There is a design award granted biennially by a Danish based non-profit, INDEX: Design to Improve Life. The award focuses on designs aimed at improving lives of people in both developing and developed nations worldwide. The 2013 winner in the Home category is a product called FreshPaper, by Fenugreen.
A young woman drinks tap water, mistakenly, in a country where tap water is not safe for consumption. Her grandmother administers an old home remedy, “spice tea’, and remarkably the young woman does not fall ill from the tap water. The young woman is inspired to investigate the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of certain herbs and spices and ends up developing FreshPaper – a paper infused with organic spices that can keep produce fresh up to 4 times longer than normal.
That young woman, Kavita Shukla, was awarded a patent for FreshPaper at the age of 17. FreshPaper is affordable, organic, compostable, available in 35 countries, and is sold at Wegman’s and Whole Foods.
It is estimated that 2 billion tons of food is wasted every year. In a world of multinational agricultural corporations, fertilizers and GMO’s, where the ecosystems are under constant pressure to produce more, Kavita Shukla’s idea is transformational simply for enabling us to reduce waste and use what we have more efficiently. Imagine the impact in a culture where refrigeration is not the norm. Imagine the impact in any of our own kitchens where fresh berries don’t last even with refrigeration.
Hats off to Ms. Shukla – the world will benefit from her curiosity and inventiveness and drive. We could use more of that.