An Interactive Nutritional Guide for Developing Low-cost Healthy Meals While Maintaining Indigenous Foods
Krista Liguori, Abdalla Nassar, and Khanjan Mehta
Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
Liguori, K., Nassar, A., Mehta, K., “An Interactive Nutritional Guide for Developing Low-cost Healthy Meals While Maintaining Indigenous Foods,” Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, San Jose, CA, Oct 2014
In much of the developing world, indigenous crops are being replaced by non-indigenous varieties. Though potentially more profitable for large, commercial farms, these non-indigenous crops require unsustainable agricultural practices, are less resistant to pests and disease, result in less crop diversity and are less nutritious. This hurts local livelihoods and health while threatening the survival of culture. To encourage the adoption and use of indigenous ingredients, we have developed a framework for a software application: the Interactive Nutritional Guide. This tool identifies crops indigenous to the user’s location, presents last-known pricing data, promotes recipes utilizing indigenous foods and suggests indigenous replacements for non-indigenous ingredients. With the intention of launching the application in East Africa, indigenous crops have been identified from literature and consultations with locals. A preliminary database of indigenous recipes and algorithms for ingredient substitution has also been developed along with a strategy for price updates based on user feedback. The Interactive Nutritional Guide is transferable into a mobile application, of significant implication in the developing world where cellphones are increasingly popular. In this article, we present our developments along with a vision aimed at empowering local entrepreneurs to consciously select local, nutritious, and environmentally friendly foods.