Food & Dignity

“So, where do the leftover veggies go?” It’s a common question around here, especially on Tuesdays.

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) operates a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, connecting students, faculty and staff with fresh, organic, Maryland-grown produce. Those who have paid upfront for a share of the season’s harvest at Maryland’s One Straw Farm stop by the JHSPH parking garage every Tuesday to pick up their shares.

At the end of the day, at least a dozen crates of unclaimed produce remain.  Some folks just aren’t crazy about, say, chard, but CLF and One Straw Farm donate most of the extra shares. Since August, we’ve been sending this produce to the Franciscan Center of Baltimore, an outreach agency that has been providing emergency assistance and support to those who need it for 42 years-and serving hot meals for 30. On a typical day, the Center serves 400 meals. At the end of the month, when SNAP benefits run out, the number runs closer to 600.


In the Franciscan Center kitchen with the cooks

Last week, I had the privilege of visiting the Franciscan Center with two of my colleagues. We were met with a warm welcome from Ed McNally, the new Executive Director of the Center. An attorney and former Roman Catholic priest, Ed stressed the importance of treating each client with respect. One of the main goals of the Franciscan Center is to recognize the dignity of each human being, and this intention is apparent: the facility is immaculate and the staff and volunteers tremendously kind. A mural brightens the dining room and positive messages throughout the building uplift passers-by. The Center has an open door policy: rather than requiring proof of homelessness or unemployment, the staff and volunteers welcome as many clients as they can accommodate.

Ed stressed the importance of serving fresh, healthy food in an emergency assistance setting like this one. Read More >

NPR’s Morning Edition Focuses on Meatless Monday

nprlogo_138x46Some 14 million listeners tuned in this morning to hear National Public Radio’s most popular program, Morning Edition, give extensive coverage to the Meatless Monday campaign. The 8-1/2 minute segment, “Campaign Aims To Make Meatless Mondays Hip,” included an interview with Meatless Monday Founder, Sid Lerner. Reporter Allison Aubrey accompanied Lerner as he visited Dovetail, a popular New York City restaurant that has adopted Meatless Monday, and interviewed patrons sampling the offerings on the meatless menu.

The Meatless Monday Campaign was developed in 2003 in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Center for a Livable Future. The goal of the campaign is to reduce saturated fat consumption by 15 percent by forgoing meat one day a week.

Past CLF Fellow Voices Alarm on Non-Native Oyster Introduction

In an op-ed published in yesterday’s online edition of the Baltimore Sun, a Center for a Livable Future researcher urges federal and state officials to stay away from the introduction of non-native species in the Chesapeake Bay

Dr. Sharron Nappier, a former CLF Fellow whose research on the Bay’s oyster population was supported by CLF, says the introduction of non-native oysters into the bay may present greater public health consequences for consumers than native oysters. “The ecological benefits provided by the (non native) oyster’s filtration efficiency may have harmful repercussions for the health of consumers,” she warns.

The study conducted by Dr. Nappier while at the Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that non-native oysters were statistically more likely to harbor human viruses than native oysters. The oyster research was published in the November issue of the American Society of Microbiology’s peer-reviewed research journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Dr. Nappier is a research assistant professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Her e-mail is