What Do We Do with All This Poop?

Lacey Gaechter

Lacey Gaechter

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Figure 1. Click to enlarge.

This post is the third in a series—Connecting Agriculture Policy to Your Health—by CLF-Lerner Fellow Lacey Gaechter.

What do we do with all this poop? This question has been central to the field of public health since its very inception. John Snow, the “father of public health,” ended a nineteenth-century cholera epidemic in London by deducing that the source of this disease was drinking water contaminated with sewage.

This important question is also part of the current debates in the joint House and Senate conference committee (see figure 1) on the 2018 Farm Bill. In this case, the poop under consideration is from farmed animals instead of humans. The House version of the next Farm Bill would Read More >

Is Iowa Gaining Traction against the Hog Industry?

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

DeSoto Lake, Iowa

Call it what you will: a crossroads, a turning point, a tipping point. Iowans might simply call it progress, or rather, the prospect of progress. After more than 20 years of pushing back against the industrial-scale hog-raising operations in their communities, grassroots organizations might be making the behemoth budge.

Until recently, the corporate hog industry in Iowa has been impenetrable. Twenty-three years ago, in 1995, the state passed legislation that allows confined animal feeding operations, also called CAFOs or “confinements,” to exist. There was very little public outcry, and hundreds of confinements popped up, mostly in northern Iowa. Read More >

Going Further with Food

Jessi Silverman

Jessi Silverman

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Happy Registered Dietitian Day! As a nutrition and dietetics student, I am thrilled that this year’s National Nutrition Month®, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has a sustainability message: “Go Further with Food.” The idea is to maximize the health benefits of your food choices while minimizing wasted food.

As you likely have heard, wasted food is an enormous problem—the US Department of Agriculture estimated that a stunning 31 percent of food is sent to landfills by retail outlets and consumers. Read More >

Air Monitoring Legislation May Be Path Forward for Health on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

For years, residents of the Eastern Shore of Maryland have been asking their local legislators and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to help them with a local problem. They live in communities that are home to industrial-scale poultry operations, where hundreds of thousands of birds are raised in chicken houses next to residential neighborhoods, and they feel that their health is suffering as a result. The stench from the chicken houses is bad enough, they say, but they must also contend with health problems such as asthma and persistent sinus infections, runny noses and headaches that they believe are a result of those poultry operations. Are their health problems caused by the ammonia and other pollutants blown from chicken houses through exhaust fans? There aren’t enough data to answer that question. Read More >

A New Year’s Resolution You Might Actually Keep

Jessi Silverman

Jessi Silverman

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. How many of us have resolved on New Years past to join a gym, keep a journal, or learn a new language, and end up leaving it by the wayside come February? January 1 can be a powerful impetus to initiate behavior changes, but after that it can be very difficult to incorporate these changes into daily life in a sustainable way.

Perhaps you have resolved to eat less meat in 2018, and for good reason. The typical American diet Read More >

How a World War I Rationing Program Could be Cause for Thanks This Holiday Season

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director Emeritus

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Now that the holidays are in full swing, many will gather together with food, family, and friends to celebrate the season as 2017 closes with a bounty of uncertainty. We can be thankful that many American leaders on state and local levels pledged to do their part for the environment, even as federal support for the Paris Climate Accords has waned. Citizens at home can also play a role in acting for the greater good of the world while celebrating the best of what nature has to offer: plant-based foods. It wouldn’t be the first time Americans came together at their tables for a good cause.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Meatless Monday movement. Before it became a hashtag on social media it was a World War I-era food rationing program that asked Americans to express their patriotism by giving up meat one day a week to help feed soldiers and citizens abroad. While its goals have evolved in the last century, the core idea remains as powerful as ever: individual actions can have a broad impact when practiced on a large scale. Read More >

COP23 Recognizes – Sort of – Livestock’s Role in Climate Change

Erin Biehl

Erin Biehl

Senior Program Coordinator

Food System Sustainability and Public Health Program

When I arrived at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, I faced a giant elephant in the room. Or rather, a giant beefy steer. Either way, there was an urgent climate change solution being largely ignored at the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). That urgent climate change solution is to reduce meat consumption. Read More >

Herenboeren: Gentlemen Farmers Changing the Dutch Food System

Laura Genello

Laura Genello

Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This post is the ninth in a series – Letters from the Low Country – about food and agriculture in the Netherlands, written by Laura Genello as she studies organic agriculture at Wageningen University.

After years of working to support farmers at a Dutch agricultural organization, Geert van der Veer wanted to change the system. Dutch agricultural land prices are some of the highest in the world, and Geert met many farmers who found their businesses squeezed by low prices and increasing costs. He saw many farms disappear, and other farmers forced to take out a mortgage on their property just to survive. Read More >

Wilson, Roosevelt, Obama – First Ladies Lead on Food

Victoria Brown

Victoria Brown

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

It’s almost impossible to imagine now—sheep grazing on the White House lawn, tending their lambs and grass with care. Perhaps just as unfathomable is that this scene was organized and made possible by the First Lady. But in 1917, Edith Wilson and her husband, President Woodrow Wilson, strove to be the “model American family helping the war effort.” Mrs. Wilson was the President’s aide and confidante in supporting the troops who departed American shores to fight alongside the Allies in Europe. She organized war bond rallies featuring celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks Read More >

Recent CAFO Study is Critically Flawed

Carolyn Hricko

Carolyn Hricko

Program Officer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

As city councils, policymakers, and citizen groups consider proposed new locations or expansions of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), they rely on scientific evidence to help them weigh the potential impacts of CAFOs on the health of their communities. When asked to assess such proposals, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) refer to a considerable and growing body of rigorously conducted scientific evidence that suggests there are connections between living near CAFOs and adverse health outcomes. Curiously, in contrast to this evidence Read More >