The biggest period of overindulgence of the entire year is nearly behind us now. With only the New Year celebrations to go, many of us find that our jeans are fitting a little tighter and our dietary rules are getting a little lax. It’s the perfect time to take a look at what’s happening in the world of food, farming and nutrition.
Human-Powered Vending Machine
We’d all be a little better off if we were forced to confront just how many calories are in those holiday snacks we enjoy so much. Spanish inventor Pep Torres has created an extremely clever vending machine that only gives up the goods once you’ve burned calories equal to the calories in the treat. The candy inside the machine, currently on display at a shopping center in Barcelona, is free once the user hops onto the exercise bike and pedals off the calories in his chosen confection. Torres hopes to educate children and adults about the nutritional cost of empty calorie sweets; he’d like to see his machine installed in schools and metro stations.
Grocery Waste Feeds London
On December 16th, hundreds of people waited in line to eat garbage in Trafalgar Square. More accurately, they were lining up to eat a delicious, nutritious meal made entirely of food that would have otherwise been wasted by grocery stores, farmers and other food distributors. The fruits and vegetables were all perfectly safe to eat, but because they were the wrong size, shape or color, or a day beyond their “sell by” date, they couldn’t be sold. The event was meant to raise awareness of the horrifying amounts of edible food wasted every day by stores and restaurants, and to call for government regulations on retailers’ food waste.
Promiseland Livestock Loses Organic Certification
In the latest part of a long-reaching organic industry scandal, Promiseland Livestock has had its organic certification suspended for four years. While they aren’t accused of directly defrauding consumers, the organic livestock giant is accused of blocking the USDA from inspecting their facilities as well as their financial and organic records. The suspension comes as a victory for organic industry watchdog The Cornucopia Institute, which has filed complaints against Promiseland as well as many “organic” dairies and distributors.
Helping Sustain Kenya, One Backpack at a Time
A new program may help Kenyans grow their own food and maintain the delicate ecosystem in which they live. Backpack Farm provides everything a new farmer needs to start growing food, and it’s all contained within a backpack. Each pack carries drought-resistant seeds, a collapsible drip irrigation kit, plant food, mosquito pesticide, farm tools, a chemical sprayer, training manuals, and a diary for keeping track of the farm’s progress. The goal is to feed every hungry person and engender a sense of community while teaching self-reliance through farming.
Too Fat to Serve
We all know that Americans are trending more and more toward obesity every year, but what effect is that having on national security? According to a new study from Mission: Readiness, 1/3 of young Americans are too fat to serve in the military. With current troops being overextended and sent on multiple grueling deployments, the military is forced to turn down 15,000 potential new recruits every year based on their body weight.