FAO estimates that one third of the world’s food is wasted, while hundreds of millions remain hungry. We believe that governance, one of the four pillars of food security according to Feed the Future, is at the core of the issue of food waste. We want to implement a strategy that will impact the management of recycling food waste to improve the state of food insecurity all over the world. Capitalizing on growing technology and mass connectivity, our focus is to turn the problem of food waste into an opportunity to optimize accessibility and utilization of food by disadvantaged people through community-oriented programs.
We come from four countries as fundamentally different as Senegal, China, India and the United States. The extent and cause of the problem of food insecurity in these nations are different but we believe they can be taken care of by some general yet tailored solutions. As women representing Texas A&M University, we share a common goal of creating an implementable solution to food insecurity and malnutrition by combining our knowledge of environmental science, agricultural economics, engineering, and business. Aby, a national of Senegal, is a doctoral student at Texas A&M University, studying issues related to rural livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aby became aware of the intricacies of this issue during her long field seasons in several traditional fishing villages in her native Sénégal and in Mauritania. She quickly realized that food insecurity is at the core of livelihood vulnerability and that decisions made at the household level were often centered on means to secure food throughout the year especially during low “productive” seasons when accessing food tend to be most problematic. These decisions very often affect the way natural resources are being exploited. In fact, Aby understands that food insecurity is an issue that transcends all fields of rural development (i.e. environment, health, agricultural etc.); consequently every rural development researcher and practitioner from different areas of study must pay attention. Kendra is a graduate student in Agricultural Economics with an interest in natural resource management. She studied engineering, economics, and engineering management in her undergraduate work, and thus has a knowledge of business and emerging markets as well as a desire to improve efficiency in agriculture and resource management. As a former Teach for America corps member, she has studied how malnutrition and food insecurity is a barrier to success for children in the United States and beyond. She hopes to help create a solution that can affect lives for the better. Amelia is a graduate student in the Ecosystem Science & Management department, interested in ecohydrology and natural resource policy. This is a deviation from her training as an ecologist, but is a product of her experience as a researcher in Houston. She worked at the USDA-Children's Nutrition Research Center in the plant physiology group, where her group searched for the most efficient combinations of crop types to maximize growth in soil with poor fertility in Africa. Working on a joint USDA-USAID funded grant, Amelia contributed to the team with her project on K+ limitation while others in her lab and throughout the world were assembling additional pieces of the puzzle. Now she enthusiastically joins the BreakWaste team to add a different perspective to combat the global problem of food waste. Nishita is a doctoral student in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Her research interests lie in economics of climate change and food insecurity. She is trained in economics with extensive background in quantitative methods. She intends to look into the problem of sustainability and green growth and believes that it could be a potential solution to varied economic problems including food insecurity. Her focus is mostly on developing nations rife with varied economic and social problems.