WHAT’S ON
AMERICA’S PLATE
A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion
What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




TABLE OF CONTENTS
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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion



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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




ORGANIZATIONS AND
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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion



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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion



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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion



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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




  DIGITAL TOOLS AND
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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion




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What\'s On America\'s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today\'s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion
What\'s On America\'s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today\'s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion
What\'s On America\'s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today\'s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion
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What\'s On America\'s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today\'s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion

  1. 1. WHAT’S ON AMERICA’S PLATE A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion
  2. 2. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion FOREWORD Michael W. Hamm C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture Michigan State University This report illustrates the range of ac- of their food from local sources (even de- ing the way for a new vision of our food tors that are needed as well as important fined as from within their own state) while system. This food system could be one in examples – political, NGO and individual – under consuming such important foods as which we utilize the interrelationships of to move our food system to one that puts fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods. economic development, public health, land “health” in the forefront while re-integrat- Rapid suburbanization has grown houses stewardship and social responsibility to ing “local food” into a food system that on vast tracts of land that previously build a more sustainable and robust food has increasingly negated its value. It also produced fruits, vegetables, grains and system; one in which we re-integrate the illustrates the critical need to engage a animal products. In many communities, the ‘local’ into the fabric of good food access conversation across our country that leads mix of skills that included intimate local while putting a premium on the ‘healthful- to both political and social will to change knowledge of food production has been ness’ of our food supply. the way we conduct business in this arena. lost, while in many households, the skills This move to a re-integrated food system While it is clear to most that moving from to cook these foods have simultaneously in which communities across the United a fossil fuel energy based economy to a so- withered away. The economic integration States preserve and enhance their natural lar energy based economy while mitigating of local farms into a local food system has resources and human skills for producing the effects of climate change will be the given way to a global economy that leaves the foods needed for all Americans to con- two key drivers of the 21st century; we still little of the resources for expanded growth sume a healthy diet on a daily basis and struggle mightily with the will to take this in the region while providing more calories then to process, distribute, prepare and with the seriousness it deserves. How we with less nutrients. manage the waste in a manner which en- evolve our food system over the next 10-25 The 20th century saw a rapid rise in our hances our sustainability is overdue. How- years to address these while fully recogniz- knowledge of the appropriate mix of fruits, ever, we know it will not be simple. First ing the role of food in human health and vegetables, dairy, grain and protein sources and foremost we require the political will disease prevention presents both chal- for a healthy diet. We have come to recog- to enact policies (both public and private) lenges and opportunities. We need not nize the importance of a healthy break- improving the potential of this occurring. approach this strictly as a set of problems fast for children in order for them to be Second, we need a meaningful discussion to be addressed, but rather can we be more prepared to learn in school. We have come across the country that recognizes both optimistic and proceed as opportunities to recognize the relationship between a the imperfection of our knowledge and the to be seized. Thinking back while looking regular, healthy diet and the incidence of need to move forward as we continually forward may provide a vehicle for seizing various diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, strive to understand more fully. Third, we the opportunity. heart disease and certain cancers. We need examples based in communities and It may be useful to remember that com- have come to recognize the relationship to identify opportunities for sustainable munities across the United States in between access to this healthy diet and scale-up to a level where impacts to the the first one-and-a-half centuries of our economic status and race. However, all food system are observable from the three existence relied largely on food supplies these recognitions to date have not lead perspectives of human health, ecological that came from very local (out the front to our commitment as a nation that all integrity and economic viability. door) to fairly local (within a days carriage Americans will have access to a healthy From the Obama’s White House garden ride). With development and the industrial diet from pre-natal development through to the development of new farmers; from revolution, an increasing percentage of our death such that they are not limited in Mayors in local communities to Federal leg- food supply came from more distant loca- their ability to reach their potential due to islators; from the Child Nutrition Act to the tions. Still, until the latter half of the 20th a poor diet. Farm Bill to the Energy Bill; from non-gov- century, a measurable amount of our food In my opinion, we thus stand at a cross- ernmental organizations across the country came from relatively local sources. How- roads in our country of political will, to land grant and private universities. We ever, in the last fifty years we have seen a community engagement, infrastructure need a concerted will and courage to act. rapid globalization of our food supply such opportunity and individual determination. This report provides snippets of encourage- that today we import foods from over 140 This report outlines important individuals, ment across the spectrum; now we need countries annually with the average con- organizations and programs among literally only turn encouragement into meaningful, sumer getting an imperceptible percentage thousands across the country that are pav- substantial action. Foreword
