October 24, 2014

CLF Week in Links: Food Day, Fish Farms, Agent Orange

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Center for a Livable Future

Roundup devastated the monarch butterfly population. What will Dow's Enlist Duo do?

Roundup devastated the monarch butterfly population. What will Dow’s Enlist Duo do?

Food Day. Today is Food Day, a day to inspire and be inspired in all things concerning our diets and food policies. Their tagline is “Real food, just food,” which says succinctly what our goals are for food system change. Check out the website for information about Food Day events happening across the U.S.—www.foodday.org—and join the online conversation with @FoodDay2014 and #FoodDay2014.

Two things. Earlier this week Mark Bittman wrote a New York Times column in which he encouraged readers to use their power as consumers to fix the food system. Read More >

October 22, 2014

Fact or Fiction: Public Health Risks and Immigration

Joanna Mackenzie

Joanna Mackenzie

Research Assistant, Food System Policy

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Weeding sugar beets near Ft. Collins, 1972.

Weeding sugar beets near Ft. Collins, 1972.

Opponents of immigration reform have jumped on the Ebola crisis, stigmatizing immigrants regardless of whether they came from an Ebola-affected country or not. These opponents falsely claim that immigrants, especially undocumented ones, are a risk to the public’s health due to all the nasty diseases they might be carrying!

In fact, the real risk to public health comes from the environmental and working hazards that immigrants, who make up 72% of the agricultural workforce in the United States, are exposed to on a daily basis while maintaining our nation’s food supply. (The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future recently called for action to address the public health risks that immigrant and migratory agricultural workers are Read More >

October 17, 2014

Exploring the Food System with CTY

Laura Genello

Laura Genello

Farm Manager

CLF Aquaponics Project

RS2878_Aquaponics_212-scrTwo weeks ago we hosted our second annual Food Systems and Public Health course in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at the Cylburn Arboretum. Six CLF staff members spent the day with 15 talented middle- and high-school students and their parents, and worked to define the food system, acknowledge harms, and develop a sense of hope for changing the world through the way we grow and eat our food. Read More >

October 10, 2014

Wild Bees and the Lemon Queen

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Center for a Livable Future

2014-09-sunflower

Name that wild bee. Is it a sweat bee? Polyester bee? Bumblebee?

A lot can happen in five minutes. I can set my timer and stare into the big face of a sunflower, on the alert for pollinators. I can count the pollinators. I can try to identify them. Was that a sweat bee? A polyester bee? Maybe even a bumblebee, but probably not a honeybee. I can watch pollen-heavy bees fly away, and when my timer rings I can log my data with the Great Sunflower Project.

I joined the Great Sunflower Project a few years ago. It’s a virtual community of gardeners, beekeepers, and amateurs like me who sign up to track pollinator visits to their sunflowers and submit the data online. This spring, the project asked that all participants use only one cultivar of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) for the experiment: the Lemon Queen. I enlisted my eight-year-old garden helper to help with the planting, and by summer we had a crop of Lemon Queens in the front yard, all facing south, bent over with their own weight. Read More >

October 9, 2014

Making Better Faith-Based Food Choices

Sharon Varghese

Sharon Varghese

Research Assistant, Baltimore Food and Faith

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

A Daniel fast is typically a vegan diet.

A Daniel fast incorporates a vegan diet.

Recently, Kim Ease had it in her heart to start a periodic Bible fellowship in a home environment. Attenders of her Bible fellowship, “Bring Your Bible to Brunch” (BYBTB), were preparing to begin a fast based on the biblical character Daniel. The Daniel fast incorporates a vegan diet with water as the only beverage. To prepare, they had been reading the book of Proverbs and applying its lessons to everyday life.

We were invited to BYBTB on Saturday, September 20, to have fellowship, enjoy homemade Trinidadian food, and lead a discussion from the book of Proverbs on making wise food choices. Read More >

October 8, 2014

2013 USDA Census of Aquaculture: Highlights

Dave Love

Dave Love

Assistant Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Center for a Livable Future

From the 2013 USDA Census of Aquaculture

From the 2013 USDA Census of Aquaculture

The USDA Census of Aquaculture is the most important and comprehensive data source for understanding the trajectory of the U.S. aquaculture industry. Last conducted in 2005, the census is a snapshot of production amounts, methods, and sales information from thousands of aquaculture operations in the United States.

The key finding from the census was an across-the-board decrease in the number of farms in the U.S. Roughly 3,000 farms responded to the 2013 census, which was a 28 percent decrease from 2005. The total acreage Read More >

October 7, 2014

Aquaponics is a “Growing” Field

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Center for a Livable Future

Aquaponics survey respondents, 2014

Aquaponics survey respondents, 2014

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future have conducted one of the first large-scale international surveys of aquaponics practitioners. For those who’ve noticed the buzz around aquaponics, the findings are not surprising. First of all, more than 800 people responded to the voluntary survey, which in itself demonstrates enthusiasm. Second, the results show that most respondents are new to the field, and third, that most of them are practicing as hobbyists. The survey has uncovered a couple of big themes in the field of aquaponics: enthusiasm and Read More >

October 6, 2014

A Tribute to Bob Lawrence

Wayne Roberts

Wayne Roberts

CLF Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Today the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health honors CLF Director Bob Lawrence with a scientific symposium. Bob announced his plans to step down earlier this year. The symposium is available via live-streaming.

Bob at the helm / 2014

Bob at the helm / 2014

I met Bob at a think-tank organized by the Kellogg Foundation in 2001, and we took to each other immediately, because we recognized each other as fellow catastroptimists—people who are determined to remain positive and look for a way out and forward no matter how bad things look.

I was managing the Toronto Food Policy Council at the time and was feeling my oats about all the positive and empowering things that could be done with food at the city and community level. But I was also looking desperately for someone more prestigious than I was to promote that message—which required a shift in outlook on the part of good food advocates, as well as a leap of faith about city leaders who weren’t exactly falling over themselves to prove their relevance to this area.

But Bob was willing to give this approach a try.

I have to say it saved my sorry butt. Read More >

October 6, 2014

Sarasota Schools Take a Bite Out of Climate Change

Alana Ridge

Alana Ridge

Research Program Manager

Food Communities & Public Health Program, CLF

school lunch

Sarasota, Fla., schools to go meatless on Mondays

Most people are unable to reduce their vehicle miles traveled (VMT) overnight to protect the environment and slow climate change. You have to get the kids to school, the dog to daycare, and yourself to work. What if there was another way to tackle climate change while improving your health? Great news! There is! Add a meat-free day to your week. Eating differently is a way to address climate change one bite at a time.

While we can’t or might not want to give up our cars this very instant, we CAN choose one day each week to fill our plates with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans instead of meat. Recent research Read More >

October 3, 2014

CLF Week in Links: Antibiotics, Livestock, Tyson and More

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Center for a Livable Future

CVMNews from the FDA on drug use in food animals. Yesterday, October 2, The FDA made an announcement about how the agency presents data about the drugs sold for use in food animal production. This is from the FDA’s news release: “Additional data tables have been added to this latest 2012 report to provide more detailed information and to improve transparency, and the same tables have also been added to the summary reports for the previous years (2009-2011).” As for the report itself, the data reveal that over the last four years there has been a 16 percent jump Read More >