March 3, 2015
Last month, just a few days after Mardi Gras, hundreds of aquaculture farmers, business leaders, scientists and policymakers converged on New Orleans for the annual Aquaculture America conference. A wide range of fields were represented: food fish, baitfish, zebrafish for genetic research, shellfish, shrimp, and algae for food, fuel and feed. I delivered a talk titled “Public Health Perspectives on Aquaculture,” (abstract) which I presented in a Seafood and Health session. Here are some “notes from the road” highlighting what I found Read More >
March 2, 2015
One of my first experiences on a farm opened my eyes to the fascinating interconnectedness of an agricultural system. For this reason, I find it truly rewarding to share in people’s excitement when they visit the aquaponics project. It was on that first farm visit that I realized agriculture meant more than growing a head of lettuce in a faraway field; it meant growing and nurturing a community of organisms, from the chickens that fertilize the soil to the microbes that break down their waste and the people that consume the food. Aquaponics takes these relationships out from hiding. Read More >
February 24, 2015
Screening of Food Chain$ at Red Emma’s, Baltimore.
“Anyone can give charity but to give justice to someone who demands it is harder to do.” —quotation from the film Food Chain$
On Thursday, February 12, more than 125 people came out to Red Emma’s Bookstore and Café for a screening and discussion of the new documentary film Food Chain$. The event, co-sponsored by The Baltimore Food & Faith Project and The Marc Steiner Show, revealed how the historical injustices of farm labor persist even today in our food supply chain, and how large produce buyers like fast food and supermarkets are complicit Read More >
February 23, 2015
Sid Lerner, Peggy Neu, Mark Ruffalo at ClimateWeek NYC.
Meatless Monday advocates are making an impact at home, in their cities, and on school campuses across the nation. At a brunch during Climate Week NYC, Mark Ruffalo shared that he practices Meatless Monday with his family as a way to mitigate climate change while opening their doors to cuisine and cultures from around the globe. In January, NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal introduced a resolution to recognize Meatless Monday in NYC for the health of residents and the environment. Meanwhile, young advocates like Cindy Kiefer are having an impact on college campuses nationwide. Read More >
February 20, 2015
Facilities for food storage and preparation, as well as community events, under construction at Farming 4 Hunger
In a potential windfall for Maryland farmers and community food security advocates, the Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would give farmers a tax credit for donating their produce to eligible organizations. The credit would be for 50 percent of the food donation’s wholesale value (75 percent if the produce is certified organic) up to a total of $5,000 per farmer for the tax years 2015-2017.
The bill also re-establishes the Hub and Spoke task force, which was charged with implementing a program for improving fresh farm food access for working poor and low-income communities in Southern Maryland. Read More >
February 20, 2015
The new Dietary Guidelines are out. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) submitted the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee this week to the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can access the 571-page report here. The DGAC is composed of clinicians and scientists who’ve made a sound set of recommendations based on the science regarding Read More >
February 19, 2015
The thought of anything being able to grow locally may be difficult to imagine amid the frozen ground of February in Baltimore, but farming season has already begun. Crops must be planned in advance, seeds must be purchased, and labor must be organized, which can be difficult for small-scale farmers during a time of year when revenue is not as strong. One method to help sustain a farm is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby members of a community pay a farmer up front for a share of the anticipated harvest, which arrives weeks later in the season. Read More >
February 16, 2015
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden during a visit to Recirculating Farms Coalition.
At the Recirculating Farms Coalition, we continually work to support development of and collaboration in water-based, eco-efficient farms—and on February 2, we got some very exciting news!
We’ve been awarded a New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support training and mentoring for urban farmers in innovative growing methods like recirculating hydroponics, aquaculture and aquaponics, combined with traditional soil-based farming. AND the announcement came with an in-person visit from USDA’s Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and various USDA staff from Louisiana and Washington, DC! Read More >
February 12, 2015
The Delmarva Peninsula
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future was one of the sponsors of the recent Annapolis Summit 2015 organized and conducted by The Daily Record and The Mark Steiner Show on WEAA-FM. I attended the summit, and asked Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh a question about poultry contracting and the tournament pricing system (which I’ll explain later) that is common in the poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula.
The number of broilers produced in the United States has increased 1,400 percent since 1950, while the number of poultry growing-operations has declined by 98 percent . Approximately 525 million broilers are raised annually on the Eastern Shore alone, which is nearly 6 percent of the nation’s production on .05 percent of U.S. landmass. Those birds produce 42 million cubic feet of waste a year, enough to fill the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building weekly.  Read More >
February 10, 2015
Olivia on a farm with baby goat.
Urban farming was my one and only obsession in high school: the first idea I could latch onto, and eventually commit to as a passion. The problem was, for a while at least, that I didn’t know much about it. It started with a tenth grade field trip to an urban homestead-style garden in Hampden, where beautiful people in cool clothes wandered amongst the beautiful plants they’d grown for themselves. Soon I was following a bunch of blogs that provided me with pages of similar imagery. But it was just imagery. I figured I could get some dirt and floral shorts and I would be well on my way. I didn’t actually set foot on a farm again until the end of my senior year of high school. Read More >