  3. 3. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 The Health of the Nation 45 State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy The White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 6 Food and Drug Administration 7 Department of Agriculture 8 Environmental Protection Agency 9 Legislation to Watch 12 Organizations and Programs to Watch Active Living By Design, Arganica Farm Club: Farm-to-Table Network, Baltimore City Public Schools, Community Food Security Coalition 13 Food & Water Watch, FoodWorks New York, Georgia Health Policy Center, Growing Power 15 Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Kaiser Permanente, Mayor-Led Community Initiatives, Princeton Living Well 16 Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, National Physical Activity Plan, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, W.K. Kellogg Foundation 17 Digital Tools and Trends for 2010 20 About Spectrum
  4. 4. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion THE HEALTH OF THE NATION Food – the way we produce, distribute and consume it – was something that most Americans took for granted until recently. We were proud of a system that produced an ever-growing and diverse supply of safe, high quality grains, meats, fruits and vegetables in quantities sufficient – even after exports- to feed the entire country twice over. Today, anxious questions about food – its safety, content and nutritional value – are consuming more and more of our national conversation. And for good reasons. IS IT SAFE? IS IT HEALTHY? obese. At an annual price of $147 billion in direct medical costs, obesity Over the past four years the United States On a parallel track is the national debate is also a major contributor to diabetes, food system has been hammered with about how to address America’s obesity cardiovascular disease and some forms a series of foodborne disease outbreaks epidemic. There is little disagreement of cancer. Even more alarming is involving meat, peanuts, spinach, peppers about the numbers: since 1998 obesity childhood obesity. More than one in six and lettuce, raising questions about rates in the U.S. grew 37 percent and children are obese, and 70 percent of how safe our food supply really is. Over today over one-third of all adults are those who are afflicted face at least one 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses “ occur every year in the U.S. and result in 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Experts estimate that foodborne illnesses cost the U.S. $152 billion in health-related expenses annually, without accounting for the costs of pain Overweight, poor nutrition and diet-related diseases are and suffering. Each successive outbreak erodes consumer confidence in our food public health threats of the first order – contributing to system and consumer trust issues don’t numerous chronic health conditions, including heart disease, end with concern about food poisoning. Parents who are dealing with the dramatic cancer, diabetes and stroke. But the issues aren’t just medical increase in food allergies, some of which are life-threatening to young children, are – they also affect our economy. We spend almost $2 trillion demanding more and better information and safeguards regarding the sources, annually on health care in the United States, 75 percent of production and labeling of the foods kids eat. which goes for treating and managing chronic diseases that are, in many cases, preventable. It is time to take preventative action and give consumers the tools they need to take better control of their diet and health.” – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) The Health of the Nation 2
  5. 5. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion THE HEALTH OF THE NATION additional risk factor for cardiovascular of the foods that are fueling the obesity Washington who are struggling with ways disease. Who and what are responsible epidemic. Further, the low cost of grain to reform our food system and address for this dramatic growth in obesity? and the consolidation of meat and the issues of safety, diet-related disease Americans are ambivalent about this dairy production has led to a system of and sustainability. We also examine question, with many believing this Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations the legislative agenda for the year and is an issue of personal responsibility. (CAFOs), factory farms where animals are identify bills that could set the stage for Although acknowledging the importance raised in densely-packed indoor facilities significant reform. Next, we get to the of the individual’s decision-making, that pollute the air and water. Estimates heart of the report: a profile of programs the public health community diagnoses vary but we know that, at a minimum, and organizations outside of Washington the problem differently and with an 33 percent of all antibiotics consumed in that are engaged in researching and emphasis on the role the environment the U.S. are now administered to healthy implementing ways to reform the food has played. The Centers for Disease animals living in CAFOs. Many in the system. The challenges are complex, Control and Prevention (CDC) has even public health community believe that this and even the most committed advocates coined a new term to describe it. In overuse of antibiotics in animals that for change acknowledge the need their words, “American society has produce our meat and dairy supplies is to build a stronger body of evidence become ‘obesogenic,’ characterized by responsible for drug-resistant bacterial to guide the nation’s efforts. The environments that promote increased diseases in humans. As the public answers will come from more work in food intake, unhealthful foods, and becomes more aware of the connections universities, communities, industry and physical inactivity.” Whatever the among food production, environment public and private organizations that cause, the consequences are both and public health, demand is growing for are experimenting with better ways to personal and collective. Half the health public policies at the national, state and produce, deliver and consume a safer, care bill for obesity-related medical local levels that would promote a system more healthful and sustainable food costs is being paid by Medicare and of environmentally conscious production supply. In this report we introduce Medicaid at taxpayers’ expense and are of more healthful food. you to some of them. In the coming all absorbing the non-medical costs of In this report, we summarize the current months, we will follow the progress of decreased productivity and poorer school state of play among policymakers here in these policymakers, thought leaders and performance associated with diet-related organizations in subsequent updates. diseases. IS IT SUSTAINABLE? A third element of the food debate is sustainability. As policymakers and consumers become more focused on reducing our overall use of energy, the impact of the food system can be lost in conversations about the fuel efficiency of automobiles and appliances. In fact, our food system is second only to cars in its use of energy, and is responsible for nearly 20 percent of our annual consumption of fossil fuels. We are able to produce twice the supply of food our nation needs precisely because of our dependence on cheap fossil fuel. The combination of cheap energy and government subsidies for commodities – corn, soybeans, wheat and rice – creates artificially low prices for many The Health of the Nation 3
