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14 Creative Ways Our Youth Just Came Up With To Knock Out World Hunger

With 1 in every 8 people on Earth struggling with hunger, the world has been clamoring for solutions to help feed its burgeoning population. Scientists have come up with advanced resolutions that could help in the long run, like turning electricity into food or growing salt-tolerant rice. However, the need for ways to combat these issues today still exists. Turns out that our youth are doing a pretty great job at coming up with ideas we could start right now if we wanted.

DoSomething.org recently launched a campaign called “Feeding Better Futures,” where youth were asked to develop solutions for four different issues related to world hunger. These included food waste, access to healthy food, hunger relief, and sustainable agriculture. One of these ideas will be randomly selected, and the winner will earn a $5,000 scholarship.

So far, many intriguing possibilities have been uploaded to DoSomething’s website in the form of photos. Below are screenshots of just a few of the creative solutions our youth have come up with:

Through their photos and thoughts, today’s youth are reassuring us that the future of food is in good hands.

The contest goes through February 28th, and a winner will be chosen within a few weeks of that date. There’s also a second contest taking place for a $50,000 scholarship from General Mills, and private submissions for that competition are due March 6th.

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China Creates Rice That Grows In Salt Water, Can Feed Millions Of People

Since the mid-1970s, China has been searching for a salt-tolerant rice as concerns rose about how to feed their rapidly growing population that was already the largest in the world. Four decades later, they’ve been able to commercialize their first varieties of this salt-tolerant starch, and it could be huge for the rest of the planet as well.

salt-tolerant rice

In the past month, researchers in China have found that four different types of salt-tolerant rice were able to yield between 6.5 and 9.3 tonnes (or 6500-9300 kilograms) per hectare (10,000 square meters). That amount was significantly higher than the 4.5 tonnes researchers anticipated.

To put all this into perspective, China has about one million square kilometers, or 100 million hectares, of land with high salt and alkali amounts that this salt-tolerant rice could grow in. Cultivating just a tenth of this land would provide enough rice to feed 200 million people.

In China alone, rice production would be boosted by 20 percent. However, the rest of the world could also benefit from this rice as they search for new land to grow food in. Swaths of Asia ranging from the southern island nations to northern India and Pakistan with soil high in salt could utilize the rice to bring more food to their areas.

Additionally, China could sell off its surplus of rice that it now has to help feed the rest of the planet, providing a ubiquitous starch source to famine-stricken areas around the world.

However, it will take some time for this powerful weapon against world hunger to reach those levels and be economical enough for other countries to adopt. Currently, the rice sells for roughly $7.50 per kilogram, which is about eight times the cost of conventional rice. That cost should decrease drastically as yields scale to even higher levels, however.

Currently, China has sold six tonnes of the rice to the general public in just 4 months, with over 1,000 additional orders in place for this year’s crop. With these new, high-yielding types of salt-tolerant rice, expect that number to sharply increase in the coming years as this powerful new tool to fight hunger continues to flourish.

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Scientists Just Turned Electricity Into Food To Fight World Hunger

Photo courtesy of the Lappeenranta University of Technology.

Apparently, we can now create food out of electricity.

A team of researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have teamed up to create a bioreactor that a batch of “single-cell proteins” that can later be converted into food and animal feed.

According to VTT Principal Scientist Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, the raw materials needed for this conversion (water, microbes, and carbon dioxide) to occur are available from the air, meaning that as this technology continues to develop, we could one day be sustaining ourselves using the air we breathe.

The bioreactors utilize electricity to develop the protein, which can then be either converted into fodder used for crop production or animal field, or further zapped into a mix of protein, carbs, fats, and nucleic acids that can be a potential food source for regions of the world that suffer from famines. It’s 10 times as efficient in energy usage as the natural process of photosynthesis, meaning that LUT and VTT’s protein-zap method uses energy better than plants do.

Unfortunately, the technology will take time to become commercialized and more feasible, with some estimates saying it could take at least a decade before this hunger-saving technology is possible. But when it is ready to be unleashed onto the world, we could potentially end every single famine on the planet. What a great step forward for the future of food.

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Health News

Scientists Find A Potato That Can Grow On Mars And Fight World Hunger

Remember that scene from The Martian where Matt Damon was living off of potatoes he grew on Mars?

That actually might become a reality in the very near future (the potatoes part, that is).

Researchers at Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology planted 65 different varieties of potatoes in an emulated version of Mars’s soil to see if any could viably grow. Four were able to grow, but one thrived better than others and demonstrated a strong possibility that we could grow this potato — now dubbed the “Unique” potato — on the Red Planet.

Unlike the movie, where the potatoes were just grown in the soil, the researchers grew the potatoes initially in a controlled environment identical to that on Mars. After initial testing, they planted the potato varieties in a desert environment with a mixture of crushed rock and nutrients to see which grew best. The Unique potato stood out among the rest, according to Food Processing-Technology.

“The extraordinary efforts of the team have set the bar for extraterrestrial farming,” said NASA Ames planetary scientist Chris McKay about the project. “The idea of growing food for human colonies in space could be a reality very soon.”

Apart from the viability of potatoes on Mars, the research also had a secondary purpose: to publicize potatoes as a way to combat global hunger. Potatoes are actually a great crop to grow in harsh soils, and provide iron, vitamin C, and zinc. With global warming conditions as they are, we need some agricultural solutions, and fast.

This research means that we may have an alternative: growing potatoes in harsh, arid climates, including desert-like areas… and Mars.

Yes, potatoes on Mars may be the key to solving world hunger. It’s literally an out-of-this-world solution, but pressing times call for innovative answers.