James Beard Foundation Explores the Link Between Health and Food

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Late last month, thought leaders in the food movement gathered in New York City to discuss “Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?” The answer, as you might imagine, is YES! The event was livestreamed and all of the Food Conference’s panels, discussions and presentations are available for our perusal.

We highly recommend checking out talks from inspirators like Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Susan Ungaro and many others. If you are more pressed for time Kerry Truman of Civil Eats provides a succinct synopsis of the two day event:

If there was a consensus among the ‘thought leaders spanning the culinary, medical, agriculture, and arts communities’ in attendance, it could best be summed up by the words of another honoree, Ben Burkett, president of The National Family Farm Coalition: ‘Every human being on the face of the earth is entitled to clean food, fresh air, and fresh water.’”

So… how can Burkett’s mandate thrive? It starts with understanding just how far off we are from an equitable and sustainable food system. Truman lists some of the main concerns:

  1. Nutritional wisdom hasn’t really changed in the past 50 years

  2. We’re eating too much of the bad stuff and not getting enough of our three agricultural amigos: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  3. Food manufacturers intentionally formulate their unhealthy foods and beverages to make us crave and over-consume them.

  1. Diet-related chronic disease remains the leading cause of death in low-income neighborhoods.

Panelists probed for solutions to these problems, mentioning ideas such as how to create better policies at the local and national scale, how to get Big Food businesses to sell healthy food, and how to engage the American public so they better understand the connection between food and health. We are happy that organizations like the James Beard Foundation and Civil Eats are working on these questions; the answers are paramount to our collective fight for Wellness.

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