(TMU) — More than enough food is produced around the world to feed the global population, yet an estimated 821 million people go hungry each year. This is largely due to greed and the unbalanced distribution of resources. While it will likely take years to remedy this conundrum, one young man is taking matters into his own hands.
In addition to having a heart of gold, 13-year-old Michael Platt has a passion for baking. After learning about the homelessness crisis, he decided to be the change he hoped to see in the world by opening a bakery. Michael’s Desserts operates on one-to-one business model, similarly to Toms Shoes. For every pastry that a customer buys, a pastry is given away to an underprivileged person.
Once or twice each month, the 13-year-old travels from his home in Bowie, Maryland to Washington D.C. where he hands out dozens of baked treats to kids, adults, and families in domestic violence and homeless shelters. The philanthropic teen also works with the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit No Kid Hungry to distribute the pastries.
“I always wanted to have a purpose for what I do,” Michael told the Washington Post. “It’s all about helping people—not just having a purpose for yourself, but thinking about, ‘How does this touch other things?’”
While most of the dessert orders are for people in the D.C. area, the baker says he has made out-of-state shipments as well.
The teen is cooking up big things and he already has nearly 6,000 followers on his Instagram page.
Here are some of his dynamic desserts:
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I learned A LOT while making this cake. Tiers are not easy. LOL. I restocked and reworked the structure of the dowels about three times. LOL. I couldn’t get them straight or I cut them too long. I’m saying that because you might be thinking of something that you’d like to do but during the process you may find out that it’s two steps forward and three steps backward. That’s ok. Keep going and keep learning. You never know what you could accomplish or what you’ll learn. #kidbaker #boybaker #cake #food #learning #pastry
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My first wedding cake!!! Chocolate three layer, three tier naked cake filled with berries, iced with vanilla icing and topped with strawberries, blueberries, and strawberry Macarons. Plus over 100 cake pops! Thank you Alex and Emily for trusting me to make the cake for your special day. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to the actual wedding. I really wanted to be there I’m so happy for you guys!! Have a slice for me! #weddingcake #kidbaker #kidsbakingchampionship #pastrychef #dessert #ido #weddings #kidpreneur #macarons #strawberries #chocolate
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I was finally able to make Cereal Milk Ice Cream!!! Woohooo! I’ve been wanting to make this from the moment I heard about @milkbarstore on Chef’s Table. This is Honey Cinnamon “Cereal Milk” Cashew Ice Cream with toasted and crushed cereal, apples and honey on top. 😋 I used the last box of my very very favorite Kashi by Kids cereal: Honey Cinnamon. @kashi (It’s so good) and toasted it. Y’all, when I toasted it I almost ate it all. 😂 If you toast this cereal you will want to eat it like popcorn. If you decide to make this try reducing your cashew milk so that it’s even creamier. I sweetened my creme anglaise with natural sugar and left out the egg yolks so it would be plant based. Enjoy!! #cerealmilk #cashewmilk #plantbased #kashibykids #awesometogether #icecream #vegan #vegetarian #apples #dessert #boybaker #kidbaker #kidpreneur #michaelsdesserts #kidswhocook#cereal #milkbar #kashibykids
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“Your business model isn’t sustainable. What can a cupcake do?” My answer to adults who tell me this: In my opinion a cupcake can do a lot! I’ve seen a cupcake inspire smiles, tears, amazement, joy, satisfaction, happiness and other private emotions that I won’t share out of respect for people’s dignity. I’ve passed a cupcake to someone sitting with all their possessions in a shopping cart and had them tell me that this one simple act gave them hope. I’ve left a cupcake beside someone who’s sleeping under blankets on a grate because their friend on the grate next to them said it was ok when I asked. That’s why I give away cupcakes. I’ve been told that my business model isn’t sustainable and that I can’t scale my business while giving away a dessert equal in value, ingredients and labor to the ones I sell. I just look at those people and think about the next cupcake I’m going to give away! #hunger #changetheworld #giveaway #cupcakes #food #foodaccess #foodjustice #foodsecurity #dignity #feedthepeople #cookies #pie #changeagent #bethechange #kidpreneur #dreams #hope #sweettreats #oneforone #1for1
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Day 3 of #21DaysOfGratitude with @generationnkh I’m grateful forever grateful for and inspired by my family! This is a Lemon meringue pie with blueberry compote swirl to take to our family super bowl party. Who inspires you? #lemonmeringue #pie #boybaker #kidbaker #kidchef #kidpastrychef #kidpreneur #dessert #lemon #lemoncurd #blueberry #blueberrycompote #torch #food #baking #baker #pastry
Akon Finally Breaks Ground On His Futuristic $10 Billion Solar Powered “Crypto City”
The rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Akon has been making significant progress on his development plans in Africa, which involve the creation of a futuristic city that runs on clean energy and cryptocurrency.
In January of last year, Akon revealed that his agreements with Senegal President Macky Sall were going forward, and a few months later it was announced that the engineering and consulting firm KE International was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the city. The company previously said it had already received $4 billion from investors for the first two phases of Akon City’s construction, giving the project a price tag of at least $10 billion.
The project goes much further than just this one city and it has already begun to make an impact across the continent. In the short time since the deal was finalized last year, a large number of solar street lights, and solar home lighting units, have been installed across 14 African countries, according to Akon Lighting Africa.
The effort was made possible by a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC, and NARI.
