April 23, 2019

Immigration Reform Is Food System Reform

Lacey Gaechter

Lacey Gaechter

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

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

Would you apply for a job that requires bending over for about nine hours a day to pick fruits or vegetables? Would you want a job that offered employee housing that didn’t have running water or electricity? What if your employer didn’t have to comply with minimum wage laws or child labor laws, didn’t have to pay overtime, didn’t have to provide insurance or workers’ comp, and you weren’t allowed to unionize? Not interested? Fair enough, neither are the vast majority of US citizens. According to the most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey, 75 percent of all crop labor in the United States is done by immigrants from Central America and Mexico, and about half of all crop workers surveyed reported being in the country illegally. Read More >

March 27, 2019

Maryland Legislature Supports Healthy Food Access

Sarah Goldman

Sarah Goldman

Senior Program Coordinator

Food System Policy Program

For many Maryland residents who struggle to access healthy, affordable food, transportation is the missing link. The Maryland Legislature is addressing the challenge through a bill introduced this legislative session.

The Complete Streets – Access to Healthy Food bill, which aims to guide the Department of Transportation toward explicitly considering healthy food access, would prioritize transit options for accessing healthy food markets without a personal vehicle, and it defines “food desert,” as well. It has been heard in both chambers of the Maryland legislature. If passed and signed into law, this legislation would take effect on June 1, 2019. Read More >

February 28, 2019

Cafeteria Managers Dive Deep into Food Systems Thinking

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

There are 80,000 students in the Baltimore City public school system, and more than 150 people who manage the cafeterias that serve breakfast and lunch to those students. Day to day, the managers are kept busy with logistics and regulations so their cafeterias can run smoothly. But last month, they got a chance to step back and think about food systems as a whole.

“This was the first time anything like this has happened with our cafeteria managers,” said Laura Genello, who helped run the professional day that encouraged cafeteria managers to think broadly and get creative about how they feed school children. Genello adapted a  lesson from FoodSpan, the Center for a Livable Future’s high school curriculum, to run the training that focused on food marketing. Read More >

January 28, 2019

What Americans Want in the Farm Bill

Lacey Gaechter

Lacey Gaechter

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

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

With debates over the 2018 Farm Bill now in our rearview mirror, this is the time for food citizens to start advocating for our next Farm Bill, and a project of the Center for A Livable Future (CLF) offers insight into what the American people want to see in the 2023 version.

So how do we want our food policies to reflect our food priorities? According to CLF’s 2018 National Farm Bill Poll of 1,005 registered US voters, rolled out as part of the Food Citizen Project, only one in five of us are familiar with the Farm Bill. In fact, nearly half of us have never heard of the bill, despite the fact that it’s arguably the piece of legislation that affects our food system more than any other. Read More >

January 14, 2019

New York Town Goes Meatless, Wants to Do It Again

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

How do you inspire a community to give up meat one day a week for 12 weeks? In Bedford, New York, where more than 300 households took up the Bedford 2020 Meatless Monday challenge last year, some of the motivation came from learning the connections between meat and climate change.

Working with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and the Meatless Monday campaign, the environmental grassroots group known as Bedford 2020 was able to offer science-based information that moved the community. One of the promotions from the challenge reads: “Global livestock productions creates more greenhouse gas than the entire transportation sector.” Read More >

January 7, 2019

Food Trends to Make an Impact in 2019

Becky Ramsing

Becky Ramsing

Senior Program Officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

As you make resolutions and goals for 2019, what’s on your radar? Climate change and our planet’s health are big news stories these days, but if you are like most people, they likely feel unconnected to your daily life, or just plain overwhelming. After all, climate change is a story that began during the Industrial Revolution, as global policies and practices since then have contributed to growing emissions and environmental degradation —and much of that environmental degradation can be attributed to large corporations and businesses. In fact, since 1988 more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to only 25 corporate and state producers, according to the Carbon Majors Report. But animal agriculture also plays a major role, with 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gases attributed to the production of animals for food. Clearly, the most significant solutions rest in the hands of policymakers and industry—but there’s a lot consumers can do, too. Read More >

January 2, 2019

Policies and Resources: Poultry Production on Delmarva

Jennifer Anderson

Jennifer Anderson

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

My introduction to the Delmarva Peninsula occurred during a lecture in which Dr. Meghan Davis presented some incredible statistics about the region. Dr. Davis described Delmarva as having one of the highest densities of poultry production in the world. Sadly, this concentration of poultry production is generating large amounts of agricultural runoff (manure, nitrogen, etc.) that pollutes the Chesapeake Bay.1 The runoff creates marine dead zones (areas unable to sustain life due to dissolved oxygen depletion2) and alters the microbial compositions and ecosystem functions within the bay.1,3 I subsequently learned that many Delmarva farmers are unhappy with the predominant model of poultry production in the region and its detrimental effects. What inhibits these farmers from adopting alternative production models? Read More >

December 10, 2018

Enlightenment in the Food System Lab

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

“Before I started at the Center for a Livable Future,” says Kenai McFadden, “I didn’t even know what a food system is.”

A Bloomberg School graduate student focusing on Health Education and Health Communication, Kenai’s full-time field placement at the Food System Lab has piqued new interests and expanded the way he thinks about community health.

The Food System Lab is an urban teaching farm in Baltimore City that operates on the grounds of Baltimore’s Cylburn Arboretum. Read More >

November 5, 2018

Joyce Smith, 1952 – 2018

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The Baltimore food community will deeply miss one of its most passionate members, Joyce Smith, who died recently of heart failure at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 66. She was known and loved by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) for all of her work on behalf of her community, and toward making food systems healthier, more resilient and more equitable.

In her role as a community relations coordinator at the CLF, she connected researchers and food system reform advocates to her community through Operation ReachOut SouthWest (OROSW), which she helped to found. As part of OROSW’s strategic plan, the CLF partnered with Joyce to conduct the first community food assessment in Baltimore. Read More >

September 27, 2018

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 >