Food Distribution: How to Give Fairly with Less Waste
I would never have read the fascinating research I cover here without Matt Shipman, the NC State PIO, directing me to it. One of my favorite parts of this job is that I get to read about science I would never have otherwise come across, and this is an example. How else would I know about this fascinating work to optimize donated food distribution?
Here I explain the mathematics behind trying to make food distribution fair and effective. I had no idea it was such a complex problem, or that the ideals of effective food distribution (low waste) and equitable food distribution (everyone gets the same amount) can be at odds. I also learned the importance of stable and predictable food storage strategies--from warehousing to refrigeration to volunteer help.
The authors spent a great deal of time helping me to understand the nuances of their work and its importance, and reviewing the all the mathematical details in my drafts. They never complained about the time and were a delight to work with, as were my fine editors at SIAM News.