September 29, 2016

Can Kids Go Vegan?

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

2015-petition-schoollunchLast month in Italy a policymaker proposed a bill that would jail parents who impose a vegan diet on their children. The bill came on the heels of high-profile cases in which children were hospitalized for malnutrition as a result of vegan diets.

Is this extreme, or do children need meat in order to get enough protein, calcium and vitamin B-12? The popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets among young adults is growing. Read More >

September 28, 2016

A Taste of the Caribbean in Pimlico

Jelani Robinson

Jelani Robinson

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Island Food Market, Baltimore, 2016 / Jelani Robinson.

Island Food Market, Baltimore, 2016 / Jelani Robinson.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the fourth of those stories. 

Just outside of Baltimore’s notorious Pimlico Race Track at 5318 Park Heights Avenue is where you’ll find Island Food Market. The small international market corner store is owned by a couple I’ll refer to as Mr. and Ms. Gray in this post. The windows are covered with pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables and above the store is a blue and white sign that reads “Island Food Market, Bringing Home to You.” Upon entering the store I was welcomed by warm smiles, the sweet aroma of fresh Caribbean spices and a rainbow of brightly colored fresh produce. Although the store was small, the space was well used. With only enough space for two aisles, they manage to fit in plenty of fresh produce, a deli section for meats, cheese and dairy products, and an extensive variety of other international food products. Read More >

September 21, 2016

A Back to Basics Grocer

Ashley Xie

Ashley Xie

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Inside Mill Valley General Store, Baltimore Md.

Inside Mill Valley General Store, Baltimore Md.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the third of those stories. 

Tucked away in the Baltimore neighborhood known as Remington, in what used to be a broom machine factory, the Mill Valley General Store is a modest, unassuming brick storefront just off the I-83 exit ramp. What started as a small shop in Hampden in 2002 has become a spacious neighborhood grocery store and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pickup site. Read More >

September 15, 2016

Is WIC an Option for Corner Stores?

Bengucan Gunen

Bengucan Gunen

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Ashley talks with some some people at Linden Market.

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the second of those stories. 

Of the approximately 621,000 people living in Baltimore, 25 percent live in food deserts. Within the span of three months, my HFAI team visited roughly 1,000 food retail outlets in Baltimore. We went into corner stores, small groceries, supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies, visiting between 60 and 90 stores every week. Read More >

September 14, 2016

CLF Aquaculture Links: September 2016

Dave Love

Dave Love

Associate Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

AQ-news-300A shocking discovery of forced labor was discovered among the Hawaiian fishing fleet. The results of an AP investigation calls into question the ethics of the fishing industry. Wholesalers and retailers on the West Coast are scrambling to identify whether their products were caught with forced labor. Read more at the AP.

The third annual Our Ocean conference, hosted by the U.S. State Department, is scheduled for September 15 – 16 in Washington D.C. Foci for the conference will be marine protected areas, ocean pollution, climate change, and sustainable fisheries including traceability. Read more at the Our Ocean conference website. Read More >

September 9, 2016

The Impact of Fresh Food in Corner Stores

Meredith Stifter

Meredith Stifter

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the first of those stories. 

This summer my fellow CLF interns and I visited every food store in the city, from tiny gas stations selling only peanuts and soda, to organic supermarkets selling sustainable grasshopper flour desserts, to every corner store in between. In addition to the variety of data Read More >

August 30, 2016

Protein: Year of the Pulse

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This post is the second in a series, Protein—Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask. Stay tuned for Part 3!

Year of the Pig, Year of the Goat, Year of the Pulse??? Every year, the United Nations initiates special observances to promote international awareness and action on important issues. This year is the Year of the Pulses.

Pulses for sale at a market

Pulses are a subgroup of legumes used mainly as protein sources in the diet. Common pulses include beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils. They’re high in protein, fiber and many vitamins. Known as being hearty crops and for their ability to grow easily in a variety of conditions, they’re an excellent part of healthy diets all across the world. (Legumes that are used as vegetables—peas, green beans or soybeans and groundnuts for oils—are not considered pulses.[i])

Pulses deserve a lot more attention than they get. Here are five great reasons to love a pulse:

  1. Nutrition and health
  2. Global and local food security
  3. The environment and climate
  4. Cost and simplicity
  5. Taste and variety

Read More >

August 25, 2016

China’s Changing Diet: How to Turn the Tide

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Part 1 and Part 2 of the China’s Changing Diet blog series portrayed how individual and systematic dietary changes impact health and the global environment. Reversing trends takes time, but throughout history, the collective actions of committed individuals have had far-reaching impacts. In this section, we will discuss some changes already happening in China.

Chinese-language Meatless Monday poster

Chinese-language Meatless Monday poster

Moving the dial, motivation and Meatless Monday

Whether Dietary Guidelines can effectively spur diet changes is a difficult thing to assess. In China as in most countries, the rapid shift toward sugars, oils, meat and processed foods is counter to their past and present Dietary Guidelines. However, Dietary Guidelines can support the conversation and guide promotions toward diet changes. Much of the impact of the DG relies upon publicity, tools and education that follow their release. Read More >

August 24, 2016

China’s Changing Diet: Environment and Health Impacts

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

In Part 1 of the China’s Changing Diet blog series, we provided an overview of the recent shifts in how Chinese citizens eat and live as a result of economic growth, urbanization and food availability. In the following section, we will discuss the local and global impacts of these shifts and how Chinese health experts have addressed these through the newly-revised Chinese Dietary Guidelines.

Diet changes have lasting impacts on health and the environment locally and globally

In China, the incidence of obesity and its related complications have increased rapidly alongside dietary changes. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among Chinese people was increased by 38.6% and 80.6% respectively during the period of 1992-2002.[i] In 2012, 30.1% of adults were overweight and 11.9% were obese. 9.6% of youth were overweight and 6.4% were obese.[ii] Taking into account the sheer size of China’s population, over one fifth of all one billion obese people in the world now come from China.[iii]

Read More >

August 23, 2016

China’s Changing Diet: Meat and Dairy on the Rise

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

chinameat1 copyReflections on China’s Changing Diet: Local impacts, global implications, and promising solutions. 

China is eating differently, and it matters—a lot! China’s sheer size and growth mean that even small changes in diet and lifestyle patterns have large impacts in terms of public health, food safety and the environment. In this first blogpost, we summarize how and to what degree China’s diet has actually changed. Our second post will discuss the local and global implications of the shifts in China—and how China’s health experts are encouraging citizens to adjust their food and lifestyle choices. Finally, we will suggest simple and effective actions such as Meatless Monday that can be leveraged individually and collectively to move the dial toward a healthier China and thriving world. Read More >