  6. 6. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion STATE OF PLAY: WHO IS WHO IN FOOD POLICY Michelle Obama Sam Kass Leading by Example Crusading for Healthier Eating Dr. Thomas Frieden Dr. Margaret Hamburg Michael R. Taylor Leading the CDC Inspiring Public Health Overseeing Food Safety Tom Vilsack Lisa Jackson Improving Food Safety Protecting Public Health and the Environment State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy 4
  7. 7. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion STATE OF PLAY: WHO IS WHO IN FOOD POLICY STATE OF PLAY: THE By November 2009, word was out that the First Lady would be announcing a major STATE OF PLAY: WHITE HOUSE new initiative after the first of the year CENTERS FOR DISEASE that would focus on childhood obesity. During the first weeks of her husband’s Collaborating with a team of experts from CONTROL AND tenure in office, Michelle Obama signaled her interest in leading an effort to the federal agencies with responsibility PREVENTION improve the way Americans eat. She for programs that affect children’s health, Obama and her staff had been Within a month of taking office as began by opening up the White House the Director of the Centers for Disease kitchen to the press and using the working on a plan to engage public and private players in a high profile national Control and Prevention (CDC) in June opportunity to demonstrate how their 2009, Dr. Tom Frieden was presiding over chefs can make healthy, delicious meals campaign with the goal of solving the epidemic of childhood obesity within the first-ever national conference on with locally grown nutritious foods. obesity. Focused on obesity prevention a generation. Launched on February 9, “ She advocated for community gardens – even opening one of her own on the 2010, the Let’s Move Campaign relies on White House grounds – and visited local four approaches: schools and soup kitchens where she • Helping parents by offering them argued for the need to provide fresh, tools, support and information to unprocessed foods to school children make healthier choices for their The idea here is very and to the neediest members of the families, D.C. community. Assisting her in these • Improving the quality of food in simple: to put in place high-profile efforts was Sam Kass, who worked with the Obamas in Chicago and schools, common sense, innovative • Making healthy foods more affordable is now the assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator. Described and accessible for families, and solutions that empower by journalists as “part chef and part • Increasing opportunities for children families and communities policy wonk,” Kass participates in policy to be more physically active, both in meetings at the White House where food and out of school. to make health decisions and nutrition issues are discussed and legislative strategy is developed. Kass is The campaign will be coordinated by an interagency task force created by a for their kids. particularly interested in reforming the federal school lunch program which has Presidential Memorandum and staffed by senior officials from the White House, the – Michelle Obama been criticized for serving foods that are Office of Management and Budget and high in fat and preservatives. the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Education. The First Lady plans to engage private and control, the inaugural Weight of sector support and participation in Let’s the Nation Conference drew over 1,000 Move. Two months into the campaign, participants from across the country. leaders in business, athletics, medicine The aim was to identify strategies that and science have signaled their interest would effectively prevent obesity in youth in contributing to the effort. One of the and adults. The conversation included campaign’s challenges will be to maintain economic analyses of the cost burden the spirit of public/private cooperation of obesity and the cost effectiveness of as the changes Obama is advocating prevention strategies. Participants also begin threatening the bottom lines for discussed the regulatory and legislative industries whose business models are approaches to prevention that are based on the current system. underway in states and communities, and presented findings on the evidence base State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy 5
  8. 8. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion STATE OF PLAY: WHO IS WHO IN FOOD POLICY “ for policy and environmental approaches to the obesity epidemic. Frieden is one of the nation’s leading experts on the obesity epidemic and he came to CDC with a significant track Nutrition information on Web sites, tray liners and other record of using regulatory tools to combat unhealthy behaviors and environments. inconvenient places doesn’t work. If people are going to be During his tenure as Commissioner of the able to use nutrition information, it has to be at the point New York City Health Department, New York became the first city in the U.S. to of ordering, not on a poster back by the bathroom or after eliminate trans-fats from restaurants, rigorously monitor the city’s diabetes they’ve ordered the food. epidemic, and require certain restaurants to post calorie information. – Margo Wootan, Nutrition Policy Director, Center for Science In his opening remarks at the Weight of the Nation Conference, Frieden pointed in the Public Interest out that obesity and diabetes “are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country and they’re getting worse rapidly.” He then laid out decades because of any change in restrictions to reduce children’s his prescription for dealing with the our genetics or any change in our exposure to unhealthy food, coupled obesity epidemic: food preferences. We got to this with counter-advertising and “Reversing obesity is not going stage of the epidemic because of incentives to expand access to healthy to be done successfully with a change in our environment. And alternatives and individual effort. It will be done only a change in our environment • Alterations to the built environment successfully as a society only with again will allow us to get back to a to encourage activity levels for societal effort. We did not get to healthier place…” children coupled with complementary this situation over the past three If Michelle Obama is in the role of strategies aimed at reducing children’s “ inspiring leader and diplomatic persuader TV watching and providing alternative in the campaign to prevent obesity, forms of family and community Freiden’s role is that of the field marshal. recreation. Last month, the influential publication The real goal is not just Health Affairs published a series of articles researched and written by STATE OF PLAY: Frieden and his colleagues at CDC. The FOOD AND DRUG a number on a scale, but piece on childhood obesity for which he ADMINISTRATION optimal health for all was lead author is the equivalent of a manifesto for aggressively re-shaping the The Food and Drug Administration Americans at every stage environment that encourages dangerous eating patterns and sedentary behavior. (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that all domestic and imported foods – other of life. Frieden advocates for using a full arsenal than processed egg products, meat and of tools, including: poultry – are safe and properly labeled. – Surgeon General • Price and tax policies aimed at Given the size and scope of the U.S. food industry, this would be a monumental job reducing consumption of unhealthy Regina M. Benjamin food and encouraging consumption of for any federal agency, but within the FDA, food safety must compete with the fresh, nutritious food, Agency’s other obligation to oversee the • Restrictions on advertising, zoning nation’s drug and device industry and has State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy 6
