January 26, 2015

Food Sovereignty at Stake in New Trade Deals

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

Karen Hansen-Kuhn

CLF Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

stop-taftaCompanies from the U.S. and the EU are conducting trade negotiations in secret, and the negotiations are explicitly geared toward eliminating “localization,” which those companies see as a barrier to trade. That’s right, in the view of trade officials, localization is a vice, not a virtue.[1] The U.S. and EU negotiating objectives for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, also known as TAFTA because of its similarities to NAFTA) seek to bring regulatory standards on pesticides, toxic chemicals and food safety between the EU and U.S. closer together Read More >

January 23, 2015

CLF Week in Links: Governor Hogan, Lots of Manure, and More

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Manure lagoon at a dairy farm

Manure lagoon at a dairy farm

Bad news in Maryland. New Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has wasted no time rolling back environmental protections in this state. On his first day, he killed new farm regulations aimed at helping clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The restrictions were aimed at reducing how much poultry manure farmers are allowed to apply to their fields; the manure is rich in phosphorus, which runs off the fields into Bay tributaries, where it becomes pollution and creates dead zones. The governor has clearly sided with Eastern Shore poultry farmers—at the expense of one of our most important natural resources. More info from Tim Wheeler is in the Baltimore Sun. Read More >

January 22, 2015

Climate Change and Future Harvest

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Amanda Behrens, Future Harvest conference, 2015

“Most farmers I talk to don’t believe in ‘climate change,’” said Lester Vough, a forage specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Maryland. “But they do believe in ‘climate extremes.’”

Vough, who is known through Maryland as “the hay guy,” was speaking about how climate change is affecting farming, specifically the hay business. He was one of the guest speakers at Future Harvest CASA’s annual conference, presenting his observations in the “Environment, Community and Policy” track organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Read More >

January 15, 2015

What Is the Deal with WOTUS?

Joanna Mackenzie

Joanna Mackenzie

Research Assistant, Food System Policy

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Blue-green harmful algae blooms

Blue-green harmful algae blooms

With the new senators and representatives reporting to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS) may be in jeopardy. WOTUS seeks to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, which makes it the target of attacks by incoming lawmakers. This post provides the inside scoop on why that’s bad news, and why the nation’s most vulnerable and undervalued waters are vital to us all.

The Clean Water Act, which was passed in 1972, authorized the federal government to protect the navigable waters of the United States. It was instrumental in cleaning up many of our Read More >

January 14, 2015

CLF’s Free Online Food Systems Course Gets an Update

Meg Burke

Meg Burke

Sr. Academic Program Coordinator

Center for a Livable Future

pollinator-courseraThe new year has arrived with opportunities for anyone interested in learning more about food systems. This winter, Coursera has at least five free, online classes on food-system topics, including the tried-and-true CLF course co-taught by Bob Lawrence and Keeve Nachman. “An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health” is being offered for the third year, and this year’s lineup includes some extra goodies.

This time around we’ll offer new lectures by CLF faculty Jillian Fry and Roni Neff. Read More >

January 13, 2015

Celebrating Faith Community Gardens

Sharon Varghese

Sharon Varghese

Research Assistant, Baltimore Food and Faith

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

faith-garden1“We have our kids line up at the hose, cup water in their hands, and run back to the plants to sprinkle it on them,” said one congregant. Another talked about the gardens they grow in discarded tires. Still another shared the different methods her church has tried to keep their gardens free from pests, and the different fruits and vegetables they grew over different seasons.

All of these narratives and more were told at Epiphany Episcopal Church during the Baltimore Food and Faith Project (BFFP) 5th Annual Faith Community Garden Celebration dinner. In the past year, Read More >

January 12, 2015

Remembering Brother Dave Andrews

Robert Martin

Robert Martin

Director of Food System Policy

Center for a Livable Future

Brother Dave Andrews, 2007

Brother Dave Andrews, 2007

A great friend of the Center for a Livable Future and a persistent and effective advocate for sustainable agriculture has passed away. Brother David Andrews, former director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, member of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, and a senior policy person at Food and Water Watch, passed away on January 5. In recent months, he had experienced some serious health issues but had been doing a bit better Read More >

January 9, 2015

CLF Week in Links: TAFTA, Food Waste Laws, Brother Dave

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

ChristopherDombres_TAFTA_468wNew nutrition adviser for White House. Replacing Sam Kass as the director of the Let’s Move! campaign is Deb Eschmeyer, a nutrition and local food advocate. Politico reports on the appointment. She is a co-founder of Food Corps, an AmeriCorps service program that places 182 members into schools in 16 states and D.C. to work on food and nutrition issues, including school gardens, cooking classes and revamped school lunch menus.

Trade agreement toxicity. Here’s more reportage, this time from The Guardian, about the potentially toxic effects of the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Read More >

January 8, 2015

Why Tilapia? Species Selection at the Aquaponics Project

Laura Genello

Laura Genello

Farm Manager

CLF Aquaponics Project

IMG_0853Tilapia is one of the most commonly raised fish species in aquaponics systems, but it is not universally desirable among consumers. Why is it that tilapia is such a common choice, and why are we raising them at the CLF Aquaponics Project?

  1. Tilapia are hardy. Really hardy. In the aquaculture industry they have a reputation for being very difficult to kill, especially compared to more finicky species such as trout. They can survive wider ranges in pH, temperature, and ammonia than many other fish species, and they quickly adapt to varying conditions. Read More >

December 19, 2014

CLF Week in Links: Cromnibus, Cod, Theo Colborn

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

holidaycard2015Let me start by bestowing a little holiday cheer from our CLF family to yours.

Cromnibus. The New York Times, NPR, Mother Jones, Politico, and many other news sources have reported on the omnibus spending bill, dubbed the “cromnibus,” released by Congress this week. The good news is that the Democrats have prevented all-out Republican gutting of the EPA and its Clean Water Act, although the EPA’s budget was cut by a modest amount. Bad news items include: a congressional directive that tells the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to refrain from linking our diets’ impacts on the environment; school cafeterias are allowed to wriggle out of some requirements intended to make school lunches more healthy; and beef ranchers are kept “safe” from regulators who would want to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from their production sites. So much for any awareness of the importance of sustainability in food production Read More >