How scientists are taking on the global food crisis

When Amrita Hazra moved to the United States from India in 2005 to start graduate school, she noticed that grocery stores were packed with products based mostly on three grains: wheat, corn and rice.

In 2011, she came to UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher in plant and microbial biology and saw that despite the drought, California farms still grew those same grains: wheat, corn and even rice.

Hazra remembered eating a wide variety of grains in her homeland, including many types of millets — gluten-free cereal grains that are drought-tolerant and highly nutritious. That gave her an idea. She started the Millet Project to introduce more people in the U.S. to the benefits of millet to help deal with drought and diversify the food supply locally and globally.

“Diversifying our food and agriculture is extremely vital today,” Hazra said. “With climate change causing a rise in temperatures and unpredictable rain patterns and disrupting current crop patterns, the Millet Project allows us to bring alternate grain crops back into the food economy.”

From diversifying food to developing new varieties to adapting crops to a changing climate, the University of California and its Global Food Initiative are working to help improve food security this World Food Day. UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources alone has collaborators in more than 130 countries working to help solve agricultural problems.

Read more at the University of California

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