February 3, 2016

Trade Agreements Could Stymie Nutrition Labeling

Krycia Cowling

Krycia Cowling

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Health Minister of Ecuador Carina Vance, shows graphic labeling on nutritional content. Photo: Andes

Health Minister of Ecuador Carina Vance shows labeling on nutritional content. Photo: Andes

Last month, a Baltimore City councilman proposed legislation to require warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages. This move by Councilman Nick Mosby follows similar proposals in California and New York and aligns with broader efforts to mandate more prominent nutrition labels on packaged foods and beverages. National laws of this type have passed recently in Chile, Indonesia, Peru, and Ecuador.

As a group, these are referred to as “front-of-package” labels and have been endorsed by the Institute of Medicine. Read More >

January 28, 2016

A Vision for Los Angeles: Urban Ag Paradise

Carren Jao

Carren Jao

Freelance Journalist

Los Angeles

Jardin del Rio Community Garden

Jardin del Rio Community Garden

Drive through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park, and Chinatown and one can see a glimpse of gritty Los Angeles. Industrial warehouses and low-income housing dot the roadways as the Los Angeles River, freeways and train tracks slice through the neighborhood. In countless movies, this landscape has always been depicted as a wasteland of concrete and grime, where things are more gray and brown.

But a new report produced by architecture firm Perkins + Will and the LA River Revitalization Corporation explores a tantalizing what-if—what if these river adjacent communities could be green instead of gray?

Simply called Urban Agricultural Plan (UAP), the report examines the possibility of turning the 660 acres of land stitched together by the Los Angeles River into an agricultural hub where food isn’t only cultivated, but also processed and distributed. Doing so would create local jobs Read More >

January 22, 2016

Remembering Sid Mintz

Anne Palmer

Anne Palmer

Program Director

Food Communities & Public Health Program

mintzHUBI am one of many who called Sid Mintz a friend. After reading volumes of tributes and accolades since his death, it’s clear to me that this is not an exclusive club. In my naiveté, I didn’t realize the depths of his contributions to the world until he died, so I won’t pretend that I have anything to offer about Sid’s scholarship that has not already been said.

I tried to be a good student. I read what he told me to read but not much beyond that. I met Sid 10 years ago because of my position at the Center for a Livable Future (Thanks, Polly, Bob and Shawn). I became Sid’s friend because we enjoyed hanging out. For whatever mysterious reasons, Sid chose me (and the three fabulous males I live with) to share dinners, laughs and emails.

I had the foresight to save many of the emails we exchanged over the years. Here are a few that reflect what I consider Quintessential Sid. Read More >

January 15, 2016

CLF Aquaculture Links: January 2016

Dave Love

Dave Love

Assistant Scientist, Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

AQ-news-300The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2015 – 2020 were released last week and many public health and sustainable food system experts were dismayed over the exclusion of sustainability considerations. It appears politics played a large role in deciding not to include sustainability–which was in the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which the DGA is based on. The specific guidelines for seafood look very similar to past dietary guidelines; Americans are advised to eat two servings per week, which would double current average consumption. Read the seafood related guidelines at the DGA website, CLF’s reaction to the DGA on our blog, and our public comment with suggestions on what to include in the DGA’s seafood recommendations, which we submitted in May while the guidelines were under development.
Read More >

January 14, 2016

In Annapolis Policymakers Claim to Protect Farmers, Protect Bay

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Environmental Integrity Project“Farmers are the best preservationists,” said Maryland Senate President Thomas V. (Mike) Miller. “They’re God-fearing, law-abiding, loyal, hardworking people. And agriculture is the Number One business in Maryland.”

Yesterday morning the Maryland State Assembly began its session, and kicking it off was a summit convened in Annapolis by Baltimore radio show host Marc Steiner at WEAA (88.9 FM) and cosponsored by the CLF. The issues that seemed to burn the brightest were those around education, felons’ voting rights, and the opioid epidemic, as well as a short discussion about police brutality—although questions of conservation and agriculture Read More >

January 13, 2016

Dietary Guidelines Confusing on Red Meat

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

USDA MyPlate, 2010

USDA MyPlate, 2010

Last week the USDA and HHS released the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines. And while there are some evidence-based recommendations that make a lot of sense, there are some recommendations that leave us scratching our heads. There is also a disturbing omission of environmental concerns.

Perhaps the biggest piece of good news is that the Guidelines clearly call for a reduction in the consumption of “added sugars”—the new recommendation calls for a maximum 10 percent of daily calories. Could the agencies have gone a step further and specified that sodas and sugary drinks make up a big part of “added sugars?” Why, yes, they could have done that. Marion Nestle writes that “added sugars is a euphemism” Read More >

January 12, 2016

Ralph Loglisci 1971-2016

Robert Martin

Robert Martin

Director of Food System Policy

Center for a Livable Future

Ralph-radioThe food journalism and advocacy reform community lost an important member on January 8 when Ralph F. Loglisci succumbed to injuries sustained in October 2014. He was hit by a car while crossing the street in San Francisco, where he was attending a board meeting of the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN). At the time, Ralph was the Director of Digital Engagement and Outreach for FERN.

I first met Ralph when I was recruiting staff for the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production that was just getting off the ground in late 2004. The Commission, Read More >

December 29, 2015

Most Read Livable Future Stories of 2015

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

seminolewomanreadingWhat would a new year be without a “Top Ten” list? Without further ado, here are our most read stories from 2015. Enjoy your holiday reading!

#1 Lessons from Supermarket Failure in a Food Desert. The owners of Apples and Oranges Fresh Market in Baltimore had the best intentions. What went wrong? Kate McCleary, May 2015.

#2 What Restaurants Can Teach Us about Reducing Food Waste.The stems from chopped parsley infuse oil. Rabbits are stuffed with their own innards. What else are Brooklyn restaurants doing? Jessica Wapner, September 2015. Read More >

December 22, 2015

A View from the COP21 Sidelines

Raychel Santo

Raychel Santo

Program Coordinator

Center for a Livable Future

cop21-peace_climate_justiceLast week, I attended the United Nations Conference of the Parties Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris with my colleague Roni Neff. Roni wrote about our experiences getting out the word about the meat consumption to climate change, and she also wrote about how COP21 addressed public health issues. After Roni left Paris, I stuck around to participate in more COP21-related activities and protests, and these are my impressions from that week. Read More >

December 18, 2015

CLF Year in Review: Food Security, Climate Change, and Fond Farewell

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director Emeritus

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Bob Lawrence at the helm on the Chesapeake Bay, June 2014.

Bob Lawrence at the helm on the Chesapeake Bay, June 2014.

As the year winds down, so does my tenure at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. It’s been an amazing 19 years for me, and I look forward to watching my successor, Anthony So, lead the Center even further in its mission over the next 19 years. We have an extraordinary staff who are deeply knowledgeable about the food system and passionate in their efforts to make our food system healthier, more sustainable, and more just. I am honored to have worked with all of them and step down from my post with gratitude and affection for a marvelous team.

It’s been a busy year—here are some highlights from the intersection of public health and food system thinking.

The Baltimore uprising and reflections on food environments. Perhaps the most profound event in Baltimore this year was the uprising that took place this spring Read More >