Food sharing app co-founded by Iowan woman wins UN Climate Action Award


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Iowa-born Saasha Celestial-One, winner of a UN Climate Action award, courtesy of OLIO’s partner resources.

Julia Poska | December 14, 2018

The U.S. may have let its climate-concerned citizens down this week at the COP24 Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, but one Iowan woman has achieved success as part of an international team of award winners.

On behalf of the U.K., U.S., and Sweden, the developers of the food sharing app OLIO won the UN Lighthouse Award for Climate Action “Momentum for Change” prize in the category “Women for Results.” Saasha Celestial-One, originally from Iowa, developed the app with England’s Tessa Clarke in 2015.

Celestial-One was raised by “Iowa hippies,” according to her bio on the app’s website, and grew up salvaging everything from broken furniture to grocery store garbage. “Giving things a second chance is in my DNA. I hate waste,” she told the magazine Stylist for a profile earlier this year.

OLIO takes that same anti-waste attitude and attempts to spark action from regular people. The app allows neighbors and businesses to share excess food with other users in 32 countries. According to their site, 635,761 users have shared 1,138,886 portions of food so far. This food is ultimately saved from the landfill, where it would decompose anaerobically and release the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. The water, land and energy resources used to grow, make, and transport that food are saved from waste as well.

The “Momentum for Change” award went to 15 ‘”activities” in 14 countries on Tuesday at the COP24 summit. The award “showcases some of the most practical and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change,” according to a press release from the UN.

On the Radio: New app helps find sustainable groceries


Items from a typical produce aisle ( katiescrapbooklady / Flickr)
Items from a typical produce aisle ( katiescrapbooklady / Flickr)
December 22, 2014

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at a new app that looks to help consumers identify healthy and sustainable foods in the grocery aisle. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

A new mobile app aims to help consumers find the healthiest and most sustainably-grown foods at the grocery store.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

In October, the Environmental Working Group – a non-profit that advocates for environmental and public health issues – launched “Food Scores,” a food ratings database and mobile app. The database has rated more than 80,000 products using three criteria: nutrition such as caloric and fat content, ingredient concerns like hormones and antibiotics, and processing which includes the amount of artificial ingredients a product contains.

With the most emphasis placed on the food’s nutritional content and the least on processing, the app compiles these factors, then gives each product a rating between 1 and 10, with 1 being the healthiest and 10 the least nutritional foods.

The Environmental Working Group is headquartered in Washington D.C. and has a regional office in Ames, Iowa.

For more information about the mobile app and a link to the database, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerrry Schnoor.

sources: http://iowapublicradio.org/post/apps-aim-guide-you-sustainable-food-whatever-means; http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/content/user-guide