Tag Archives: health

UVM Food Systems Summit

NOFA Vermont is proud to be a featured partner of the UVM Food Systems Summit. Almost half of our staff plans to attend – if you’d like to as well, registration closes today at midnight. If you’d like to attend after that point, call call UVM Conference and Events Services at 802-656-5665. Walk-in registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

Who should own and control the food system? How much additional food production capacity do we need and where? How do cultural values influence food practice? Food systems scholars and leaders will address these questions and more when they convene at the University of Vermont (UVM) June 17-18 for the third annual UVM Food Systems Summit to share research and engage in dialogue on the pressing food systems issues facing our world.

With a vibrant local food economy, Vermont is a hot spot of sustainable food system development, and a prime location to explore the innovative models that are providing solutions to the multitude of social, environmental, health and economic problems arising from our broken food system. During the day and a half conference, sessions will address the following themes: the biophysical constraints we face for food production globally, the impact of our geopolitical context on our food system, and the implications of behavior and culture for our food system.

“UVM is a leading academic institution in the transdisciplinary study of food systems, and Vermont is a national model in alternative food system development with its network-based, systems-approach,” said Doug Lantagne, director of the UVM Food Systems Initiative. “Our goal is for food systems researchers, leaders, practitioners, and engaged community members to come together at the summit and expand their knowledge, network with peers to generate future collaborations, identify needs and prioritize future work.”

The summit will transcend the boundaries of academia by incorporating food systems efforts happening outside the ivory tower. Unlike traditional academic conferences, the summit is designed to optimize engagement between scholars and practitioners outside of academia. As such, the summit is open to the public, and the organizers are seeking participation from nonprofits, government, farmers and food producers.

Three keynote speakers will each provide a one-hour talk as well as participate in a panel discussion at the end of the summit: Rosamond Naylor, director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, and Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at City University of New York’s School of Public Health and Hunter College.

Panel discussions will feature research and examples of how local-level responses are responding to globalization in the food system. To promote dialogue among all participants, all sessions will include time for Q&A and engaged dialogue with the audience. Participants will enjoy local foods and drink during a Taste of Vermont reception.

[post from Alison Nihart, UVM]

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How to submit a FSMA comment that counts: Webinar 11/4

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011, but the specifics of the law are still being worked out, and the public comment period ends on November 15.

When finalized, these rules will affect many Vermont vegetable and fruit growers – large and small. Along with UVM Extension and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, NOFA Vermont is hosting a webinar for farmers and others that will highlight the elements of a strong comment, give examples of potential talking points for different types of farms (focusing on alternatives to the proposed rules), and walk you through how to submit comments on the Federal Register.

Space is limited. Click here to reserve your Webinar seat for November 4th from 12 -1 pm.

PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of the webinar is NOT to explain the details of FSMA, but to help you submit your comments. If you are not familiar with FSMA, please use one of the following resources to learn more beforehand.

Healthy Food, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Beauty

I’ll admit to some hesitation when Anne-Marie Keppel first approached me about partnering with the 9th annual Montpelier Fashion Show. As a farming and gardening organization, we don’t often have much crossover with the world of fashion.

Anne-Marie explained that the Fashion Show partners with a different nonprofit each year to bring awareness and attention to its cause. This year, the show is moving from its traditional spot on State Street to the Statehouse lawn, under the “golden glow of the Capitol building” and the protective eye of Ceres, whose likeness graces the top of the dome. Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture, is the inspiration for the 2013 Montpelier Fashion Show theme, “A Night in Ancient Rome,” and also the inspiration for the partnership with NOFA-VT.

Anne-Marie Keppel in a dress of fresh veggies, designed by Elizabeth Pieroni. The fashion show also wanted to promote the idea that beauty begins with a healthy body — and a healthy body begins with healthy food. We couldn’t agree more! So, we find ourselves the proud partners of the Montpelier Fashion Show. We’ll be helping to source vegetables for a fresh veggie dress, to be designed by Elizabeth Pieroni, who designed the dress in the image on the right. Our friends at High Mowing Organic Seeds will also be sending a creation down the runway – we can’t wait to see what it is.

The 9th Annual Montpelier Fashion Show will take place Friday, June 7th on the Statehouse lawn. Hope to see you there!

(You can get a sense of the fun energy of the event with this episode of Stuck in Vermont from Seven Days!)

Organic vs. Contential Milk: Is There a Big Difference?

While attending the NOFA winter conference, I noticed that much of the conversations that were being held were about the most effective way for small farmers to reach their desired audience. Recently The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study that looked more in depth about organic foods and what food is worth buying organic.

When parents are shopping for food whether it be at a grocery store chain, local farm stand, or co-op they want to purchase the food that will have a positive impact on their families. So when choosing between the conventional options and the organic labeled foods parents that can afford the organic foods are more than likely reaching for those choices. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently conducted a study about the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing organic foods for children. On average the cost of these foods are about 10 to 40 percent higher than the non-organic foods and in the case of purchasing organic milk there seems to be little difference. With a high dependency on the cows daily diet and the scale of the farming operation raw milk could have higher rates of antioxidants which is a positive for small children and families. However the report claims that there is no evidence of ‘clinical relevant difference’ between organic milk and conventional milk. It’s not all doom and gloom surrounding organic foods and if they have a better effectiveness than conventional foods.

When incorporating organic food the study found that a significantly lower percentage of pesticides were found in children who ate organic foods. These low levels can contribute to a healthier immune system and the ability for children to have a greater chance fighting off sicknesses and disease. Other bright news, organic foods will not have the high costs forever! With the rise in oil prices things like pesticides and herbicides will become more costly to farmers, which could allow for dropping organic prices. Along with the high costs of pesticides improvements in organic technologies will also lead to decreased costs for consumers.

For more information about the study visit: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/10/15/peds.2012-2579.abstract

Guest blogger: Jackson Diebold