  9. 9. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion STATE OF PLAY: WHO IS WHO IN FOOD POLICY been a losing battle for some time, as Action on food labeling won’t wait for of their products is in violation of the FDA budgets have tightened and resources the food safety overhaul legislation. law that requires labels to be truthful. have been more heavily weighted on its Consistent with the White House initiative Hamburg and Taylor are also working on drug and device functions. Early on, the to take on the epidemic of diet-related new guidance for industry for the front of Obama Administration pledged to correct food packages. The FDA has commissioned that imbalance by expanding the agency’s research to determine how to display resources for food safety and endorsing front-of-pack information that is useful a legislative overhaul of the food safety to consumers. Once the findings are in, system that would expand FDA authority. Agriculture is directly agency officials plan to work with industry While Congress has been working on to design and implement the new labels. the new food safety law over the past responsible for about 20 The FDA’s Office of Food will also have 15 months, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has been reorganizing the food percent of man-made a hand in carrying out a provision in the recently enacted health care reform safety programs within the FDA and emissions of greenhouse bill that requires calorie labeling on flexing the agency’s regulatory muscle chain restaurant menus, menu boards with the food industry around labeling gases. and vending machines. Public health issues. For the first time in its history, the advocates have lobbied to enact calorie FDA now has an Office of Foods, headed labeling requirements for nearly a by Deputy Commissioner Mike Taylor, decade and are delighted about the new who reports directly to Hamburg and law. Margo Wooten, of the Center for has direct line authority over the food Science in the Public Interest, called it programs. Taylor served in the Clinton disease by providing consumers with a “huge victory for consumers after a Administration at both FDA and USDA, more and better information about the 7-year fight.” The FDA has been given and later worked for Monsanto. He will be food they eat, Hamburg has made reliable 12 months to create implementing charged with implementing the new food nutrition labeling a top priority. Last fall, regulations and will be responsible for safety law when Congress finishes its work she called on food companies to review reporting to Congress on the progress this year. In his words, “This may well their labeling practices and earlier this of the new system on a quarterly basis. be the Agency’s greatest opportunity for year the FDA stepped up its oversight by In the meantime, consumer groups are real change to improve food safety in 100 issuing warning letters to 17 companies, sure to keep a close eye on how the FDA years.” informing them that labeling on 22 implements the new law. STATE OF PLAY: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE As it began consideration of a bill to overhaul the nation’s food safety system last year, Congress considered proposals to create a separate federal agency devoted exclusively to food safety. Creation of a new agency did not survive deliberations in the House or the Senate, in part because of strong resistance from agribusiness interests and members of Congress who represent farm states. But hearings and testimony from experts on this issue exposed serious questions about what some feel is an inherent conflict State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy 7
  10. 10. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion STATE OF PLAY: WHO IS WHO IN FOOD POLICY of interest in USDA’s mission. Created to Congress from farm states. impacts. According to a Government support the agriculture community and Beyond the issue of food safety, Vilsack Accountability Office report two years promote agriculture products in the U.S. and his team will play a significant role ago, EPA hasn’t assessed the extent to and abroad, the Department of Agriculture in the First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign which these pollutants may be impairing (USDA) was later charged with ensuring which is aiming to make dramatic changes human health and the environment the safety of the food supply under its in the school nutrition programs that because it lacks key data. Critics argue jurisdiction, primarily meat and poultry USDA administers. It will be interesting that past EPA leadership has also products – a function far more compatible to see how Vilsack negotiates competing lacked the political will to take on the with public health than with commercial interests among his constituencies and agribusiness industry. development and export promotion. how well USDA responds to pressure from It will be up to EPA Administrator Lisa USDA’s programs have also expanded over CDC Director Tom Frieden and the public Jackson to determine whether and how the past century to include management health community to alter federal tax and to take on the CAFO challenge. In an of nutrition programs for school subsidy policies as a means of dealing interview last year, Jackson said EPA children, women and infants, low-income with our “obesogenic” environment. needs to re-examine its policies on CAFOs. families and the elderly. This mission Vilsack will also take on initiatives “We need change in everything from creep occurred not because USDA had to promote farm-to-school programs, policy and enforcement.” If Congress expertise in public health, but rather, encourage community gardens and deal takes up legislation to amend the Clean because of USDA’s charge to support with food deserts – all of which are top Air and Clean Water Acts, EPA could open the farm sector. In the early stages, the priorities for the First Lady. the door for statutory changes that would nutrition programs were sourced with strengthen its regulatory and enforcement excess commodities the government had purchased from farmers as an income- STATE OF PLAY: capacity. support measure. USDA is now in the ENVIRONMENTAL position of administering crop subsidy programs that have created artificially PROTECTION AGENCY low prices for many of the foods that are The U.S. food system relies heavily on fueling the diet-related disease epidemic. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations And the populations at highest risk for (CAFOs), large livestock and poultry those diseases are the very groups that operations that raise animals in confined USDA’s nutrition programs are serving: facilities. CAFOs produce millions of tons poor children and families. of waste that can degrade air and water quality – the largest CAFOs can generate Today, USDA finds itself in a balancing act more raw waste than the populations of between its primary mission of supporting some U.S. cities produce annually. Over the agriculture sector while at the same the past decade, consolidation in the time carrying out its responsibilities to livestock industry has led to growth in public health. At the helm is Secretary the number and size of CAFOs, which are Tom Vilsack, former two-term governor also referred to as factory farms. of Iowa. Early in his tenure at the Department, Vilsack told reporters he The Environmental Protection Agency supported the creation of a single food (EPA) is the federal agency charged safety agency. “We need a single agency with regulating CAFOs because of their that’s working in a modern framework,” potential threat to the environment, but Vilsack said. “We don’t have that today.” it has not had the resources to do an And barring a dramatic turn of events in effective job. Over the past 10 years, at Congress, we won’t have it later this year least 15 government-sponsored or peer- when the food safety bill is completed, reviewed studies have directly linked air in part because of strong resistance from and water pollutants from animal waste agribusiness interests and members of to specific health and environmental State of Play: Who is Who in Food Policy 8
