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50 Ways to Leave Your Food

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Did you know that nearly half the American food supply gets neglected or outright rejected?

Love Letter to Food, the latest video from MinuteEarth, laments the myriad abuses suffered by food because the convenience of wasting it outweighs the cost.

The video is based on a new issue brief by Alex Reich, a graduate research assistant at Institute on the Environment and one of the creators of MinuteEarth, and IonE director Jonathan Foley. Among other things, the brief, Food Loss and Waste in the U.S.: The Science Behind the Supply Chain, reports that roughly 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is never eaten, with much of the waste occurring when edible food is discarded at home or in restaurants and cafeterias.

MinuteEarth offers mini science lessons via YouTube to engage the general public in science and environmental issues.


 



Common Ground

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This article is part of a series of profiles of IonE resident fellows highlighting the value of their collaborations across the U of M, Minnesota and the world.

Conventional wisdom has it that farmers and conservationists don't see eye to eye. Conservationists want to see farmers plant diverse vegetation, in addition to crops like corn and soybeans, that produces ecosystem services; farmers' main priority is earning a living. Right?

"Farmers care just as much about the environment as anyone, but there are financial realities," says Nick Jordan, a resident fellow with the Institute on the Environment and an agroecology professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Tim Gieseke, a fourth-generation Minnesota farmer with a background in environmental science, explains that it's just not that easy to plant multiple crops on a landscape. "Adding crops means more work, more equipment, more time. Plus, lots of third- and fourth-generation farmers don't know how to grow crops other than the ones they've been growing," says Gieseke. "The level of expertise for the crop they know is high and the margin of error is tight. You only get one season, one chance."

How can these interests be reconciled? With the help of two cool technologies, Jordan and a cross-disciplinary team from the University of Minnesota are bringing farmers and conservationists together in an attempt to satisfy both economic and environmental bottom lines.

U of M Students Compete for Honors, Kindle Fire

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Students from across the University of Minnesota will vie for top honors in the 3rd annual Sustainability Symposium this Friday, April 11, 1:30-5:00 p.m. at Institute on the Environment.

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students from such diverse programs as civil and mechanical engineering, psychology, architecture, music, finance, chemistry, animal science and more will present past and current projects, describing how their work supports or advances sustainability goals.

This year's Sustainability Symposium kicks off with a keynote address from Chuck Bennett, former vice president of Earth & community care at Aveda Corporation. Bennett, whose career spans more than two decades of corporate citizenship advocacy, will talk about "leading from every chair," the idea that everyone--no matter their level of expertise or chosen discipline--has important contributions and must be willing to engage in developing sustainability solutions if we are to be successful.

For more information about the event, visit 

www.susteducation.umn.edu/symposium2014

Photo: poster competition, Sustainability Symposium 2013, courtesy of Madeline Geifer

Suppers Sow Inspiration for Campus Garden

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BY TASHI GURUNG & ELIZABETH TOLLEFSON
 
A series called "Garden Suppers" launched in January on the Crookston campus of the University of Minnesota that aims to sow inspiration for a campus garden. The IonE-sponsored events, featuring guest speakers and brainstorming activities, seek to engage students, faculty and community members in the project.

I Am Water

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Throw a pebble into a lake or stream and ripples will radiate out from the place of entry, breaking the inertia at the surface. Minneapolis artist Camille Gage hopes her art piece, "I AM WATER," will have a similar effect on people, catalyzing their sense of responsibility for tackling one of the biggest challenges we humans face: protecting Earth's finite water reserves.

YouTube Activism: Interstate Sustainability Leaders Summit

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BY ERIC SANNERUD

Imagine a conference experience that is about more than business card collections, fancy dinners and academic posturing. Imagine a conference experience that extends beyond the closing ceremonies to truly impact your activism.
 
That is exactly what we had in mind when we dreamed up the Interstate Sustainability Leaders Summit. ISLS would be a modern conference that develops relationships and provides tangible takeaways for grounded dreamers. 

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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