A Group to Watch

I recently learned about a new group that launched at the ICN2 conference in Rome in November 2014: The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. I’ve been reading their publications to date and they seem quite refreshing and practical. The Panel recognizes that our policy needs are changing as a result of changes in our food system. It is no longer simply sufficient to continue the call for greater agricultural productivity. We must also consider improving diet quality, increasing product diversity, supporting national infrastructure, and supporting producers of all sizes. Overall, I thought that the various global success stories, the reasonable policy options, and the utter practicality of the technical brief made it well worth a read. My three main critiques/concerns would be:

  1. They made no mention, anywhere, of clean drinking water;
  2. They seem to support genetic engineering, even as they state one of their goals as “to help generate and stimulate a stronger evidence base for… changes in agriculture and food systems”; and
  3. International development is a noble goal but with often disastrous consequences. The Panel hinted at, but did not give specific examples of, how to approach the development aspect without harming indigenous peoples, systems, or cultures.

You can see a video, the summary brief, and the technical brief here; or for the technical brief, click the image below.

GloPanTechBrief

Another reason to avoid soda

“Over 79 billion gallons of water are required annually to dilute Coke syrup, and an additional eight trillion gallons are needed for other aspects of production, including the manufacturing of bottles. In 2012, Coke used more water than close to a quarter of the world’s population.

-Beth Macy, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, via Bartow Elmore’s book Citizen Coke

Citizen Coke

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

I have written once before about food waste, and when I saw this video I wanted to highlight it since it tackles the same issue. Supermarkets around the world set standards for “food quality” which include appearance. Even if a piece of produce is as tasty and nutritious as can be, it is discarded when it doesn’t meet certain specifications for size, color, or shape. I love to see that the EU declared 2014 the European Year Against Food Waste! I also love that supermarkets are selling “ugly” produce at a lower price, that consumers are embracing it, and that farmers are making a profit off of items that would otherwise have been thrown away. Bravo!

Using Poetry to Raise Awareness about Diabetes

NPR recently published a story about young people in California using poetry and spoken word to raise awareness about diabetes in their families. Some of the statistics the article mentions surprised me: Did you know that half of African-American youths born in the year 2000 are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives?

I love to see public health campaigns that push the envelope and tackle issues in ways that aren’t part of the traditional tactics. This campaign does just that. Watch a few of the poems below.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

I just had to share this link to Marion Nestle’s fantastic post on Food Politics today. She does a great job of explaining how and why the U.S. creates trade agreements with other countries, and what some of the major issues are with the process. (Hint: A total lack of transparency, political bullying, and undermining native farmers’ products, to name a few.) It’s well worth a read.

Childhood Obesity in Reverse

Hi friends! I know I haven’t posted in quite some time, but I came across this video and had to share. It shows the journey of Jim, a 32-year-old suffering from a heart attack, but in reverse. It’s so relevant in our current climate of childhood obesity, but the story doesn’t stop there. It shows the results of Jim’s bad habits carrying forth into adulthood. Enjoy!

“Hunger Can Be a Positive Motivator”

A few weeks ago, I attended the Association of Arizona Food Banks‘ annual conference. They showed a video in which Stephen Colbert does his thing in response to a 2009 comment by then-Missouri state representative Cynthia Davis. I had never seen it before and it is just too good not to share. Unfortunately, WordPress does not support embedding from non-specified sites, so you’ll have to click this link to see the video. Believe me – it is worth it!

Update: Some people have had trouble viewing the video using the link above. Here is another link, on YouTube – it should work!