April 27, 2015

Changing the Way We Think, Creating the World We Want – Frances Moore Lappe

Eleni Vlachos

Eleni Vlachos

CLF Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Frances Moore Lappe at EPA event in Durham, NC, April 2015.

Frances Moore Lappe at EPA event in Durham, NC, April 2015.

Over twenty years ago I read a book that would change my world. Turns out, I wasn’t alone: Diet for a Small Planet, first published in 1971, was a game changer for many of us, including the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s “Cutting Edge Speaker Series” Catherine, who cited the book as reason for going vegetarian 45 years ago.

In fact, Frances Moore Lappe, along with Julia Child, Upton Sinclair, and other luminaries was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people whose work has changed the way America eats.

Frances’ contribution to the environmental movement is significant. She was one of the first to connect the environmental impact of growing animals for food, focusing particularly on the devastating amount amount of grain and water needed to produce a pound of meat versus equivalent plant proteins directly.

Now, almost half a century after her groundbreaking work was published, Frances continues to challenge Read More >

April 24, 2015

A Movement Unites to Keep The Barn Doors Open

Daisy Freund

Daisy Freund

CLF Guest Blogger

ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare Program

Pigs raised on factory farms are confined in metal and concrete pens with hard slatted flooring. The live here until they reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds at six months old. / Farm Sanctuary

Pigs raised on factory farms are confined in metal and concrete pens with hard slatted flooring. The live here until they reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds at six months old. / Farm Sanctuary

“I can’t even watch those videos.”

That’s the most common response I get when I discuss undercover footage taken by animal advocates on industrial farms. And it’s understandable. It’s painful to watch an animal suffer, especially when you feel helpless to intervene.

But what if you literally couldn’t even watch those videos?

Here’s what: consumers would never have learned about the suffering of mother pigs raised in cages so small they can’t turn around, and the pork industry would not have felt pressure Read More >

April 20, 2015

Michigan FPC Abolished and Reform Is Stymied

Colleen Synk

Colleen Synk

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Colleen-radishes

Radishes grown at Ingham County Family Center Youth Garden.

This past December the Michigan Food Policy Council was abolished through an executive order by Governor Rick Snyder. The alleged purpose of this move was to have the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) absorb the efforts of the Food Policy Council. [1] According to the Governor, the reorganization is supposed to increase the effectiveness of projects taken on by the Council [3], but in my opinion the re-org will not accomplish great efficiency. Instead, it will stifle opposing viewpoints.

Since 2005, the Council has been supporting the growth and diversification of the state’s food system by synthesizing local and regional goals. Its many successes include increasing the number of small farmers at local markets who are eligible to accept SNAP benefits; helping Read More >

April 17, 2015

CLF Week in Links: Drought, Fight for 15 and More

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Sierra Madre mountains, 2005.

Sierra Madre mountains, 2005.

California drought. One of the big news stories these past weeks has been the restrictions put on household water use in the state of California—and the lack of restrictions put on agriculture, which uses far more water than households. But agriculture is big business in California, and the state is not eager to hobble it any time soon. Almonds in particular have become a target; the oft-repeated factoid is that it takes one gallon of water to produce one almond, and California produces 80 percent of the almonds produced worldwide. This NPR story takes a look at he maligned almond. But in terms of water-hogging, almonds have nothing on meat Read More >

April 16, 2015

Environmental Effects of Marine Finfish Aquaculture

Catherine Kastleman

Catherine Kastleman

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Marine salmon aquaculture in Scotland, U.K.

Marine salmon aquaculture in Scotland, U.K.

Over 20 million tons of fish per year are farmed in marine environments to meet a rapidly increasing global demand for seafood. Americans eat around 3 ounces of seafood per week, and the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines suggest that we more than double consumption. But how will the production of all that fish affect the world’s oceans? Can we meet growing demand in a way that is environmentally sustainable?

In a recent review article published in Aquaculture Environment Interactions, Carol Price and James Morris from the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research at NOAA Read More >

April 15, 2015

Changing the Menu: Highlights from America Answers Conference

Joanna Mackenzie

Joanna Mackenzie

Research Assistant, Food System Policy

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Panelists at Changing the Menu: Tamar Haspel, Ricardo Salvador, Marion Nestle, Phil Lempert

Panelists at Changing the Menu: Tamar Haspel, Ricardo Salvador, Marion Nestle, Phil Lempert

This post is co-authored by Kate McCleary and Joanna Mackenzie.

How are millennials driving food trends? Do we really vote with our forks? Are junk food taxes regressive? These are some of the questions that bubbled up at America Answers: Changing the Menu, a conference hosted by the Washington Post. The conference featured policy makers, community advocates, industry leaders and other food and nutrition experts, each of whom contributed a unique perspective to the conversation on how to improve what Americans eat. CLF Read More >

April 14, 2015

Somerset County Residents Fight Back Against Expanding Chicken Industry

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

20060227_chickensThis post was co-written by Michele Merkel and Claire Fitch and co-posted in Food & Water Watch.

Somerset County has been in the cross hairs of the poultry industry for quite a long time, with an inventory of 14.9 million broiler chickens – the largest of any county in Maryland, and the sixth largest in the United States. Big companies, including Perdue and Tyson own these birds, which are raised in large industrial facilities for their entire lives, and produce enormous quantities of waste. With nowhere to put the tens of millions of pounds of manure generated by these birds, the county is now considering poultry litter incinerators while Read More >

April 6, 2015

Meatless Monday Relaunch at Johns Hopkins University

Alana Ridge

Alana Ridge

Research Program Manager

Food Communities & Public Health Program, CLF

MM-relaunch-JHU-2015aThanks to great partners like Bon Appétit Management Company, Johns Hopkins University Dining Services is able to bring fresh foods to students every day. In fact, Johns Hopkins was able to exceed the Real Food Challenge goal of serving more real food. Read more about Johns Hopkins commitment to the Real Food Challenge here.

While Meatless Monday has been on campus for years, it was time for a refresh. In September 2014, Jeff Vigilante arrived on campus as Bon Appétit’s new marketing manager for Johns Hopkins University. He brings with him Read More >

March 27, 2015

CLF Week in Links: Dietary Guidelines, Glyphosate and More

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Testifying for sustainability. This week the HHS and USDA hosted a hearing on the scientific report recently issued by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), and our own Jillian Fry was invited to present testimony. One of the points of contention with the DGAC’s report is that sustainability be considered in the recommendations for how Americans eat; another point of contention is that recommendation that Americans should eat less red meat and more plant-based foods. Read More >

March 24, 2015

New Dietary Guidelines Should Keep Sustainability on the Menu

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Jillian Fry testifying about the Dietary Guidelines, March 24, 2015.

Jillian Fry testifying about the Dietary Guidelines, Bethesda, Md., March 24, 2015.

MARCH 24, 2015, Bethesda, Md.—This morning Jillian Fry, a project director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), gave public testimony about the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). This is the first time in history that the DGAC has included sustainability considerations in its recommendations. The testimony is being heard today by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversee the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, known recently as MyPlate and updated every five years. Read More >