What is the World Food Preservation Education Foundation?
The World Food Preservation Education Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt public charity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and a registered non-profit organization in the state of West Virginia.
The foundation provides scholarships and research funds to M.S. and Ph.D. candidates from developing countries in the postharvest preservation of food and develops educational materials for these students. The scholarships will be made available to students attending one of twenty eight "sister" universities that are members of the World Food Preservation Center® LLC.
Why is the foundation needed?
We invest disproportionately as a society in science that supports the production of food, while doing very little to ensure that the food we grow is consumed. Advancements in crop science have increased crop yields by 1 to 2 percent annually, while worldwide one-third of the food we grow is lost after harvest every year. With our present capabilities, we are not going to be able to meet a pending worldwide food shortage by just producing more food, but must save more of the food that we already produce.
In developing countries, as much as half of harvested food is never consumed. Lost food also wastes labor and energy; agriculture remains one of the largest contributors of the greenhouses gases which contribute to climate change. The demand for several crops is also expected to outstrip the supply in the coming decades, even when accounting for increased yields.
The foundation seeks to fund scholars who can creatively confront the challenges of food loss in developing countries, where the problem is most acute. The development of natural, low-cost, and sustainable methods to ensure that harvested food reaches the consumer—and simple technologies that can allow families to preserve more of the food they grow or purchase—have the potential to help avert future food shortages and political crises.
Who can apply for funds from the foundation?
The scholarships provided by the World Food Preservation Foundation will be available to M.S. and Ph.D. students from developing countries who attend schools affiliated with the World Food Preservation Center, LLC. A list of eligible countries by citizenship is available here. The foundation also hopes to make grants available to fund promising research projects conducted at the World Food Preservation Center's member universities.
If a student receives a scholarship, does the funding carry any obligation after graduation?
The scholarships provided by the foundation are intended to encourage young scientists to return to their home country after graduation. Developing nations stand to benefit the most from new technologies and strategies to prevent postharvest food loss, and yet many of these countries lose their most promising students of postharvest science to opportunities elsewhere.
Students who receive a scholarship will sign a contract committing to return to their native countries for a minimum of five years. If the student chooses to break this agreement, the scholarship will become a no-interest loan that she or he will be asked to repay.
Development of Postharvest Curricula for Secondary/Vocational Schools in Developing Countries
According the the Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) "There can be no escape from poverty without a vast expansion of secondary education. This is a minimum entitlement for equipping youth with the knowledge and skills they need to secure decent livelihoods in today's globalized world." Yet, two thirds of African children are effectively locked out of secondary school, according to a new UN report which cites secondary education as one of the next great development challenges facing many of the world's poorest countries.
The World Food Preservation Center® LLC (WFPC) supported by the World Food Preservation Education Foundation recognizes that not only is it important to dramatically increase support for secondary education in developing countries we must also enrich and make relevant the curricula that students attending these schools receive. The WFPC through its network of twenty-eight major research universities and three major research institutes on six continents is developing food loss/safety/nutrition curricula for secondary schools in Africa, Latin American, and Asia.
Observing the back-breaking work endured by their parents and relatives in agriculture, young secondary school students in developing countries are not attracted to farming. Also, agricultural curricula in developing countries is lacking. The result being that secondary education students do not see a future for themselves in agriculture as a profession.
Often over 50% of the food produced in developing countries is lost between the time it is harvested and consumed. This is enough food to feed two billion hungry individuals annually. The curriculum and texts being developed by the WFPC for secondary/vocational schools in developing countries focuses on knowledge that can be used to reduce these postharvest losses and ways that food can be kept safe and nutritious once harvested. Students acquiring this knowledge will be able to communicate it to their families and communities. Also, this newly acquired knowledge will make students appreciate the “science” of agriculture and its attractiveness as a future profession.
If you would like to support or donate to this mission, you can do so through the non-profit 501 (c) (3) World Food Preservation Education Foundation. http://www.foodpreservationfoundation.org/index.html.
Where can I find more information?
As a 501 (c) (3) public charity, the foundation is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. For any questions about the foundation, contact Dr. Charles L. Wilson, the founder of the World Food Preservation Center and the foundation's president, here.