Home » Uncategorized » An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health – The Rest of the Story

An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health – The Rest of the Story

I’m going to briefly wrap this up because the course is closing and I won’t be able to go back and review the material for much longer.

Week 2 discussed food systems and food security. For those of you that don’t know food security is defined as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” according to WHO. Being food secure depends on availability, access, and also appropriate use.

Here you can read the American Public Health Association’s Policy Statement on a Healthy, Sustainable Food System.

Week 3 covered public health considerations of our current industrialized food animal production system. I encourage you to read this paper on US meat production. It covers not only why our system currently is the way it is but also leads into the consequences on public health, environmental risks, animal welfare, and rural America. 

Week 4 explained the Farm Bill, which in actuality is much more than just a farm bill. It encompasses so much more including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) previously known as food stamps, as well as conservation programs, research, the agricultural disaster relief fund (remember when tons of farms along the Mississippi were flooded?). The list goes on and on.

Week 5 explored alternative approaches to food production and highlighted some great videos that I will share with you. The first is called Out to Pasture and the second is a series of two on The Future of Agriculture (Part 1, Part 2). As you can imagine organic farming was a focus here.

Lastly, week 6 wrapped up with movements towards better health and a better food system. If you haven’t heard of the Meatless Monday campaign already I’d be surprised. Take a look at their website. Basically this explores the benefits on personal health with going meatless 1 day a week as well as a collaborative effect this can have on the environment.  Other “mondays” have even sprung up and are now collectively titled “The Monday Campaigns”, including “Move it Monday” to focus on physical activity, “Quit and Stay Quit Monday” to help those trying to quit smoking, and even “Man up Monday” for men’s health!

So take a look at all of the resources I’ve provided. It’s not nearly as complete as the course but I hope it enlightens you to a little bit of what I was able to get out of the class.

Now I’m going to sign up for another – Economic Issues, Food, and You! I feel like it will give me a lot to take back to the low-income parents of our Head Start program.

Signing off now – hope everyone had a great National Nutrition Month!

—-Christina Molinski, MS, RD

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