US Scientists Discover New Crop That Never Dies, Which Can Be The Key To Save The Planet   

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Can a cereal grain, smaller in size than even a wheat grain, save our planet? The actual truth is more fascinating than it sounds, as revealed by a group of researchers at The Land Institute in Kansas, USA. The crop, named ‘Kernza’ is a hybrid derived from wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) and was specifically developed by scientists to be the future of agriculture, in the times of drastic climate change.

Unlike any other crop in the world, Kernza is a perennial grain which need not be resown after a harvest season, as the plant regrows over and over again with its roots reaching deep beneath the ground. This helps to reduce the soil carbon emission which happens during harvesting and resowing of seeds, reports World Economic Forum.

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– Anne Frank

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The history of Kernza

The story of Kernza dates back to 1983 when scientist Wes Jackson was looking to produce perennial grain crops for human consumption. At a lecture at Oregon State University, Jackson debated that the choice of seasonal crops like wheat and rice as staple was a flawed step in the history of humanity. He reasoned that planting seeds twice a year in the same soil requires the destruction of the soil’s natural vegetation. Weeding thus affects the natural nutritional balance of the soil, requiring additional chemicals to supplement it. Tilling the soil releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the nitrogen cycles are disrupted. This, in turn, leads to infertility in the soil and erosion of the upper layers.

Working as per Jackson’s vision, scientists at Rodale Institute started researching with intermediate wheatgrass, a Eurasian variety of fodder grass. The final Kernza grain was developed by selecting the best seeds from each generation of the crop over the past four decades. The result? Kernza grain is being deemed as the answer to climate change.

What makes Kernza the best

Kernza roots reach a depth of up to 3 metres in the soil which is more than twice that of wheat. They increase the soil retention capacity and preserves the natural biome of the soil. Krenza also acts as a pump which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and preserves it in the soil as organic compounds. It also helps to trap nitrogen and prevents the leaching of harmful nitrogen compounds into water sources.

The present variety of Kernza grain is one-fifth of the size of wheat grain. The researchers at Land Institute are trying to develop high-yielding varieties of the grain, which would make it more appealing to the farmers and spread its popularity among people. Although, it might be another decade before we see Kernza hitting the market on a widespread scale.

The present and future of Kernza

At present, Kernza is being grown in a limited area of 500 hectares in the prairies of Kansas. Recently, US food corporate General Mills marketed a breakfast cereal prepared from Kernza. They are also providing funding to Land Institute for large-scale cultivation of Kernza. Another international company has brewed a new type of beer from Kernza. Many food hubs in the USA are also making pasta, bread, pizza from Kernza flour and the feedback from the consumers is quite positive.

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‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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It's not how much we give
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- Mother Theresa Quote
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