  11. 11. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion LEGISLATION EXPANDING AND TO WATCH any food sold on school grounds, rather School Lunch Protection Act of 2009 is than just the federally funded school still under consideration by the House FUNDING CHILD lunch and breakfast programs. It also Education and Labor Committee, headed expands the use of local farm products, by Chairman George Miller (D-CA) and NUTRITION PROGRAMS organic food and school gardens. Most Ranking Member John Kline (R-MN). The The Child Nutrition programs are important, it increases funding by $4.5 bill was drafted before the First Lady reauthorized every five years in legislation billion over the next 10 years. This is less launched the Let’s Move Campaign, so that funds school-based and other than the $10 billion increase proposed the committee is expected to update the programs for low-income children. In by the White House, but is still the most bill with an eye to incorporating relevant late March 2010, the Senate Agriculture significant increase to the program in elements of the Campaign’s agenda. Committee moved The Healthy, Hunger decades. Advocates are hoping that Congress will Free Kids Act through their committee The House began work on reauthorizing send a bill to the President early this with unanimous approval. In addition the child nutrition programs in 2009, but summer, in time to affect school programs to paying for the federal child nutrition has yet to bring a bill to the floor for a by the start of the new school year in programs the Senate bill gives USDA new vote. The Child Nutrition Promotion and September. powers to set nutritional standards for FOOD SAFETY OVERHAUL In the case of food safety, the House is far ahead of the Senate. In July 2009, the House passed The Food Safety Enhancement Act. The bill gives FDA new authority to deal with outbreaks of foodborne illness and to set standards for producing domestic and imported food. The inspection process would be improved dramatically: FDA would be able to require more information during inspections and would be charged with setting up a process to trace the source of foodborne illness. Full, on-site inspections of high-risk facilities would occur every 6 to 12 months and lower-risk facilities would be visited by inspectors every 18 to 36 months. Costs for the expansion in inspections would be covered in part by a new $500 fee per food facility. The Senate has been much slower to act. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee did not report out a bill until November 2009, and the full Senate has yet to take it up for consideration. The Senate bill is similar Legislation to Watch 9
  12. 12. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion LEGISLATION TO WATCH “ to the House version in most respects, There are companion bills in the House and but does not include the yearly inspection Senate, entitled The Preservation of Anti- fee on food facilities. The Chairman of biotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), the HELP Committee, Tom Harkin (D-IA), hopes to finish work on a final bill by that would phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in livestock. Many There is simply no reason early summer. scientists suspect that use of antibiotics to continue the profligate in healthy animals has resulted in drug- MORE REGULATION OF resistant bacterial infections and other use of valuable antibiotics health problems in humans. PAMTA aims CAFOS to respond to those concerns. These bills for economic purposes have been referred to committees in both Concern about the environmental and public health effects of concentrated chambers, but no action has been taken so or to compensate for animal feeding operations (CAFOs) could far this Congress. the stressful, crowded translate into legislation that would place Although no bills have been introduced restrictions on the use of non-therapeutic specific to regulation of pollutants as- animal production antibiotics in food animals and strengthen sociated with CAFOs, legislation to amend EPA’s authority to regulate air and water both The Clean Water Act and The Clean Air facilities. The improved pollution generated by the facilities. Act has been introduced in the Senate and could become vehicles for that purpose. management practices necessary to reduce, if not avoid, antibiotic use are available and feasible. Yet, production agriculture has been unwilling to acknowledge, much less act on, this problem. We cannot tolerate this situation any longer. To protect our food supply and the public health, we must pass PAMTA. – Dr. Margret Mellon, Food and Environment Program Director, Union of Concerned Scientists Legislation to Watch 10
  13. 13. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS TO WATCH Below is a sampling of notable organizations and programs that are implementing innovative ideas to improve the health, fitness and well-being of communities nationwide. ACTIVE LIVING BY DESIGN involved. In 2010, Arganica plans to increase its membership and relationships between consumers and farmers. Creating Healthy and Active Environments in 75 Communities across the United States BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Active Living By Design (ALBD), part of the North Carolina Educating the Next Generation about healthy and Local Institute for Public Health, at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, supports community- Food led change by working with local and In September 2009, Baltimore’s national partners to build a culture of 83,000-student school district adopted active living and healthy eating. One The most frequently Meatless Monday, a public health of ALBD’s main initiatives is the Robert initiative associated with The Johns Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy purchased items at corner Hopkins University that encourages Kids, Healthy Communities program people to eat meatless meals one day that works in 50 communities across stores are energy-dense, per week. The program suggests that the U.S. to implement healthy eating going meatless one day per week can and active living policies to reverse low nutritive items, such reduce the risk of chronic preventable childhood obesity. This program has seen results in several communities including as sugar-sweetened and conditions, diminish carbon footprints and save resources such as fresh water Somerville, Mass., where officials use artificially flavored drinks, and fossil fuel, which are required for the the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities transportation of animal food products. funding to promote environmental and nacho cheese flavored chips The Baltimore City Public Schools aimed policy changes across public health, to lead the country in educating the parks and recreation, education, active and candy. next generation of Americans about transportation, community development food cultivation and preparation. School