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 >

Food Systems Advocacy in Rural America: Don’t Say Environment

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

“We don’t say the word ‘environment,’” says Mark Winne about his food systems work in rural regions. “If we have to bring it up, we talk about ‘clean air’ and ‘clean water.’”

The cultural schisms in the U.S.— rural versus urban, liberal versus conservative—are hardly new. So what’s the best way to make positive, progressive food system change in rural, politically right-leaning communities? The people who have been negotiating this divide through food policy councils (FPCs), task forces or other multi-stakeholder initiatives have advice. 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 >

Withdrawal from TPP: What It Means for the US Food System

Krycia Cowling

Krycia Cowling

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Cargo ship, 1973

The public health community and the current administration align on very few issues – and yet the Republican president’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) might be a win for food systems and public health. Could it be?

A trade agreement such as the TPP is huge in scope—it affects many different stakeholders in different ways. In 2014 and 2015, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future bloggers explored negative implications on issues such as antibiotic resistance, food sovereignty, and the ability of corporations to sue countries whose policies affect their profits. Read More >

Maryland Legislators Dodge Questions about Poultry Industry

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Monica Brooks (l) and Margaret Barnes.

“I consider myself an environmentalist, but also our job is to provide jobs for people… And unfortunately for your interests, the chicken farming industry provides a lot of jobs on the Eastern Shore.” This was the response from Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D–27) when asked if he would support legislation to halt the expansion of industrialized, “mega” chicken houses on the Eastern Shore. “Whether you like it or not, agriculture is still the Number One business in this state. You can’t cripple the industry,” he said. Read More >

Policy in Action: Bringing a Grocery Store to East Baltimore

Kristin Dawson

Kristin Dawson

Guest Blogger

Baltimore Development Corporation

producesalHave you ever considered getting up before dawn to stand in line for a new grocery store? Residents in East Baltimore did just that on November 3, 2016, to welcome the Save a Lot opening at 2509 East Monument Street. The line to enter the store extended down the block and around the corner well before the store was scheduled to open at 7am.

This area of East Baltimore was one of the most entrenched food deserts in the city before the Save a Lot opened. It had been years Read More >

A Red State Rejects the Right to Farm

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

oklahoma-old-map-1917Something interesting happened in Oklahoma. On November 8, this state, typically associated with a rural, farming and ranching way of life, did as expected: the majority of Oklahomans (65 percent) voted for the Republican presidential candidate and all seven of the state’s electoral votes went red. But something a little unusual happened, too. That same day, 60 percent of Oklahoma voters opposed an amendment typically associated with the Republican agenda—the so-called “right to farm.” In essence, Oklahoma elected a right-wing Read More >

The New Office of Urban Ag: Thoughts on the Proposed Act

Raychel Santo

Raychel Santo

Sr. Research Program Coordinator

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

scope-of-urban-agAfter hearing rumors of its existence for months, I eagerly sat down to read the text of the new Urban Agriculture Act proposed by Senator Debbie Stabenow. Stabenow, a member of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has introduced legislation that would establish an Office of Urban Agriculture (akin to its Office of the Chief Economist, Office of Advocacy and Outreach, and New and Beginning Farmer Office) at USDA. After reading the text, I’m enthusiastic but I have some concerns, mainly in that too much emphasis has been placed on the (dubious) potential economic and production wins offered by urban ag, while giving short shrift to the sociocultural and ecosystem benefits. Before I get to that, though, here is an overview of the plan.

This office would coordinate policies related to urban agriculture across the Department. The legislation—expected to cost $460 million Read More >

Wasted Food and a New Spin on the 3 Rs

Erin Biehl

Erin Biehl

Senior Program Coordinator

Food System Sustainability and Public Health Program

World War I-era poster by the U.S. Food Administration

World War I-era poster by the U.S. Food Administration

This blogpost was co-written by Erin Biehl and Karen Banks.

For decades, we’ve heard the slogan: reduce, reuse, recycle. Those familiar “three Rs” are often represented by the well-recognized Mobius Loop, spinning infinitely on bins, packages, and bottles nationwide.

The three Rs and the symbol are intended to educate consumers about the waste hierarchy, which tells us that the prevention, reuse, and recycling of materials is far preferable to sending them to a landfill—and by some measures the campaign is working because recycling and composting have increased 500 percent since 1980 in the U.S. On the other hand, a considerable portion of the waste stream still eludes us: food. Each year, 52.4 million tons of food is thrown away in the U.S. That’s the equivalent of 1,200 USS Missouri battleships full of food. Another 10.1 million tons of food never make if off the farm field. Read More >

Community Food Assessments: A Wonderful Tool

Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith

Community Relations Coordinator

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

cfa-oroswWhen the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future (CLF) approached OROSW (Operation ReachOut SouthWest) with the idea of community food assessment study, we first had to figure out what a community food assessment, or CFA, is. Essentially, a CFA is a survey that researchers use to get a sense of how much food security or food insecurity a neighborhood is experiencing. We used it to survey people in the neighborhood and get their thoughts on food availability in southwest Baltimore.

We learned so much from the CFA findings. We found that not only are food deserts prevalent, but also that many residents travel outside Southwest Baltimore for their primary grocery shopping—to 29 different supermarkets and other food outlets. We learned that Read More >