June 23, 2015
Haystacks, Dayton, Ohio, 1905.
How can local food policy councils in Ohio band together to enhance effectiveness? Can they increase access to healthy, affordable foods? Can they ensure equitable engagement? These questions were a few of many explored at the Ohio State Food Policy Council Summit, held earlier this month. The Summit brought together members of local and regional food policy councils from across the state and gathered in Columbus, Ohio, for their annual meeting.
Food and agriculture is the largest sector of Ohio’s economy, accounting for $105 billion of the state’s economy. Even though Governor Kasich dissolved Read More >
June 19, 2015
School lunch law. On Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. This law, passed in 2010 and championed by the First Lady, has successfully brought more healthy food into public schools. But the “pizza is a vegetable” members of Congress want to chip away at it. They say that the law makes it too difficult for schools to comply—but 95 percent of school districts are already complying with the standards. Here’s a petition launched by the American Heart Association in support of keeping the laws intact. I hope every public health professional signs on. Read More >
June 12, 2015
This blogpost was co-authored with Claire Fitch.
Industrial egg and turkey integrators are in the midst of a catastrophic outbreak of several Asian-origin Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (HPAI) viruses: H5N2, H5N8, and H5N1. It is difficult to keep up with the advancement and data collected by the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), but as of June 9, 222 separate reported incidents had affected more than 47 million birds. Fewer than 8,000 of the birds have been grown in small, so-called “backyard” operations. The remainder are from commercial, industrial Read More >
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 >