and social services. administrators work with local farmers and distributors committed to using local suppliers to provide ARGANICA FARM CLUB: FARM-TO- schools with fresh produce. The school district is also developing resources to establish gardens at all 200 schools in the district. TABLE NETWORK Limiting Food Deserts, Reducing Access Issues and COMMUNITY FOOD SECURITY Offering Farm to Fork Options for City Dwellers COALITION Arganica Farm Club is Washington, D.C.’s first local-source food Expanding Urban Access to Healthy Foods company providing weekly home delivery. Arganica has made local food buying convenient and accessible to conscientious eaters as The Community Food Security Coalition is a non-profit coalition well as to those who live in food deserts where only packaged, dedicated to building sustainable food systems to provide highly processed foods are readily available. The organization’s affordable, nutritious and culturally acceptable food to all goal is to provide a healthy, locally sourced variety of affordable people. Based in Portland, Ore., CFSC advocates for federal foods from the best small-scale and artisan producers, while policies that support community food security and works to creating a better market for the family farms and producers properly implement relevant programs. CFSC co-sponsors the Organizations and Programs to Watch 12
  14. 14. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS TO WATCH Healthy Corner Store Network with The Food Trust, which has more than 350 participants, all of whom share best practices and FOODWORKS NEW YORK work to develop approaches for providing fresh and healthy food Revolutionizing America’s Largest City’s Food System to underserved communities. In late 2009, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn FOOD & WATER WATCH introduced a new initiative called FoodWorks New York with the goal of improving public health, creating jobs and reducing Educating Stakeholders and the General Public on How the environmental damage caused by food transportation, to Expand Access to Clean Food and Water production, sales and consumption. FoodWorks New York builds Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization that raises on previous New York food policy achievements such as limiting awareness about the environmental and public health artificial trans fats in restaurants. The initiative calls for every implications of food and water contamination. The organization step of the New York food system to be evaluated and redefined produces research-based studies and reports, and supports in order to develop a blueprint for improvement. grassroots movements to encourage the protection of public water and the growth of sustainable and safe food production. GEORGIA HEALTH POLICY CENTER In 2010, Food & Water Watch is focused on food safety legislation, country of origin policies, conversations preceding Providing the Evidence to Impact Childhood Nutrition the next farm bill and the USDA’s increased involvement with and Obesity Policy traceability mechanisms. Due to its lobbying efforts, media The Georgia Health coverage and public and policymaker education, Food & Water Policy Center Watch is a significant advocate in the environmental community. (GHPC) provides evidence-based “ research, training and educational tools to support a variety of public health outcomes. The truth is, each step in the food cycle – Under the leader- from the farm all the way to the table – has ship of Executive Director Karen a major impact on the lives of every New Minyard, GHPC has introduced a Yorker. And each step has the potential to Childhood Obesity Model to provide policymakers with the ability to explore solu- create jobs, to improve public health and to tions to the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, the GHPC hopes to refine and expand the model to include more interventions. preserve our shared environment. Or – if we GHPC is also working with the Georgia Department of Education continue to ignore those opportunities – the to implement a state law to require a fitness assessment for all students enrolled in physical education classes. potential to cost us jobs, increase obesity and GROWING POWER pollute our air. Transforming Communities by Creating Healthy Food – Christine Quinn Systems Growing Power is a Milwaukee, Wis. based non-profit that transforms communities by changing the way people think about and produce food. In 1993, farmer Will Allen partnered to train teens to grow food for their communities. His passion for Organizations and Programs to Watch 13
  15. 15. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS TO WATCH sustainable food systems has grown into a wide range of projects With farmers markets at more than 30 medical facilities, including training and youth programs, educational sessions and Kaiser Permanente is also dedicated to providing fresh, locally keynote speaking. In addition, Growing Power runs the Rainbow grown food to its staff, patients and community members. The Farmers Cooperative, which distributes food from over 300 family organization further promotes healthy eating within its medical farms to communities. Growing Power’s community food systems facilities with Healthy Picks, a program that offers healthier provide healthy, safe and affordable food. food options in both vending and cafeteria services in 34 Kaiser medical centers. In addition, 23 Kaiser hospitals use locally JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR A grown fruits and vegetables in their kitchens. LIVABLE FUTURE MAYOR-LED COMMUNITY INITIATIVES Bringing Attention to the Sustainability Issues Implementing Food, Obesity and Physical Activity Surrounding Food Production, the Environment and Reform in Local Communities Human Health Several local leaders across the country decided to make The Johns Hopkins Center for A Livable Future (CLF) educates important changes in their communities by introducing wellness stakeholders about the connections between food production, and nutrition initiatives. Mayor Mick Cornett (R) began the This diet, the environment and public health in order to inform the City is Going on a Diet obesity initiative in Oklahoma City in public and policymakers on the state and federal levels toward which 40,000 participants lost 519,000 pounds in a single year. more sustainable systems. Some of CLF’s key research focuses on Mayor R.T. Rybak (D) launched the Homegrown Minneapolis how industrialized food production systems impact public health initiative to work with farmers markets, community and backyard and the environment. In 2009, CLF launched the Livable Future gardens, small enterprise urban agriculture and grocery stores Blog (LFB) to serve as a forum to interact with online reporters for local and sustainable food. Mayor Robert Cluck (R) worked and develop a community of sustainability advocates. The blog with the Arlington school district to improve school food and was highlighted in The New York Times as “one of the top 10 encourage children to become more physically active. These sustainable blogs to read.” mayors, among many others, have recognized the importance of bringing attention to health issues on a local level and serve as KAISER PERMANENTE a model for successful community programs. Supporting Food Banks through its Healthy Eating During Hard Times Program PRINCETON LIVING WELL Kaiser Permanente, the largest-not-for-profit health plan in the Promoting Healthier Habits throughout a Community U.S., allocated $2.1 million in 2009 for grants and donations to Princeton Living Well (PLW) is a healthy lifestyle program nonprofit