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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.

Making Waves

Fallon Bourgeois

 

Hana Nelson (BSc’08) has always been curious about the origins of food and invested in making ethical choices. Now, as Halifax’s only independent fishmonger, she’s connecting consumers with fresh, sustainable, locally caught seafood. In 2014, she opened her business Afishionado Fishmongers, designed to make local seafood products available to consumers, beginning with a retail stand but then switching to a weekly subscription service. Today, Afishionado has over 180 subscribers and provides seafood to over 30 restaurants. People can either buy online or pick up their weekly subscription at locations throughout the city, including at Dal, her alma mater. “I chose Dal because I knew there are many people within the Dal community who see the value in what we’re doing. It’s an incredible feeling to have coastal and international ocean experts, amongst others, purchasing our products. That means a lot to me.” This past January, the Afishionado team took it one step further—opening their own processing plant in Millbrook, NS. To learn more about Afishionado, visit: www.afishionado.ca.