October 30, 2014
The Beef Checkoff Program is funded by
a beef tax on producers.
Most consumers are familiar with the advertising campaigns promoting specific diet choices—for example, “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” featuring the baritone voice of Hollywood actor Sam Elliott, or “Got Milk?” or “Pork, the Other White Meat.” All these campaigns seek to influence consumer choices and increase demand for the specific promoted commodity, often at the expense of the other choices. But do you know how these multimillion dollar advertising campaigns are funded? Few people do.
These campaigns are funded by a mandatory tax on producers. In the case of beef cattle, there is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)–sanctioned $1 fee levied on every head of cattle sold in the U.S., with a comparable amount levied on imported beef. This tax Read More >
October 29, 2014
The first food pledge week was October 29 through November 4, 1917. Yes, 1917! It was an effort by the federal government, with President Woodrow Wilson at the helm, to introduce voluntary rationing of critical resources during World War I. Along with gasless Sundays, Americans were asked to practice meatless Mondays and wheatless Wednesdays.
In 1917, the passage of the Lever Act was intended to direct the conservation of food and fuel. United States Food Administrator Herbert Hoover, appointed by President Wilson, launched a campaign that same year in which homemakers were asked to sign a pledge to conserve food in support of war efforts. First Lady Edith Wilson was the first to sign the pledge. Pledge signers received a “Membership Window Card” to be displayed in their homes. Read More >
October 28, 2014
Chesapeake Food Policy Institute, Oct. 2014 / CLF
The participants’ passion energized the conference. Some talked about their work with mayors and city councils, while others described their frustrations finding inroads into certain groups. Participants spent time together over meals, team exercises, and free moments, and shared their success, struggles, and ambitions with one another. They generated ideas together, and some agreed to work together on future projects. Most expressed that the most valuable part of the Institute was being together to learn from one another.
On October 5-8, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future hosted the Chesapeake Food Policy Leadership Institute for food policy groups from the Chesapeake region. The conference took place at the Pearlstone Conference Center in Reisterstown, Maryland. The goal of the Institute was to build a network of food policy leaders who can increase their efficacy in leading food policy groups and improve their understanding of food policy actions. Read More >
October 24, 2014
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
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
Two 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
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
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
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 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 >