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 >

Meat the Midwest

Jill Thiede

Jill Thiede

Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

I’m in my graduate class of public health nutrition students—many of whom are vegans, vegetarians or plant-based eaters—when I pull out my Tupperware filled with leftover grilled steak kabobs. I feel like I’m serving BBQ at a PETA meeting. My cohort isn’t particularly judgmental, and even though I’ve been eating meat my whole life, I feel guilty about biting into my (juicy, red) meat in front of them.

I grew up in southern Illinois—emphasis on southern—which is nowhere near Chicago. A meal wasn’t a meal without a meat entrée Read More >

Eating in Italy: Facts and Fiction

Victoria Brown

Victoria Brown

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

On every street corner, small cafes with standing-height countertops serve cappuccino, espresso, thick, pudding-like hot chocolate and more to hundreds of commuting Italians. Each morning, as I joined the crush of commuters on Turin’s underground tube station, I looked forward to that first sip of frothy coffee-milk. The accessibility and abundance of coffee on every street corner was one of my favorite parts of life in Italy.

Life in Italy wasn’t all I expected however. In many ways it was exciting, surprising and new; in other ways, it was more similar to life in America than I had envisioned. Read More >

How Goats Saved the Family Farm

Laura Genello

Laura Genello

Guest Blogger

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Goats feed at the trough during milking

This post is the sixth 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.

On a blistering afternoon in June, I set up my tent in a sloping pasture and looked out across the hills—golden brown fields of grains, and wildflowers lining the dusty road. In defiance of my hay fever, I would be spending the next 10 days camping on a 57-acre pasture-based goat dairy in Belgium, as part of a course on organic agriculture. I’ve always been intrigued by the stories of farmers. There’s a common refrain in the agricultural history of the last 50 years: go big or get out. As farms become increasingly large and specialized, small-scale farmers struggle to compete. But the farmers at Chévrerie de la Croix de la Grise, nestled in the rolling hills of the Wallonia region, refused to follow the conventional wisdom. Read More >

When Replacing Meat, Some Foods Do Less Harm than Others

Raychel Santo

Raychel Santo

Sr. Research Program Coordinator

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

If you care about environmental, health, social justice and animal welfare issues, it can be exasperating to navigate the complexities of what to eat. (Assuming that you have that privilege, of course.) Is almond milk actually a better alternative than cows’ milk? Almonds require lots of water to produce, after all, but cows use a lot, too. Plus, there are all those debates about the health effects of dairy. What about a processed bean burger versus a burger made from local grass-fed beef? The beans are shipped from far away Read More >

Maryland Antibiotics Legislation May Have Little Impact

Claire Fitch

Claire Fitch

Program Officer, Food System Policy Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This post was co-authored by Claire Fitch, Carolyn Hricko, Bob Martin, Keeve Nachman and Jim Yager.

The headlines say that the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act of 2017 will make all chickens raised in Maryland free of antibiotics. While this sounds promising, the legislation has several deficiencies and will not achieve its sponsors’ intent.

A gutted version of the bill has recently passed in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates and is on its way to reconciliation Read More >

Pruitt at EPA Will Mean Trouble for Food Supply and Climate

Carolyn Hricko

Carolyn Hricko

Program Officer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This blogpost was co-authored by Claire Fitch and Carolyn Hricko.

Next week, the full Senate will vote on a potentially disastrous appointment to the President’s cabinet: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only does AG Pruitt have a history of antagonism toward laws designed to protect natural resources—like air and water—from pollution, but he also has expressed a desire to disempower the very agency he’s been nominated to lead. There is every reason to believe that he would pull back on strategies designed to mitigate climate change, and that he would do the same with rules intended to protect the public’s health and environment. Read More >

CLF at the Future Harvest CASA Conference 2017

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Photo by Future Harvest.

Sometimes electrical wiring saves the chickens. Radish plants can feed the soil in winter.

These pearls of wisdom and many others were shared earlier this month at the 2017 Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) Conference. Three CLF staffers attended sessions at the conference to broaden their perspectives on how food systems can be improved to become not only more resilient but more profitable. Here are some of the things we learned. Read More >