Archive for Sustainable

Gardens for Health International

First of all, I cannot even express how happy this organization makes me. Like, I can’t even.

Now that we’ve established my excitement, I can tell you about the actual organization. Julie Carney co-founded Gardens for Health in 2007 with her friend Emma Clippinger. The original idea was to work with people with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda to help them grow their own food for consumption and sale. However, after two years of living and working toward this goal in Rwanda, Julie realized that they were working on the wrong problem. Malnutrition was the bigger issue in Rwanda. So Gardens for Health developed accordingly. This is a fantastic example of reframing the problem and pivoting in your idea to address the problem more effectively and be more successful in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Now Gardens for Health fights malnutrition in Rwanda by “partnering with local health centers to integrate agricultural support and comprehensive health education into the clinical treatment of malnutrition.” They work to include agriculture training for local families in the usual assistance provided by public health centers.

“Our agriculture team works to blend international innovations in sustainable agriculture with time-tested Rwandan farming practices in order to help every family with whom we work to make the most of their existing resources.

Through our work, we are changing the way that malnutrition is treated by moving away from short-term handouts and towards equipping families with the knowledge and resources to grow their own nutritious food and improve their health. We envision a future in which the key to lasting food and nutrient security for vulnerable families lies in their own backyards.”

Again, I LOVE the mission of this organization!!! This is innovation the world needs! Find out more about Gardens for Health at their website.

 

New Seed for Guatemala

Curt Bowen grew up on a small organic farm in Idaho, so he knows a thing or two about agriculture and social engagement. His first service experience in Central America was building a house for a widowed family in Nicaragua as a teenager. During this trip he realized that it was impossible to help everyone in the same way, and that the root causes of poverty need to be examined rather than simply attempting to alleviate its symptoms.

So in 2006 he started his first project in Latin America with the goal of educating locals on biodiesel technology. While he was able to open three research and training centers, Curt didn’t think he was making a big enough impact. Knowing that the majority of the world’s poor are farmers, Curt decided to use his agricultural  background to help the people of Guatemala.

Once he got to Guatemala, Curt and his partner Trinidad Recinos, who he had met during his biodiesel project, drove through the entire country to plant and harvest alongside local farmers in order to fully understand the problems and issues facing Guatemalan farmers. Then in 2010 Curt and Trinidad co-founded Semilla Nueva (New Seed) with the mission: “to develop locally-led farmer education programs that increase the income, rebuild the soils, and improve the food security of Guatemala’s rural poor.”

Semilla Nueva now develops and implements agricultural solutions through experimentation and collaboration with Guatemalan farmers. The organization’s research looks for ways to produce more food, generate more income, decrease agriculture’s negative effects, and increase nutrition for poor farmers.
A great example of the progress Semilla Nueva has made is pigeonpea. “Pigeonpea is a drought resistant bean bred to grow simultaneously with corn and other crops. It cuts fertilizer costs by fixing organic nitrogen, decreases soil compaction, provides high protein and nutrient rich food, and is open-pollinated, allowing farmers to save their own seed.” Simply giving farmers access to this seed can increase the health of the farmers’ soil, provide more nutritious food, and increase farmers’ incomes.

Although I found out about Semilla Nueva only recently, I love what this organization is doing. They are using sustainable agriculture  and advances in agricultural technologies to lift the poor out of poverty and help them thrive. Semilla Nueva is one of only a handful of organizations focused on agricultural development. They are one-of-a-kind, and I love it!

 

Revolutionizing Dinner Time – Blue Apron

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It has been another long day in the office. It is the end of the week, your fridge is empty and you haven’t eaten since that blueberry muffin and cup of coffee at noon. You weigh the options. Order in again? Maybe Chinese or pizza, maybe you muster up some energy to go to the grocery store to make an actual meal or maybe you just dare to consume that microwave meal that has been sitting in your freezer for eternity in case of an emergency. All these options are less than enticing. After all you love to cook, but grocery shopping takes way too much time out of your week.

Amidst a sea of food services Blue Apron has differentiated in an incredibly unique way,  developing a RECIPE 😉 for success for Americans who love to cook by offering them a meal kit – a big box of ingredients in exactly the right amounts and a recipe card with easy instructions on how to make the meal. All at a price of roughly $10. A gourmet meal at your fingertips for a very reasonable price.

Our mission is to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone

And that is exactly what they do. They pick the freshest, most unique ingredients on the market within a sustainable food system. Blue Apron sets the standards high for ingredients sourcing from direct relationships with farmers. The company desires to build a community of home chefs, through providing recipes that encourage home chefs to try new ingredients and cooking techniques every week, customizing the meals to the skill level of the cook.

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You can have all of these ingredients for one of these meals delivered directly to your door for just you or for your family.

Like many start-ups Blue Apron started in a with a problem that translated into an idea. In the summer of 2012, Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas, and Matt Wadiak tested the first Blue Apron recipes in their tiny New York apartments. “The goal was to make the experience of cooking with quality produce and specialty ingredients accessible to everyone, no matter where they live or how busy they are.” The first test was to family and friends, when the three entrepreneurs hand-picked the first boxes themselves and delivered them to family and friends. It was hugely successful. Now the company sends over 8 million meals per month to home chefs nationwide, with thousands of employees working in the offices around the country.

Blue Apron is not only providing a high quality service but is bringing families together through these delivered meals. The recipes are easy for kids and parents to get involved in!

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