As my consulting practice has become more established over the years, I've had the privilege to focus my attention on some of the most interesting and challenging issues in the food industry.
Two topics that are dear to my heart are the production of alternative proteins to address hunger and food scarcity while reducing the environmental impact of food production, and the valorization of food and agricultural wastes to recover precious nutrients from the food stream.
Here are some of the highlights of that work.
I've been accepted in the inaugural Psi Combinator, a science accelerator program for decentralized science, to develop open-source methods and protocols for converting food waste from households and retailers into higher-value agricultural products. This project came out of my fascination with the idea that certain food-grade microorganisms can transform food waste into a number of different products, including biocontrol agents, biofertilizers, and biostimulants, which can be sold by small-scale producers for revenue.
After dabbling with different strategies over the past five years, I've been able to hone in on a more concrete approach for successfully turning food waste into new agricultural materials with little hassle, which I hope to continue to explore and share through this program. Here's a more complete write-up of my thoughts on food recycling back in 2020.
Since January 2022, I have been working in partnership with The Good Food Institute to develop techno-economic models for evaluating the feasibility of using sidestreams produced as a byproduct of agricultural activity for producing alternative proteins. We've been able to identify top candidates based on economic and environmental factors, and how they can be economically reprocessed into ingredients for manufacturing plant-based analogs, fermentation media, and cell-based agricultural media.
A white paper addressed to the greater food industry and an academic research manuscript are forthcoming in time for The Good Food Conference on September 18-20th, 2023.