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GIS, Food Waste, and Disruptive Innovation

December 2, 2016

Note: This post was created in collaboration with Natalie Surace, Marketing & Communication Program Coordinator, Golisano Institute for Sustainability

 

video screen shotFood waste is a growing obstacle for both the environment and the economy. The food production industry consumes massive amounts of natural resources and emissions from food waste in landfills now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars and trucks on the road combined. RIT researchers are addressing this challenge, which is only expected to intensify as current projections anticipate a 60-70 percent increase in global food demand by 2050. In light of the fact that 40 percent of present-day food is wasted, this economic sector will play a critically important role in the near future.

Researchers from the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) presented on the topic of food waste during the Disruptive Innovation Festival, held November 7-25. The Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) is an online, open access event that invites thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses, makers and learners to explore ideas and technologies that are changing our economy. Last year there were over 270 sessions featuring more than 500 speakers and 85,233 attendees from 181 countries.

During the DIF, GIS food waste experts released three videos to educate participants on the food waste dilemma.  Presenters included Dr. Callie Babbitt, associate professor of sustainability; Dr. Tom Trabold, associate professor and head of the sustainability department; Missy Hall and Ava Labuzetta, pollution prevention engineers for the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute; and Enid Cardinal, RIT’s senior sustainability advisor.  These videos tell the story of how RIT’s research is truly on the forefront of developing practical solutions to this massive and fast-growing sustainability challenge.  The featured work of the GIS faculty in these videos are concrete examples of innovation in action and a reflection of RIT’s deep commitment to the development of new research and tools to respond to  a rapidly changing global environment.