015

Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations

Photo Credit: Kelvin Owino/One Acre Fund

How Africa Is Ramping up Efforts to Fight Malnutrition
In Africa, government action can help shape nutrition policies to promote nutritious foods for the population, and at the same time, effectively engage other stakeholders. Ethiopia is stepping up its fight against malnutrition, and the government of Tanzania is also taking the lead in this fight. It is impressive to see these African governments leading by example, but we need to keep momentum going. Leveraging these efforts, in order to stimulate commitment from more governments will be essential if we are really serious and committed on the global platform to reach the upcoming sustainable development goals and to keep nutrition high on the development agenda now and in the future.

Underwater Agriculture: The Scuba Divers Growing Crops in Bubbles under the Sea
Imagine sailing out to sea to tend to your garden underwater. Or envision a world where large scale farming could be moved into the depths of the ocean. In a project dubbed Nemo’s Garden, a team of engineers at Ocean Reef Group, a family-run scuba diving business, are currently experimenting with such ideas. They’re trialing an alternative agricultural method which involves growing terrestrial crops in the sea. They think their underwater “biospheres”— soft plastic bubbles filled with air—could eventually provide the key to sustainably cultivating crops.
Protein Goes Green: Can Algae Become The Next Soy?
Could the next big thing in alternative proteins be a something tiny and green? Several companies see a bright future for plant protein, and for microalgae in particular. But whether this attractive protein source can muscle out a place for itself against heavyweights like soy and pea is an open question. While soy has been the alternative protein of choice for years, up-and-coming companies like Hampton Creek are using pea protein to make a substitute for eggs and mayonnaise, and are attracting high-powered investors. Will microalgae companies be able to follow suit?
To Cut Food Waste, Spain's Solidarity Fridge Supplies Endless Leftovers
The Solidarity Fridge is a pioneering project in the Basque town of Galdakao, Spain, population about 30,000. The goal is to avoid wasting perfectly good food and groceries. In April, the town established Spain's first communal refrigerator. It sits on a city sidewalk, and anyone can deposit food inside or help themselves. There are rules: no raw meat, fish or eggs. Homemade food must be labeled with a date and thrown out after four days. But volunteers who clean out the fridge say nothing lasts that long.


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 Janet Fierro

Guest Commentary - Rural Niger Women find Opportunity and Hope through Innovative Business Model

When researchers set out to find natural ways to manage a crop-destroying pest in sub-Saharan Africa cowpea fields they knew the results could have significant positive impact on smallholder farmers. What they may not have expected was the significance of the cottage industry it inspired and the entrepreneurial spirit of the rural women of Niger who led it.