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This small sheet of paper could help remove one of the biggest obstacles to getting fresh food to those who need it most.

All photos via Fenugreen, used with permission.


It's called FreshPaper, and according to inventor Kavita Shukla, it preserves fruit and vegetables two to four times longer than conventional storage methods.

Shukla came up with the idea when she was 12 years old while visiting her grandmother in India.

Shukla as a toddler with her grandmother in India.

After accidentally drinking a glass of water from her grandmother's tap despite having been warned before to drink only purified water, Shukla began to fear she would get sick.

"My grandmother didn't have a lot in her kitchen, and she came back with this murky brown mixture, which was kind of like a spice tea," Shukla told Upworthy.

Shukla drank the tea and didn't get sick. And while there is no way to know if the tea really helped or not, it gave her an idea: Certain spices have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

Could these same spices help prevent food from going bad?

Years later, while Shukla was working on a $300 budget in her apartment, FreshPaper was born. It's a small, paper sleeve infused with some of the same spices in her grandmother's tea mixture. It can go in any container that stores produce, looks similar to a dryer sheet, and is reusable.

"When I first developed it, I really had people like my grandmother in mind," she said.

Despite the fact that millions of people don't have enough to eat, the world wastes a surprising amount of food.

According to a 2014 National Geographic report, up to one-third of all food produced for human consumption worldwide is wasted or lost. The problem is especially acute in areas of the world without adequate refrigeration infrastructure, which causes food to spoil. India alone has to scrap between 30% and 40% of its fruits and vegetables.

"People still go hungry every single day because of all these inefficiencies in food distribution," Shukla said.

It's a problem that is familiar to many American families as well.

"Mostly when we are talking to people who are living paycheck to paycheck, the food-purchasing decisions they're making are entirely based on what they can afford, and sometimes it's not a good economic choice to buy fresh fruits and vegetables," Shukla said. The quicker food spoils, the less cost-effective it can be for a struggling family.

Shukla and a partner first began selling FreshPaper at a farmers market in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to Shukla, they were shipping the product all over the U.S. and to over 30 countries worldwide within a year. As of Oct. 29, 2015, FreshPaper boasted an average 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

"This is an amazing product. It does exactly what it says and keeps berries fresh much longer," writes one reviewer.

For Shukla, however, bringing the product to market is just the first step. Other products can preserve perishable produce after all, but many are non-biodegradable or require refrigeration. Shukla hopes to leverage FreshPaper's simplicity, accessibility, and environmental friendliness into a truly global social enterprise that can help bring much-needed aid to hungry people around the global.

A cheap, effective method of preserving perishable food could be a godsend for people who don't have consistent access to refrigeration.

Shukla is currently looking to partner with food banks and NGOs to make the technology accessible to families in need.

In the meantime, FreshPaper is a finalist for the chance to win a Super Bowl ad and is actively seeking votes. Shukla hopes this will increase visibility of the product and help start a discussion around food waste.

That discussion comes not a moment too soon.

For the many families around the world who struggle to put food on the table, any help is much needed and long overdue.

"FreshPaper's creative solution to cutting food waste is needed in light of the fact that about 40 percent of our hard-working farmers' produce never reaches our stomachs," Dylan Menguy, spokesperson for the Washington D.C.-based Capital Area Food Bank told Upworthy in an e-mail. "As technology evolves, we are glad to see creative solutions to this heartbreaking problem."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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