Category: Health

Redeeming ourselves at the intersection of food and technology.

March 9, 2018

The Cricket On Your Plate


Some entrepreneurs are driven by quick fixes. They see financial gain all around. Others are holistic thinkers, looking to solve a problem that might persist beyond their lifetime. The cricket farmers you'll meet in this episode are trying to solve a deep problem that is likely to persist. We need to create a lot of protein.

Making edible protein consumes resources. Not only is the world population growing — the United Nations predicts there will be nine billion people on Earth by 2050 — but rising income levels mean that more people can afford meat. When the demand for protein exceeds the plant's carrying capacity, there will be an environmental crash and people will go hungry. This reasoning is a driver of the "why eat crickets" argument. Our demands for protein cannot exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity. or we are done. You might say the pathway to survival involves choosing one of two human engineering projects.

  •  Project one: convince people to eat less meat protein.
  •  Project two: convince people to eat bugs instead of cows.

Crickets provide protein efficiently, and they also might provide health benefits by providing probiotic fiber. There's a massive shift in health and nutrition science going on, a deepening understanding how the gut biome enhances overall human health. there's evidence that diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers start in the gut biome. Will that convince you to eat crickets? Cricket protein might help fight diabetes by regulating glucose. Jarrod Goldin, a co-founder of Entomo Farms, cites evidence of the health benefits of cricket protein. He also cites a story from South Korea that suggests that hospital patients who ate food fortified with cricket protein got better, faster.

Andrew Brentano, a co-founder of Tiny Farms, also interviewed in the podcast, talks about the market for cricket protein expanding from humans to dogs and cats.

In engineering, water and energy savings are the easy calculations. It's the human engineering that is hard. What will it take for you to eat a cricket even if it is unrecognizable as a bug and supplied as a powder?

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February 26, 2018

Big Green Learning Gardens with Tighe Hutchins and Kyle Kuusisto


A learning garden, as envisioned by Kimbal Musk’s Big Green initiative, is where kids can learn about their connection to real food.  

While Kimbal’s brother Elon is tunneling under LA to reinvent high-speed transportation, sending rockets into orbit to reboot commercial space travel for our time, and mass-marketing electric cars, Kimbal Musk is working with food. Over the last six years he’s started restaurants, designed vertical gardens, and developed an ambitious plan to put a thousand gardens into schools so that kids can discover their connection to food by growing it themselves.

The idea is simple: A pre-fab, modular raised-bed garden that goes in a schoolyard, with seating for thirty students who attend outdoor classes about gardening, science, nutrition, and cooking. The white polyethylene garden structure is designed to last longer than the schoolyard  it occupies. The project is called Big Green, and it includes the garden itself plus a fifteen-part lesson plan for teachers.  There are learning gardens in Chicago,  Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, with plans for more.

“When we enter a city, we enter not to built one garden, but to build a hundred gardens at a time,” Tighe Hutchins, the program director of Big Green,  said on the podcast.  She works closely with school administrations and communities to make the gardens part of student life Kyle Kuusisto, a teacher at a Memphis school, tells us what it’s like to teach physical education classes, and then transition to gardening, science, yoga and food prep classes.  

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February 16, 2018

Farm Like an Art Form with Valerie Dantoin


Valerie Dantoin is a farmer, environmentalist, and teacher. She wants us to think of farming more like an art form, less as an industrial activity. "Technology keeps fixing problems that we create," she notes. Her goal is to farm in concert with the environment, rather than in a controlling way.

As an instructor in sustainable food and agricultural systems at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, she is helping create career paths for students who want to become farmers, or become closer to the land. 

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February 6, 2018

How to Recover Millions of Dollars Worth of Food with Luis Yepiz and Eva Goulbourne


Here’s a big, scary number for you. $218 billion worth of food grown, processed, and distributed is thrown away every year. That’s one percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Break it down, and it means that each American family is throwing away about $1600 worth of food every year.

What is going on?  One in six people in Los Angeles copes with food insecurity, the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Why is the food they need tossed away?

 There are a lot of reasons. In this podcast episode, you'll meet two people are working on solutions.

Luis Yepiz is the wholesale food recovery manager for an organization called Food Forward. Food Forward started by collecting unharvested fruit from backyard orchards and distributing it to community centers. The organization has since expanded to large-scale programs to recover food at farmers markets and wholesale markets. This is food that might be blemished or hard to sell and that might be thrown away. That’s where Luis steps in. Each year, the program he runs at the Los Angeles Wholesale Market collects food valued at $13 - 15 million and distributes the produce to neighborhood residents who don’t have ready access to fresh food. 

At the time of our interivew, Eva Goulbourne was the director of business and multi-stakeholder programs for ReFED, a nonprofit committed to reducing U.S. food waste. She was working on a roadmap toward behavior change — change needed from you and me, from restaurants, and food distributors.

A large social engineering project is needed, a way to convince us to buy food more responsibly, use the food we have and don't throw away food that is perfectly good. Restaurants and distributors need a similar reframing of their supply chain.

Eva comes at this problem from the policy side, Luis from the activist side. They tell their stories in the podcast, and you'll find out what simple things you can do every day to save food.

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January 22, 2018

Making Jackson Grow in Winter with Nona Yehia


Nona Yehia is an architect, visionary, and vertical farmer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Together with her co-founder, Penny McBride, she founded Vertical Harvest. This is a farm that has transformed the growing season in Jackson - which is usually just four months long. They took a plot of land downtown — and went vertical. The site is only a tenth of an acre, but the goals are large. The project employs people with different abilities year round. 

Go to for show notes, transcripts and articles about this topic. 

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November 8, 2017

Food Activism In the Digital Age with Anna Lappé


What does a food activist do? To answer the question, you need to look no further than Anna Lappé. She is the founder and director of Real Food Media, a collaborative initiative that catalyzes creative storytelling and media about food, farming, and sustainability. “We work with partners across the country to really elevate the solutions that we find out there that are really transforming the food system toward greater sustainability and equity, and then we help people understand what are the real impacts that we have to worry about it, about our current foods just don't why we need such transformation” she says.

In this episode, she discusses why the food choices that are good for your body are also good for the planet, why consumer demand for meat is constructed, and why cooking a good meal at home is a good idea.

Some of the food activists we are interviewing on this podcast are looking to tech and apps for solutions to hunger and food insecurity. Anna is looking to education and policy changes - but in ways that may surprise you.

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October 27, 2017

Saving the Future One Seed at a Time with Jere Gettle


Saving seeds might seem like a quaint pastime, but seeds carry culture and history. Civilizations live or starve depending on whether they have access to seeds. 

At age 17, Jere printed his first Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalogue. Now his company offers about 2000 varieties of vegetables and herbs, the largest selection in the US. Jere is our guest today on the podcast.  

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October 9, 2017

A Vision for Micro-Farms With Krystine McInnes


Krystine McInnes is the director, farmer, and CEO at Grown Here Farms. She’s bringing a fresh perspective to farming by creating a model for micro-farms. The usual model here in the US creates a big divide between commodity farming and smaller, organic farms. There is a “middle” and another way, and Krystine is here to tell us about it.

September 21, 2017

Food Waste Costs NYC $180M Annually - A Startup Explores Solutions


Tinia Pina is the Founder and CEO of Re-Nuble, an organics-to-energy social enterprise with the aim to redefine how waste is handled within urban communities, like New York City.