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Market vendor Blessings Katuma speaks to the Lilongwe City Council and other authorities during the Frugal Innovation Practicum presentations. Photo credit: Lizzy LaFave.

Published: Thursday, 05 Apr 2018
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Frugal Innovation Practicum students from MSU and LUANAR, in Malawi, go into Lilongwe's markets ready to learn from vendors, and treat them as experts on their businesses and the markets. Two weeks later, the students and vendors speak to local authorities about the pressing issues that constrict economic growth for vendors and hinder urban food security. The result is change for multiple parties.


Julian Ramirez-Villegas, left, with researchers in a field of cassava. Photo courtesy Ramirez-Villegas.

Published: Monday, 12 Mar 2018
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Referring to the film series starring Sylvester Stallone as a brute survivalist, researcher Julian Ramirez-Villegas joked, "cassava is the 'Rambo' of the food crops." Extremely resistant to variable climate conditions, the starchy tuber is the focus of a new simulation model that recommends best practices for the popular crop.


Hilda Tabulo sits with a child in Lilongwe's Mitundu market. Photo credit: Lizzy LaFave.

Published: Monday, 26 Feb 2018
Author: Lizzy LaFave
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Women farmers and entrepreneurs in Malawi experience more limitations than their male counterparts, researchers say. Students in the 2017 Frugal Innovation Practicum (FIP) interviewed vendors at Mitundu market to learn about issues they face that affect their businesses and ability to put food on the table.


Women in agriculture; Malawi. Photo courtesy of Dr. Nathalie Me-Nsope.

Published: Monday, 11 Dec 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Dr. Nathalie Me-Nsope, Gender Lead for MSU's Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, discusses how gender relations and analyses impact innovation efforts.


Vice chancellors, deans and other leaders from African institutions of higher education participate in design thinking workshop modeled after the Innovation Scholars Program.

Published: Monday, 20 Nov 2017
Author: Katie Deska
Department: Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Shortly after celebrating their graduation from the 15-month Innovation Scholars Program, spearheaded by Michigan State University's Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, faculty and leaders from Malawi's Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources shared what they learned with other university leaders from across the continent during a side event of the annual general meeting for Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).


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.