There has been a lot of attention recently on the fact that emissions from agriculture and food production account for a significant proportion of the global total and must fall if we want to meet the UN climate goal of no more than 1.5 degrees warming. This attention and awareness are welcome, as is the willingness at an individual level in some countries to reduce meat and dairy consumption to help save the planet. For example, a third of consumers in the UK have reportedly either reduced or eliminated meat from their diet, while around half of the Dutch population call themselves “flexitarians.”
However, we need to be careful about oversimplifying things or prescribing a “one-size-fits-all”, western-centric, solution to the challenges of diet and climate. For any diet-related climate change solution to be sustainable, it must also address the problems of under nutrition, obesity, poverty, and economic development. Read More >
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 >
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 >
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 >
Does what you eat affect how well you think or whether you will develop dementia later in life?
Recently, researchers have explored the connection between diet and a healthy brain. Such studies focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and dementia, but several have attempted to look at concentration and performance on tests or other intellectual tasks. While some results point to low or high consumption of a single nutrient such as omega-3 fats or vitamin B12, or a single food, such as olive oil or fish, the reality is that people eat foods in combination. The food we eat may have additive synergistic effects or even negative effects on health. Read More >
This post appeared first on the EAT Stockholm Food Forum blog on 5 June, 2018.
The work that my colleagues and I do is focused on building a better food system—but what we are really trying to do is build a better world. The goal is simple: we want a healthier planet with healthier people living on it. The problems we tackle to work toward our goal, however, are rather complex. We tackle challenges such as nutrition, food security, environmental stewardship and land use—and while diet and food production have critical roles to play in each of these challenges, there’s no single solution. Ultimately, we need to think about systems of solutions. And reducing how much meat we consume is one part of that system. Read More >
Let’s imagine we’re at a vegetable farm in rural Vermont. The weather has been so perfect this year for growing carrots, spinach and squash that our farmer can’t harvest everything she’s grown. She won’t want to risk the expense of harvesting and transporting the veggies that retailers won’t buy because they look a little funny; she won’t be able to sell them if the markets are saturated; and she may not be able to find affordable farm labor to help her pick the crops and get them to their destinations. Some of those veggies bursting with nutrients and fiber will go uneaten, becoming part of what we call “on-farm food loss.”
Now let’s visit the home of a family suffering from food insecurity. Perhaps an elderly couple isn’t getting quite enough to eat. Or maybe an older teen is skipping meals so his younger sister can have more. Read More >
Patrick Brown, the founder of Impossible Foods (IF), has what may be an impossible-seeming goal: to make meat obsolete. His vision? To create “…uncompromisingly delicious and nutritious meat and dairy products that do not require vast expanses of grazing and feedcrop lands,” and that will win the marketplace against meat. And because meat substitution with plant-based foods could be one strategy to reduce diet-related disease and the environmental burden of animal agriculture, it’s a worthy goal. Read More >
US postage stamp from the 1970s.
Back in October 2011 I participated in Project Green Challenge, a transformational eco-lifestyle and leadership competition for students. (You can even watch my embarrassing video highlighting the experience). The extensive daily challenges I was faced with, from carrying all the trash I generated around with me and assessing the ingredients in my cleaning products to bringing e-cycling boxes to dorms and lobbying for reusable to-go containers in dining halls, cemented into my consciousness the realities of nearly every global environmental issue. Therefore, it was upsetting when I was invited out to California as a finalist for the competition and realized that the ecological footprint of that single roundtrip flight Read More >
How much does menu labeling contribute to healthy eating?
Since President Trump was inaugurated 13 months ago, no one has been expecting his administration to champion nutritious food, especially in comparison to the Obama administration, which was more active than any other with respect to policies to encourage healthful eating and reduce diet-related disease. (The Obama years were marked by the Let’s Move campaign, the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, mandatory menu-labeling as part of the Affordable Care Act, and a pretty substantial overhaul of the Nutrition Facts label on food packaging.) Read More >