A brief digest of food and nutrition-related items that caught our attention recently. Got items you think we should include? Send links and brief descriptions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This long-form article over on Huffington post’s Highline has been making the rounds and may be a sign that public perception of fatness may be shifting, slowly.
More Americans live with “extreme obesity“ than with breast cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV put together. And the medical community’s primary response to this shift has been to blame fat people for being fat. Obesity, we are told, is a personal failing that strains our health care system, shrinks our GDP and saps our military strength. It is also an excuse to bully fat people in one sentence and then inform them in the next that you are doing it for their own good.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World. It shows that the prevalence of undernourishment continuing to increase, alongside adult obesity, which is also increasing. In this publication, the FAO makes explicit connections between obesity and undernourishment, as well as highlighting climate variability and extremes. The scope of these kinds of reports is necessarily massive, and I sometimes struggle to connect them to the experiences, approaches and understanding I encounter in our day-to-day work. Still, the report is very readable, with helpful graphics, and it reflects some of the narrative of the international discussion.
At the same time, in the U.S., the administration seems more focused on spending than hunger, and wants to impose stricter work requirements on SNAP recipients.
In the Farm Bill passed by the House and currently under debate in a conference committee, there are major proposed changes to snap that would substantially diminish its ability to fight hunger.
On a lighter note, I loved this article about adding a lot of vegetables and herbs to colorful and tasty sausages:
See, nowadays this butcher doesn’t actually eat a lot of meat (grains, veggies, fish and “so many herbs” are her day-to-day sustenance). The reason is simple: as the daughter of butchers, Nicoletti admits that vegetables were MIA in her life until she started working in restaurants—and now she’s doing her sneaky part to get everyone eating more vegetables as well.
Also over at Modern Farmer, another story of refugee farmers, where they briefly mention the issue of market access- which seems to always be a major challenge in the age of big ag:
Global Growers provides training — their growers, while horticultural experts need help adapting their skills to Atlanta’s climate. But most importantly, the organization provides market access, selling the produce through a farm share program, at local farmer’s markets and to chefs. The growers keep 75 percent of proceeds, which has allowed some to make “urban farmer” their full-time occupation.
Indeed, over at the New Food Economy, they tell the story of the New Jersey Senator who is trying to reduce the staggering vertical integration in U.S. farms (which has huge ripple effects globally). Yet this isn’t necessarily a bill that’s poised to change too much, especially in the short term, give that the Bayer-Monsanto merger is more or less certain.
Over on NPR’s The Salt, Gustavo Arellano wrote an excellent article about a program in the ’60s that had highschoolers replacing migrant farm workers:
We know the work they do. And they do it all their lives, not just one summer for a couple of months. And they raise their families on it. Anyone ever talks bad on them, I always think, ‘Keep talking, buddy, because I know what the real deal is.’ “
Lastly, don’t miss this lovely article about crying in public, (even if it reads like a bit like a oddly effective Starbucks ad):
In Starbucks, I was just a body with a need. To cry there was as acceptable as reading the paper. In that moment, I realized that it wasn’t just the pressures of running a business and being a bridesmaid that were stressing me out, but also my self-inflicted obsession with physical, political, and spiritual purity.