In many places in the world, fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to come by—and not just in the places you’d think. Often, certain areas within cities, called nutritional islands, have the lowest levels of access to these foods. Residents of these areas often have to resort to feeding their families with pre-packaged foods bought from the store. Not only are these foods expensive, but their lack of nutritional value is one of the primary causes of poor health outcomes for this population.
Led by Carnegie Mellon University Engineering and Public Policy/Chemical Engineering undergraduate student Jack Ronayne, a group of Carnegie Mellon students is trying to solve this problem with a brand-new approach to indoor agriculture—and it all starts with LED lights. The project is one of many undertaken by the CMU chapter of Engineers Without Borders. The student group travels all over the world, identifying problems that communities experience and engineering solutions to enrich their lives. But for those who can’t travel, the club works on a number of projects designed to solve more universal problems.