Phase 1 of construction on the city is expected to be completed in 2023, and will include roads, a hospital, residences, hotels, a police station, a waste facility, a school, and a solar power plant. The entire city is expected to be finished around 2029. The city’s economy will be facilitated by Akon’s cryptocurrency “Akoin,” which runs on the Stellar blockchain. Stellar is a crypto ecosystem that includes its own cryptocurrency XLM, and also allows for the development of other projects, such as decentralized exchanges and additional currencies like Akoin. Banks around the world have also been considering using the Stellar blockchain for stablecoin deployment.
Akon believes that cryptocurrency is the solution to the corruption problems that create widespread inequality in Africa because the blockchain provides a record that would make corruption extremely obvious if it were to take place. With an independent cryptocurrency, governments are unable to print money and devalue the currency, and the control of the money is decentralized.
In an interview with TMZ last year, Akon compared the vision that he has for the city with the fictional “Wakanda” from the movie Black Panther.
“This movie literally made an idea of what Africa could really be. It’s just ironic that I was already working on this before the movie came out, but it’s something that helped me a lot when I was trying to explain to explain to people what I was trying to do,” Akon said.
The city’s crypto-economic system will also solve many problems specific to the developing world, like instantly calculating conversation rates for currencies, which is often an obstacle because there are so many different regional currencies and methods of trade. In some cases, people even use prepaid cellphone minutes as a currency because it is easier to use and exchange than traditional currencies. Akon says that the Akoin wallet will allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and cellphone minutes instantly without having to go through a major exchange using Atomic Swap technology. The app will also teach users to become more familiar with the technology in general.
Florida Man Uses Stimulus Check to Start Thriving Home Garden to Feed His Community
When millions of people across the United States received their federal stimulus checks to help them cope with the devastating economic repercussions of the novel coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown, most people spent their checks on basic necessities like food, rent, mortgage, utilities, and other basic necessities
However, one man from East Tampa, Florida, decided to use his funds to invest in a much more long-term project: building his own garden at home and using it to help provide food for himself. He’s now teaching his community about the massive benefits of food independence.
Michael Chaney, who goes by the nickname “Spirit Mike,” has long been interested in gardening. It wasn’t until the pandemic struck and local supermarkets were struck by the crisis that he was able to muster the self-motivation and time to fully pursue what began as a hobby and now has turned into his passion.
When he received his first stimulus check, he immediately used the funds to purchase some pots and start growing his first tomato plant. He also spoke to seasoned gardeners at the nearby A Land of Delight Natural Farm to pick up some materials and advice that would enable him to begin growing his own food, he told local radio station WMNF.
Now, Chaney is growing not only tomatoes but also collard greens, ghost peppers, mustard greens, strawberry guava, eggplants, onions, papaya, cashew apples, sugar cane, lemon, yucca, and lettuce, among other plants on his .3 acres of land.
“I do biointensive gardening, which means planting as much as you can in a small space,” Chaney told Atlanta Black Star. “I specifically picked these types of fruits [dwarf plants] because they grow fruit fast.”
Chaney derives the most pride from his moringa trees, which he values for its high viamin C content and celebrated medicinal properties as well as its antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.
“That is the Michael Jordan and the Kobe Bryant together,” Chaney told WMNF with pride.
“If you were stranded somewhere and all you have his this and water you would not only survive, you would thrive,” Chaney added. “I don’t work out. All I did was add this to my diet and add flax seed fiber and I lost 65 lbs.”
Chaney also has nine chickens that he purchased for only $3 per chick.
“My aim is to make my food cost zero,” he explained. “So, my food scraps go into the soldier fly larvae bin, they eat that and produce more larvae. Those larvae get fed to the chickens. The chicken produces eggs, I sell the eggs and eat the eggs; life is good.”
Chaney made sure to meticulously plan his garden so that actually managing it and ensuring its success would be much easier.
“It’s very important that you plan your garden. Do your research before you put a dollar down because you want your dollar to go as far as it can,” Chaney said.
He is now upholding the garden – which he has named New World Growers – as an example of community self-determination and food independence at a time when food insecurity is sharply on the rise.
Edward Snowden Applies For Russian Citizenship As He Announces He’s About To Be A Dad
U.S. NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has announced that he is going to be a dad and that he has applied for Russian citizenship due to the coming change in his life. Snowden said the move is to prevent separation from his unborn son.
Snowden and his wife are applying for Russian citizenship in order not to be separated from their future son in an era of pandemics and closed borders, he said on Monday. Snowden’s wife, Lindsay, is expecting a child in late December, the RIA news agency said, citing his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Reuters reported.
Snowden fled the U.S. and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret NSA files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency where he was a contractor. Snowden exposed various capabilities by the NSA by revealing various extensive privacy violations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently found one such program was unlawful and that the U.S. intelligence directors who publicly defended it had lied to the public. The court determined that the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans’ telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden to return to the U.S. to face criminal charges on espionage brought against him in 2013.
“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship,” Snowden wrote on Twitter. “Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love, including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited. Our greatest wish is that, wherever our son lives, he feels at home.”
Russia has already granted Snowden permanent residency rights, his lawyer said last month, a requisite step towards Russian citizenship.
Snowden’s wife recently publicly announced her pregnancy last week in a photograph posted to Instagram. “A long time in the making,” she wrote. “Our greatest collaboration coming soon.” Snowden said; despite applying for Russian citizenship, he hopes to one day return to the U.S. to reunite his family.