Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
March 27th, 2015

Botany is an exciting field.  Plant life has been cataloged, drawn/painted/photographed, distilled, and used for both nutritional and medicinal purposes for centuries.  However, overharvesting and pollution have caused many varieties to suffer and/or become extinct.  Among our goals to save the planet, plant life takes a high priority.

Read about studies taking place in South Africa to capitalize on the health-giving properties of indigenous plants.  This research could bring about economic as well as life-saving benefits!

SceletiumScientists break


botanical boundaries


And make a visit to the website for Stellenbosch University, where this research is taking place.



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This story featured in Smithsonian almost brought actual tears to my eyes.  While a chocolate flavor crisis is not at the top of most peoples’ minds, my love of that particular food-stuff is unquenchable. Sooo – I thought I’d share this article, as well as links to some of the organizations that are working to keep chocolate chocolatey.

We’ve done a LOT of tinkering with food – chemicals, cloning, grain-free, organic, gluten-free, etc., etc.  Undeniably, food shortages remain a CONSTANT source of concern world-wide.  “Waste not, want not” are words to live by – but, if foods become “Taste not”, will that lead to ‘want not’, too? That’s the concern of food manufacturers…

What cookery wizardry can you add to the recipe?  If you can bring out some new technology that’s safe for the Earth and helps save the flavor of foods, you’re sure to be popular!

How to Save the Chocolate Tree

Without Sacrificing Flavor


Choco splash

Check out these programs dedicated to being “flavor savers”

Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative—a partnership between the FCIA and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Wilbert Phillips-Mora is head of the Cacao Genetic Improvement Program at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica.

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March 20th, 2015

Have you ever pondered how much waste is generated when we do our grocery shopping?  From the large plastic bags at the checkout counter (which you’ve likely replaced with a reusable alternative) to the plastic produce bags, plastic containers for bulk items, and plastic packaging for all of the processed and portion snacks we love.

Not only are we perpetuating the plastic waste, but we typically only have a choice to buy food in bulk.  For example, say you want to make a recipe for savory chicken with thyme.  Your choice is to buy a plastic container of thyme or a VERY large bunch of it – enough to make the chicken recipe for a banquet party (which goes bad before you can come up with enough recipes to use it up!).

Not only does 23% of food waste end up in our landfills, but a high percentage end up in our oceans threatening marine life.  Consumer’s packaging may be used only once, but it truly lives for ever, polluting our environment.

We need more choices when grocery shopping so we can make a difference in our destiny.

blog package free

The zero waste grocery store trend is only just starting in the U.S.; so far there is only one completely waste free store in the U.S., In.Gredients in Austin, Texas.

East Berlin introduced the no package store when Original Unverpackt opened.

It may take a cultural change for some to get over their germaphobia, but in the long run, it will greatly impact our future for the better.   Together, we can turn this tide against food waste.

Would you shop at a supermarket without packaging?

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March 6th, 2015

Katharina Unger, founder of Austrian collaborative design studio Livin, has been busy. She is one of a number of designers and startups who want to see the kitchen become more symbiotic with food production.

To help achieve this, Unger has designed Farm 432, a device that allows people to grow their own protein source at home by breeding black soldier flies – the “432” refers to the number of hours it would take 1g of fly eggs to produce 2.4kg of larvae protein (equivalent to £22 worth of minced lamb from your average London butcher).

blog flies

“Insects can totally disrupt the way we currently produce food”, says Unger. “I wanted to enable people to take advantage of this and independently produce their own food at home. I think part of our future food production lies in decentralised systems.”

And, in collaboration with Utrecht University, Katharina Unger has developed the Fungi Mutarium, a prototype to grow fungi food from plastic waste, not to mention accompanying fungi cutlery.

So how does the Fungi Mutarium work? At its most simple, bits of plastic are placed into egg-shaped containers made from agar, the fungi is inserted and consumes the plastic, and the result is edible mushroom material.

This is one enterprising woman – she has launched her business around the most unlikely of processes.  Do you have any great new ideas to launch yours?

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Bio-bean is launching it’s cradle-to-cradle business model which uses waste product and turns it into something of value.

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Bio-bean is applying green technology into a growing industry.  I’ve noticed that so many of these new green start ups are founded by such young entrepreneurs.

Read all about the founder, Arthur Kay’s, very interesting success story here.

What ideas are you thinking about that could be revolutionary?

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