June 8, 2015
Free food for Baltimore students. I’ll start off this post with some nice news: as of one week ago, June 1, all Baltimore City students may eat breakfast and lunch for free. While the majority of City students are already enrolled in the free-and-reduced-meals program, and breakfast is already provided free for all, this move by the school system is important for a couple of reasons: (1) it reduces stigma and bureaucracy by no longer requiring that students enter a PIN number when they want a free lunch, and (2) it reduces the burden on low-income families to provide the paperwork necessary to be declared eligible for free or reduced meals. Read More >
June 5, 2015
Last week, I gave a presentation at the World Aquaculture Society Conference in Jeju, South Korea. The invited talk was based on a paper I published with three colleagues last year, Public Health Perspectives on Aquaculture. The conference was mostly focused on how to continue expanding the aquaculture industry, and I provided a public health view in an effort to demonstrate the importance of producing farmed seafood using methods that are sustainable and safe.
Some intensive aquaculture operations Read More >
May 29, 2015
Tilapia at the CLF Aquaponics facility.
“I learned more about fish than I ever imagined I would in my lifetime.”
This is the answer that I sometimes give to my friends when they ask me what it is exactly I was doing as a Research Assistant here at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. And despite how it may sound at first, it was some of the most exciting academic work I have ever had the opportunity to undertake.
Over the past few months, under the guidance of my supervisor, Dr. David Love, I analyzed data on the production and consumption Read More >
May 27, 2015
“Hard work. Hot. And what can I really even learn out of it?”
Those were Davon Baynes’s thoughts when he started as an intern at Civic Works’ Real Food Farm in Baltimore’s Clifton Park. He wasn’t the only intern who felt that way. In fact, all six students who participated in the program that year said they learned that growing food is hard work. Davon, a high school junior when he began, wasn’t turned off from farming, though; he went on to become the assistant manager of the Mobile Farmers Market and now spends his days harvesting and selling Real Food Farm produce in his community.
So, how do you get teenagers interested in working on a farm? Especially on precious Saturday mornings? Read More >
May 26, 2015
Dark humor. This past weekend on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver did an 18-minute segment on chickens and, in particular, on inhumane chicken farming practices. It’s a hilarious, harrowing 18 minutes—enjoy!
Times Square. Be sure to check out Food & Water Watch’s 15-second film, Factory Farms Make Me Sick: Times Square Edition. Be sure to watch and then tweet your thoughts with hashtag #LoadOfCrap.
More data on antimicrobials. In keeping with the Obama administration’s effort Read More >
May 12, 2015
Lexington Market in Baltimore City. Library of Congress
As recently as 70 years ago, Maryland was virtually food self-sufficient, with local farmers providing nearly all the food staples. Since then, modern agriculture practices, food business models, and improved transportation systems have reduced food prices and provided a much wider variety of fruits and vegetables and processed goods in supermarkets. Trade agreements allowed tariff free imports to lower prices and increase variety even more. For a number of reasons, Maryland farms (and East Coast farms in general) have not been able to compete in a number of food products and acres of those products decreased dramatically by the end of the 20th century. Read More >
May 11, 2015
A visit to CLF, 2015.
Thanks to great partners across the U.S., Meatless Monday is making appearances across the country. I recently met a fantastic group of students from Colby College. These students were visiting Baltimore on an alternative spring break. One of their stops was the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), and I had the opportunity to share with the students our role as technical adviser to the national Meatless Monday campaign. Colby College already has Meatless Monday on campus because of its great partners Larry Llewellyn and Debbie Knese of Sodexo. I invited one of the students, Luke Andrews, to share with us his experiences in Baltimore and his thoughts about Meatless Monday. Good luck to Luke and all his fellow students as they finish up the semester! Read More >
May 8, 2015
Will this USDA certification be a game-changer for school lunches?
Dietary guidelines. Last week some of the CLF journeyed to Washington and briefed Representative Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) and her staff on the importance of respecting the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recommendation to consider the impact of dietary choices on environment and sustainability in the 2015 Guidelines. Today is the last day that HHS and USDA are accepting comments from the public on this important matter. To learn more about the briefing and about how to submit a last-minute comment, read this blogpost by our own Claire Fitch.
Tyson on board. Tyson Foods made a big announcement recently, saying they will phase out “human antibiotics” from their broiler chickens over the next two years. This is certainly an important step Read More >
May 6, 2015
UPDATE 5/11/15: By late afternoon Friday, May 8, more than 24,000 comments had been submitted on the recommendations made by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. By comparison, the last iteration of the Dietary Guidelines recommendations, in 2010, collected less than 2,000.
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has been involved in ongoing efforts to keep the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recommendations on lowered meat consumption and sustainability measures in the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines (jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, and due out sometime this fall). The extended comment period ends May 8, which means we all have 3 short days to submit a public comment! In case you need some talking points, we’re pasting CLF’s Food System Policy Program’s comment below. Also check out the My Plate, My Planet website to read fact sheets on the Dietary Guidelines (developed here at CLF) and submit your own comment. Read More >
May 5, 2015
Michele Speaks-March and Erich March in the now-closed Apples and Oranges Fresh Market.
There was no way Michele Speaks-March was going to sell chips and soda in her Apples and Oranges Fresh Market, a grocery store she and her husband Erich opened in the North Avenue area of Baltimore in 2013. Her vision was to provide fresh, healthy food to an underserved community, not function as just another corner store that happened to also sell fresh produce. Two years later, her store was no longer in business. Read More >