organizations that provide access to healthy foods at designed to promote diabetes prevention, weight control food banks and that help boost participation in federal nutrition and general wellness throughout the Princeton, New Jersey programs. Some of the food bank programs supported by Kaiser community. With the leadership from Viocare, Inc. President Permanente include: Rick Weiss, PLW provides a way for community members to form • Maui Food Bank, which is using $50,000 for its Fresh-4- a support network, thus encouraging individuals to maintain All program that provides fresh, locally grown food for the healthier lifestyles. The 2,100 PLW members have access to indigent, homeless and at-risk island population of Maui, wellness resources such as a community calendar featuring activities focused on nutrition and fitness, a health blog and • Loaves and Fishes of Portland, Ore., which is utilizing tools such as BMI and heart rate calculators. In 2010, PLW $60,000 to buy fruits and vegetables for senior citizens, and leaders plan to continue to launch America Living Well, a series • Manna Food Center of Gaithersburg, Md., which is using of similar community structures throughout the country and $100,000 for Smart Snacks, a program that provides a bag of expand the concept by integrating local corporate wellness nutritious, kid-friendly food to more than 1,050 elementary programs to create a local funded and sustainable model for school children each week. community wellness. Organizations and Programs to Watch 15
  16. 16. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS TO WATCH RUDD CENTER FOR FOOD POLICY AND NATIONAL SUSTAINABLE OBESITY AGRICULTURE COALITION A Research Institution Dedicated to Improving the Way Providing Family Farm and Conservation Organizations We Eat a Voice in Washington Housed at Yale University, the Rudd Center for Food Policy & The National Sustainable Agriculture Obesity is a non-profit research and public policy organization Coalition (NSAC) is a leading advo- dedicated to improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity cate for sustainable agriculture policy. and reducing the stigmatization of obese and overweight Partnering with over 80 grassroots individuals. Founded in 2005, the Center is a leader in the organizations from across the country, ongoing dialogue to change diet and physical activity patterns, NSAC takes a stand on federal policies while holding industry and government agencies responsible and programs that support small and for safeguarding public health. One of the Center’s programs is mid-size family farms, protect natural the Yale Sustainable Food Project, which includes a sustainable resources, foster healthy rural com- dining program at Yale, an organic farm on campus and munities and increase consumer access several subsidiary programs that support the study of food and to healthy foods. NSAC also promotes agriculture. Currently, the Center is promoting its recent studies advanced land management conserva- on the impact of nutrition labels on consumer choices and tion systems, value-added agriculture the influence of food marketing on children from vulnerable and sustainable agriculture research. Its blog, Something to populations. Crow About, provides real-time analysis of farm, food safety and sustainability policy issues. In 2010, NSAC will continue NATIONAL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PLAN to advocate for increased funding for farm-to-school programs in The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and support for The A Coalition Rallying Worksites, Schools and Conservation Stewardship Program, a working land conservation Communities to Become More Physically Active program designed to reward farmers for conservation excellence. The National Physi- cal Activity Plan W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION (NPAP) is a grow- Funding a Series of Programs to Improve Access to ing coalition of organizations and Healthy Foods and Encourage Physical Activity individuals dedi- The W.K. Kellogg Foundation engages local communities and cated to increas- schools to increase access to healthier foods and encourages ing the number of physical activity as a way to combat childhood obesity and stress. Americans achiev- Since the mid-1990s, the foundation has granted more than ing physical activ- $230 million in support for healthy food and farming projects. In ity benchmarks. November 2009, the foundation awarded $32.5 million in grants The coalition is to local community programs through its initiative, Food & Com- based at the Prevention Research Center at the University of munity. This initiative encourages community leaders and organi- South Carolina and has organizational partners that include zations to work together to transform school and community food CDC, American Heart Association, AARP, YMCA and American systems and promote active living and routine physical activity. Cancer Society. The NPAP coalition encourages workplaces and The foundation supports youth and community activism with its communities to adopt a physical activity plan similar to those Food & Fitness Initiative. Through local community collaboration, already in use in countries such as Canada, Scotland, Finland this program aims to advance integrated, sustainable and practical and Pakistan. The NPAP focuses on reaching its goal of increased solutions for public health and agriculture. The Food & Fitness Pol- physical activity through eight key sectors including public icy Council in Holyoke, Mass., for example, has helped to support health, education, mass media and health care. The campaign is its local economy and give children access to fresh and nutritious set to officially launch on May 3, 2010 in 12 states. food by encouraging schools to purchase locally grown produce. Organizations and Programs to Watch 16
  17. 17. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion DIGITAL TOOLS AND TRENDS FOR 2010 The growth of online information sharing has had a profound effect on the food and nutrition policy landscapes by increasing the amount of information that is available for individual consumers and groups. Expanding the number of online tools has made it quicker and easier to share information and develop partnerships. With an abundance of research and a wide network of allies just a click away, the way people become informed on food and nutrition issues has changed. The massive popularity of social networking will continue to elevate the visibility of major issues in this space. • Twitter is now used as a platform to an- • Regulations.gov allowed consumers to you to create your own map based on nounce food recalls. Online food safety submit nutrition label suggestions to issues like food access, food prices and advocates like Bill Marler the FDA in late 2009. This marks the physical activity. It is a great digital (@bmarler) have used Twitter to, in first occasion where the FDA has taken tool that comprehensively maps our 140 characters or less, announce the suggestions from the public on this food landscape and helps us understand latest recalls or questionable food issue. the extent of our food and nutrition safety issues and spread a message • The Lunch Box is a new site built by issues. broadly in a short amount of time. With the Food Family Farming Foundation, in the use of hashtags like #profood and #foodsafety, an online community is conjunction with a number of partners ONLINE ADVOCATES TO and benefactors. It is an information quickly assembled around the latest source on quality nutrition for schools WATCH news in the world of food