May 8, 2015

CLF Week in Links: Tyson, CRAU, and More

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

crau-logo

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

Submit Comments on the Dietary Guidelines

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

my-sustainable-plateUPDATE 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

Lessons from Supermarket Failure in a Food Desert

Kate McCleary

Kate McCleary

Senior Project Coordinator

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

MIchele Speaks-March and Erich March in the now-closed Apples and Oranges Fresh Market.

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 >

May 4, 2015

Meet Adam Kelliher, an Agent of Change at Langara College

Alana Ridge

Alana Ridge

Research Program Manager

Food Communities & Public Health Program, CLF

Meatless Monday at Langara College, Vancouver

Meatless Monday at Langara College, Vancouver

I am constantly amazed and inspired by the passion and dedication of the next generation to make a difference in this world. This week, we are hearing from a Canadian student named Adam Kelliher who studies at Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Adam founded the Langara Environmental Club and was instrumental in bringing Meatless Monday to campus. Thank you, Adam, for all that you do to protect the planet. ~ Alana

To begin, thank you to my formal instructors at Langara College for teaching me the academic side of environmentalism, and another thank you to the Vancouver community members who have taught me the practical side of environmentalism during my hundreds of hours spent volunteering. You have all been important in the contribution to Meatless Monday on the Langara campus because of the confidence, pride, and wisdom you’ve helped me discover. Read More >

May 1, 2015

Earthquakes and Food Insecurity in Nepal

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Pokhara Pame, Nepal, 2013.

Pokhara Pame, Nepal, 2013.

Nepal is heavy on our minds. The earthquake, aftershocks, and avalanches that have ravaged parts of the country since Saturday have led to food and water shortages, displacement, and the potential for disease outbreak. As many have noted, the infrastructure in Nepal was ill-equipped to deal with a disaster of this scale, as half the population lacked access to improved sanitation before these events and poor roads disconnected many remote villages from back-up sources of food and water.

The Nepali Government has predicted Read More >

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 >