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Members of the Tsoka market committee gather with two former Frugal Innovation Practicum participants.

Published: Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017
Author: Lizzy LaFave
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Spartans pursuing degrees in engineering, public health, agricultural economics, and other fields are gearing up for two weeks of action research in Malawi, the "Warm Heart of Africa." The hands-on work is a key part of the third annual Frugal Innovation Practicum, offered by the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, and gives students the opportunity to apply what they've learned about solving food systems challenges.


Two students, from MSU and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, conduct research in a food market.

Published: Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017
Author: Katherine Laurel Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Support student-driven innovation and advance urban food security in Malawi. The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation launched a CrowdPower campaign to improve the working conditions in two of Lilongwe's open-air food markets. All donations will be used to implement student-advised innovation plans, created after hands-on field research during the annual Frugal Innovation Practicum this August. Help GCFSI raise $2,500 by July 17, 2017!


Tanzanian women participate in capacity-building workshop. Photo courtesy Channa Prakash.

Published: Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Introduced to Sub-Saharan Africa as a crop that could alleviate vitamin A deficiency, the orange-fleshed sweet potato is a biofortified intervention that offers nutritional value and economic opportunity. With funding from the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, researchers trained 200 Tanzanian women in food processing, financial management and other skills needed to launch business ventures involving the particular sweet potato variety.


Joe Messina

Published: Monday, 01 May 2017
Author: GCFSI
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

When geographer Joe Messina first analyzed satellite images of Malawi farm fields, he figured he had made a mistake. Almost everywhere he looked in the East African nation he found maize harvest declines over the previous decade. But this was the site of the Malawi Miracle, a fertilizer subsidy program so successful it was used to justify similar efforts elsewhere. Messina's research indicates big decisions may be based on bad data that inaccurately target development aid.


SoilDoc researcher presents tools used to assess nutrient content and other properties of soil.

Published: Friday, 14 Apr 2017
Author: Ali Hussain
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Forward-thinking researchers Clare Sullivan and Johnson Semoka, two grantees funded through the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, are piloting a new and improved version of the mobile soil management tool known as SoilDoc, first developed through the Earth Institute (EI) at Columbia University with support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.


Grantees, facilitators, and others pose for a group photo during the 2017 Grantee Workshop, hosted by GCFSI.

Published: Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Dedicated to smoothing the bumpy road to a food secure world, nearly twenty innovators funded through MSU's Global Center for Food Systems Innovation came together on MSU's campus for a weekend workshop in March. Geared towards capacity building, the workshop brought together international researchers of diverse disciplines, familiar with different frameworks, and equipped with unique perspectives. The unifying motivation to hop a plane for chilly East Lansing? Food security.


Project team operates slurry separation system near Kampala, Uganda.

Published: Monday, 27 Mar 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

When properly processed, decomposing human and animal waste has the power to change lives. While it might sound – and smell – funny, the power of poop lies in biogas, a renewable energy source produced during anaerobic digestion, or the breakdown of waste. Sped up through a system of digesters, the process yields a gas of about 60 percent methane that can be used for cooking, refrigeration, and other basic needs.


Urban market in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Published: Thursday, 16 Mar 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

MSU's Global Center for Food Systems Innovation is now accepting applications for the third annual Frugal Innovation Practicum, an experiential, service-learning opportunity offered June 25 - August 24, 2017. The practicum is open to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in diverse disciplines and will provide students with a deeper understanding of food environments in urban Africa.


Benjamin Muli, of South Eastern Kenya University, enjoys freshly harvested honey with fellow researcher. Photo credit: Maryann Frazier

Published: Friday, 10 Mar 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

In its 2009 National Beekeeping Policy, the Kenyan government estimated that the nation is producing only a mere 15 percent of available honey, and harvesting just over one percent of potential beeswax. To help beekeepers get more out of the hives, a group of seven researchers launched a grassroots-style, cell phone-based, data collection initiative aimed at identifying best management practices and most productive landscapes for honey bees.


A team in Uganda works to level the field in preparation for an irrigation system. Photo courtesy of Abraham Salomon.

Published: Friday, 03 Mar 2017
Author: Lizzy LaFave
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Irrigation is a high-priority issue in the largely rain-fed agricultural communities of Uganda. Without it, farmers struggle to adapt to tough growing conditions, from severe drought to disastrous flooding. However necessary, upfront system costs and top-down approaches have left many valuable crop plots at the whim of the weather.