March 21, 2014
Carbon dioxide emissions, 1890-2007
Climate change alarm. The AAAS made a rare policy intervention, urging the U.S. to act swiftly to reduce carbon emissions and lower risks of climate catastrophe. According to this story in The Guardian, “scientists said they were hoping to persuade Americans to look at climate change as an issue of risk management.” Unfortunately, it seems that climate scientists worldwide view the negative consequences of climate change as a fait accompli. What we have to do now is mitigate the damage and manage the risk. Next week, the United Nations’ climate science panel, the IPCC, will gather in Yokohama, Japan, and discuss the consequences to rainfall, heat waves, sea level, oceans, fisheries, and food security. Read More >
March 20, 2014
Dietetic intern Bernice Chu did community-based food work at the Franciscan Center, 2013.
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) just became better equipped to work within a broader food systems approach. This month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) published a new set of Standards of Professional Performance (SOPP) in Sustainable, Resilient, and Healthy Food and Water Systems—this is one huge step forward in advancing the profession to more readily and effectively promote healthy food systems. Created by a working group within the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these SOPPs are a key resource Read More >
March 14, 2014
Lucky pigs – Canada will phase out sow gestation crates
A chicken in every pot. “When President Herbert Hoover dreamed of putting “a chicken in every pot,” chicken was a luxury dish more expensive than beef. In 1930, whole dressed chicken retailed for $6.48 a pound in today’s currency.” This excerpt is from yesterday’s column by Nicholas Kristof, which gives us some insight into “the meat oligopoly’s dominance of rural America.” Our own Bob Martin is quoted, speaking eloquently about hog manure.
How can we protect the right to food? Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, delivered his final report this week to the UN Human Rights Council, and in it he said that the world has to do a radical 180-degree turn in how it produces food. From the report: ““The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. However, it will not be enough to refine the logic of our food systems – it must instead be reversed.” He urges food democracy reforms that begin in villages and benefit smallholders—a bottom-up approach. Read More >
March 13, 2014
Good garlic on Angela’s farm
Last week I had the great good fortune to attend the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The conference was a gathering of young and old, men and women, experienced farmers, and those new to the game, all united in their belief that we can have an agricultural system that nurtures land and people rather than the current industrial model that tends to favor profit above all else. Workshops ranged from soil science to permaculture to weed prevention to food safety to Read More >
March 12, 2014
Water sample taken from a manure lagoon in Taylor County, Iowa.
You’ve probably heard that industrial food animal production (often called “factory farming”) is bad for you, the environment, and animal welfare. But have you ever thought about the people who live near the sites where thousands or hundreds of thousands of animals are kept? I’ve spoken to people who cannot open their windows or enjoy their property due to the stench (and toxic gases) in the air, and who sometimes cannot safely drink or bathe in their water due to contamination. Sometimes, depending on the direction of the wind, people find a layer of manure Read More >
March 10, 2014
Child of a migratory farm laborer, cabbage crop, Texas, 1942
President Obama and the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate have all declared that reform of the United States’ unfair and broken immigration system is on their respective agendas for this year. While Speaker John Boehner and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have backtracked somewhat recently, the interest in reforming the current fiasco is there.
It has been estimated by Farmworker Justice that there are 4.5 million farm workers and family members in the United States, and that up to 75 percent of them are undocumented. Read More >
March 7, 2014
Increase inspection line speeds? Help FWW say No.
Praise for TEDx. We congratulate our colleagues Peggy Neu of the Meatless Monday campaign and Andrew Gunther of Animal Welfare Approved for their stand-out talks at TEDx Manhattan. Well done!
Bye-bye, bivalves. In aquaculture news, increasing acidification in oceans has begun to wreak havoc with a sustainable seafood option. According to this story in the Vancouver Sun, “human-caused carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are being absorbed by the ocean and may have pushed local waters through a ‘tipping point’ of acidity beyond which shellfish cannot survive.” CLF’s Jillian Fry says that “farmed bivalves, like clams, oysters, and scallops, are a very sustainable seafood option, but ocean acidification is affecting this food production method.” One company in British Columbia has lost 10 million scallops in three years and laid off a significant portion of their staff. Read More >
March 6, 2014
Reading journalist Heather Tirado Gilligan’s recently published article, “Food Deserts Aren’t the Problem: Getting fresh fruits and vegetables doesn’t make poor people healthier,” in Slate was an exercise in frustration. The author argues that a recent study published in Health Affairs demonstrates the essential failure of supermarket redevelopment policies to improve health in low-income “food desert” neighborhoods. In Ms. Gilligan’s article, you can find the typical errors Read More >
March 4, 2014
This is the first in a series of posts about food waste.
This year, Bloomberg School students, faculty, and staff will have one more reason to think before they toss. At the School, 3,000 small composting bins will begin to appear underneath office desks as trash cans start to become sparser. Department by department, Environmental Services Operations will introduce a new desk-side composting initiative, making composting as accessible as recycling. Read More >
March 4, 2014
Ask a child to explain the “three Rs.” Will they tell you about reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic? Not likely. This generation of American schoolchildren are much more deft with “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
CLF researcher Roni Neff, who heads up the Food System Sustainability and Public Health program, is spending a lot of time focusing on food waste—and what we can do about it. One of the points that Neff hopes to make clear to a wide audience is that while reusing and recycling are important, we should be focusing most wholeheartedly on the “reduce” part of that mantra. Composting and recycling are great, but by the time food is headed for the landfill or compost bin Read More >