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3D Food Printers Backed by NASA Could End World Hunger

Imagine sitting at your computer telling a program what you want to eat and how many calories you want your meal to have, then hitting print and feasting on a pizza from your 3D printer. It’s not one of Willy Wonka’s prototypes, but a legitimate concept being developed by mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor and NASA.

nasa 3d food printer

Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, was recently awarded a six-month, $125,000 grant to develop the sci-fi printer, which could help eliminate food waste and worldwide hunger. The new technology could also help provide a sustainable food source for lengthy space missions, as the printer’s ingredients will have a shelf life of up to 30 years. It works by synthesizing a meal one layer at a time, using proteins, carbohydrates, oils, water, and powdered foodstuff.

Mechanically engineered food seems like a counterintuitive concept considering the prevalence of foodies and food porn, but Contractor thinks we need to change our perception of what we see as food. Experts agree the earth’s population will reach full capacity toward the end of this century, topping off at a standing room only 12 billion people. “I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” said Contractor.
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Sweet Potatoes Are Saving Lives – Will You Help?

Food is the one thing that always unites us – be it a celebration, a mourning, or charitable cause. Today, One.org is using food to unite the blogging community to help a cause we should all be hungry to fight – malnutrition. They’ve banded 25 food bloggers to share the sweet potato love today, and in doing so, help raise awareness of chronic malnutrition, which they say is, “a hidden killer of nearly 2 million children around the world.”

It’s something that mothers around the globe face for their children. We tend to immediately think of poor, underdeveloped countries – those scenes are stark and real and very much deserving of our efforts. It’s very much a domestic issue, too, but one we think isn’t possible right here in our own neighborhoods.

According to CharitySub.org, which made hunger its charitable focus last winter, one in seven American homes is considered food insecure, with one in four children living in food insecure homes.

One.org thinks we can reverse this trend with one little super food - the sweet potato. “We’re on a mission to make the sweet potato famous. Why? Because it packs a huge vitamin A punch, and it’s saving lives in Africa today.”
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Donate Healthy Items to the 2012 National Letter Carrier Food Drive on Saturday, May 12

The National Letter Carrier Food Drive is the largest single-day food drive in the U.S., and it’s taking place on doorsteps across the country this Saturday, May 12.

This marks the food drive’s 20th anniversary of helping millions of American families in need with the help of thousands of local letter carriers.

The National Association of Letter Carrier’s Stamp Out Hunger President, Fredrick Rolando, says the need in 2012 is particularly staggering.

“Sixteen percent of all Americans are at risk of hunger – uncertain where their next meal may be coming from. That includes 1 in 5 children under the age of 18, plus 4 million seniors who are forced everyday to choose between paying a utility bill and buying food,” he said.

Rolando reported that last year, despite many obstacles, letter carriers were able to collect more than 70 million pounds of food, raising the total amount of donations picked up over the history of the food drive to more than 1.1 billion pounds.
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Down Economy Forces Some Schools to Feed Kids Supper

When I was younger and living in New Mexico with my parents and older sister, we were by no means a rich family.

Of the many things I don’t remember about my time there as a 3-8 year old, one thing I do have a vivid memory of is walking down to a nearby park with my mom and sister to get a free lunch that was provided to families in the neighborhood who were going through particularly difficult financial times.

We weren’t starving, but the lunch certainly helped. And while some view programs like this is a handout, that isn’t always the case as they can be a great benefit to communities. Although not everyone agrees, this seems to be the case with a recent trend in schools helping out struggling families by feeding children an extra meal before sending them home for the day.

In light of the economic downturn, there have been a number of schools that have begun serving students supper in addition to the breakfast and lunch they’re already being provided during a typical day at school.
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Sesame Street Takes On Food Insecurity with New Muppet Lily

On Sunday, October 9th, you and your family can watch a Sesame Street one-hour primetime special on PBC titled Growing Hope Against Hunger with country singer Brad Paisley and a brand new Muppet named Lily.

Lily was designed to be as human as possible, in both appearance and mannerisms, to represent the more than 16 million children in the United States that are “food insecure,” a term used to describe those who have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious foods. Lily was designed for this special, and there are not currently any plans for her to become a more permanent member of the Sesame Street cast.

In addition to Paisley and Lily, Growing Hope Against Hunger will include many of your Sesame Street favorites such as Elmo, and documentary-like vignettes starring real children who have experienced hunger.
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