The future of food
Autumn’s bounty may seem generous, but access to adequate, safely prepared food is a growing challenge worldwide.
Breeding better shellfish
As the world’s population swells past 7.5 billion, regions around the globe are turning to aquaculture as an efficient means of protein production. In Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, shellfish producers have had to adapt traditional wild harvesting operations. Molecular biologist Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark, a shellfish expert who runs the Aquaculture Genomics Lab on Dal’s Agricultural Campus, works closely with oyster growers and other shellfish farmers to use genetic technologies to come up with ways to breed larger, faster-growing varieties. “Shellfish are a very efficient way to grow protein for humans,” she says.
Freeing the seeds
Dr. Liz Fitting, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, studies the politics and culture of food in Latin America, particularly in relation to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. Her most recent research explores how activists in Colombia challenge new seed regulations and property rights that undermine the long-standing farmer practice of saving and exchanging local seed varieties, important in helping farmers better respond to the food needs of their own communities and beyond.
Targeting cookstove pollution
It’s estimated that up to a half a million people die prematurely each year from exposure to the fine particulate matter emitted by outdoor solid-fuel cookstoves that are in wide residential use in many countries from Southeast Asia to Africa. The cookstove emissions of soot and carbon dioxide also exacerbate climate change. Now, a study by University of Colorado Boulder researchers and Dr. Randall Martin’s Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group at Dal is providing surprising insight into how to best focus reduction efforts, showing that while reducing cookstove use in China and India would make the biggest impact for climate change, the largest climate and air-quality impact per cookstove would come from Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.