safety. and children and provides tips on how Hemi Weingarten • The FDA’s food safety widget is the first to build programs that include proper (@Fooducate) has set out online resource that compiles all food nutrition. to decipher the enigma of recall information from the FDA and the modern nutrition labels. • A call to action in the food industry USDA in the same place. With daily posts that focus has never been easier than with the on nutrition and food safety, his blog, • Food and Water Watch’s first-ever Consumers Union’s tool to email your Fooducate, helps Americans “eat a bit national map charts the distribution state and district representatives. better” by offering simple and practical of factory farms across the U.S. The Consumers can directly contact their advice to debunk the food industry’s many interactive search tool is easy to use, Members’ offices and urge action on the claims. In addition to highly readable and functional and provides a frightening food safety bill. informational posts, Fooducate has a help- revelation about how industry is affect- • Mobile: Restaurant Nutrition (free) — ful online search tool that breaks down ing agriculture. Mashable calls this the “most dis- the nutrition content in thousands of food • Online nutrition trackers, such as the turbing” of the nutrition fact iPhone products, attempting to “healthify” our tracker built by Fooducate, allow the applications. It lists the nutrition facts supermarket choices. everyday consumer to type in the name for most popular chain restaurants and Liz McLellan of a food item or a UPC code, and gives consumers a better understanding (@hyperlocavore) creator receive a digital diagnosis of what he of what they are eating. of hyperlocavore.com has or she is really about to eat. • The Economic Research Service (ERS) coined the term “hyperlo- • MyFood-A-Pedia is a new government of the USDA has developed an online cavore” in the blogosphere. search tool for nutrition content that interactive Food Environment Atlas, Being a hyperlocavore means maintaining puts official government data within a which details a dozen different food a healthy lifestyle while cutting down your few keystrokes of everyday consumers. issues across the U.S. The ERS allows Digital Tools and Trends for 2010 17
  18. 18. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion DIGITAL TOOLS AND TRENDS FOR 2010 carbon footprint, and saving a few dollars the health of the environment and the and be a single, cohesive and accessible while you’re at it. Her online community economy. Smart explains to his readers source for all food recalls and food supply (a yardsharing community) offers news that the food industry does not operate problems. US Food Safety Blog works in surrounding local food movements and in a bubble and that what we put in our tandem with its Twitter account to issue encourages readers to team up with neigh- bodies ultimately creates a chain reaction, warnings and updates on the latest safety bors and friends to start a “yard share,” an from the government all the way to the topics. arrangement between people to share skills environment. He blogs about the joys and Darya Pino and gardening resources in order to grow benefits of eating sustainably by offering (@Summertomato) is the food as locally as possible. Liz is also on practical advice and challenging his read- creator and author of the YouTube. ers to eat locally. blog, Summer Tomato. Pino Eddie Gehman Kohan People’s Grocery is a scientist and self-de- (@ObamaFoodorama) is (@peoplesgrocery) is scribed “foodie” in the San Francisco area. a food and agriculture an Oakland, Calif. based Pino advocates local and seasonal foods writer who created Obama organization that focuses on and uses her online presence to promote “ Foodorama during the 2008 building health and nutri- healthy eating and offer tips on how to do presidential campaign to cover anything tion solutions to it. “Health is our having to do with President Obama and counter lack of ac- greatest resource food. Kohan blogs about all White House cess to healthy food. and though it some- food initiatives – this includes every- thing from food policy analysis to the Executive Director Nikki Henderson @ObamaFoodorama: Why times seems elusive, anyone can achieve first Thanksgiving at the White House, to the First Lady’s organic garden. With leads the team and plans to expand does @bmarler it,” says Pino, who sees nutrition as a substantially large Twitter following, operations with notify public of Class 1 the key to achieving Obama Foodorama is a favorite of many the hope of having good health. Pino’s D.C. foodies. a greater impact recall before USDA? education in bio- on community logical sciences has Rob Smart (@JamButter), creator of food systems. The http://bit.ly/5rkoyc TX to shown her that pre- The Snap Blog, wants to fix organization gathers supporters of food @gastropoda for tweeting venting and curing a large number of dis- our food system. He encour- ages his blog’s readers to access, food safety eases can be linked “ eat sustainably, for personal health and and food justice – to food choices and the idea that access to healthy foods is she is using her digital platform to spread a human right. People’s Grocery is built that message globally. on the tenant that, “as the food system Bill Marler The first leap one must continues to decline our belief in new and bold solutions becomes stronger.” This (@bmarler) is a widely recognized advocate in the make in embracing Pro Food belief has been part of the group’s drive to food policy world for his use its site and social networking tools to vocal opposition to big food is that significant change is spread its message. producers’ food safety violations. Marler required in how we grow, US Food Safety Corporation (@foodsafeguru) is the au- is an attorney with more than 15 years of experience championing food safety process, distribute, prepare thor of the US Food Safety cases surrounding E. coli and salmonella. Blog and is an organization Marler has taken to the Web to continue and consume food. with the simple goal of his advocacy and his blog, the Marler Blog, being an independent voice for spreading has given him a larger platform into the – The Snap Blog information about food safety. The blog nutrition world to continue his crusade for works to fill a void within the digital space higher standards and more accountability. Digital Tools and Trends for 2010 19
  19. 19. What’s On America’s Plate: A Dynamic Look at Today’s Food Policy and Sustainability Discussion ABOUT SPECTRUM Spectrum is a full-service communications agency that specializes in science and health. Founded in 1996, Spectrum brings over a decade of outstanding results in media and public relations, public affairs, advocacy and regulatory affairs, branding and digital communications. Our team of science, health and communications experts works in collaboration to help ensure our clients’ success. Spectrum’s public affairs practice specializes in strategies to shape state and federal policy, to launch successful education campaigns and to navigate the legislative and regulatory process. Our food and nutrition practice specializes in the development and implementation of issue campaigns, digital strategy and creative communications solutions that engage advocates, policymakers and others around food and nutrition policy aimed at improving public health. About Spectrum 20
  20. 20. Spectrum 2000 K Street NW (Second Floor) Washington, DC 20006-1890 tele. 202.955.6222 fax. 202.955.0044 www.spectrumscience.com

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