Wed., July 9, 2014 10:15am (EDT)

3 Kickstarter Food Projects That Leave Potato Salad In The Dirt
By April Fulton
Updated: 3 weeks ago

Would you pay someone $60,000 to make this?
Would you pay someone $60,000 to make this?
Within days of asking for a total of $10 to crowdsource his first potato salad, Ohioan Zack Danger Brown raised tens of thousands of dollars. He promised people he would read their names aloud as he made this salad, which was apparently an irresistible draw.

Being the geeks we are, we asked our NPR Science Desk interns Nicholas St. Fleur and Kara Manke to do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation.

With the nearly $60,000 pledged so far, Brown could make 153,846 servings of this basic Hellmann's Original Potato Salad recipe featuring potatoes, mayo, some vinegar, salt and onion.

That's a lot of potato salad, and it's clever and all, but aren't there some other, potentially more worthy food projects on Kickstarter that could use a little of the cash so freely spent on Brown's project?

Here are just three worth checking out:

NorthBourne Foods, a small food distributor in the Houston area known for its meat and produce, wants to bring higher quality food to low-income communities in the state. "We would like to expand delivery with our own vans to areas considered 'food deserts,' and we would also like to offer lower cost and high-quality products to individuals within these communities, schools, grocers and smaller restaurants which usually can't afford to buy healthy products," says Bryant Greer, a founder of the company. It's asking for donations for two refrigerated vans to replace the rented vans they now use to reach these areas.

From the minds of OmieLife in San Francisco comes OmieBox, a colorful plastic lunchbox that includes a vacuum-insulated bowl that lets kids keep foods hot or cold in the same lunch box no more hot yogurt next to lukewarm soup. It's like a bento box on speed. The company is trying to raise $40,000 for tooling and materials to take its design into production.

Thu Huynh of Australia wants to be your traveling companion on the streets of Saigon, showing you how to seek out the best of Vietnam's hidden foodways. She's looking for $4,000 to finalize travel and production of her guidebook, Ho Chi Minh City, A Food Scene Guide.

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