Nutrition and Sustainability. My Locavore Conversion?

Farmers Market at Point Reyes, California.  Summer 2009.
All right folks, it's been one week and my fingers are itching to blog.  Let me splurge a few minutes to divulge my recent thoughts.  But get ready as I unlease some captive enthusiasm; this is a 100% personal opinion post.  OH YES!  I'm seeping with idealism and earnestness, and add a dollap of naivety too.  But I'm young, so don't judge me. 
Farmers Market, Union Square in NYC.  Fall 2009.
A Confession...Please Indulge Me.
When I came to Boston for grad school in the summer of 2009, I had a two-fold mission.  First, do the dietetic internship for the Registered Dietitian's license, and second, complete a Masters degree in Nutrition Communications.  This summer I will find out if I still like the hospital setting, and my starstruck fantasies of becoming a nutrition journalist haven't completely dissolved (hey, I'm a long-term dreamer- it could still 20 years).  
However in the past seven months I have been slowly introduced to the world of agriculture and food policy.  The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy houses a wealth of treasures; there's some amazing research going on, and plenty of enthusiastic people.  I have met other graduate students who brew their own beer, grow their own spices, drink raw milk, shop exclusively local, and who are fluent in the complex language of environmental food issues.  I'm a newbie, and I don't even know the basic voacabulary.  But I'm ready to learn.

My background is rooted in clinical nutrition.  With my limited experience I love the physiology of metabolism, the diet counseling, the tube feed calculations (ok, not so much), figuring out a nutrition diagnosis, and patients contact!  However, I am realizing that food is connected not only to science and nutrients, but to policy, business, and society.  Can the future of dietetics go beyond medical nutrition therapy, and sprout new off-shoots into food policy, agriculture, and environmental concerns?  As this "locavore" movement becomes mainstream, I hope that dietitians can stay abreast and ahead.

My burning question:  How does a person balance nutritious food for a healthy body with sustainable food for a healthy Earth?  I want to start figuring this out for myself.  Or if you've already answered this, please enlighten me!  
  Astounding, right?  Tulip fields in North-Holland, Netherlands.  Flickr photo from Allard One
An Action Plan.  (I Love Lists!)
  1. Network and Learn.  Today I'm renewing my American Dietetic Association membership, and I've decided to join the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.  
  2. Eat!  This week I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share through New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.  Once a week from June-October I will be receiving fresh produce from a local farm in Lowell, MA.  This is completely new to me, but I'll be sure to blog about it.
  3. Read.  It's about time I explore the blogosphere of the gardening, canvas-bag-toting, do-it-yourself-canning people.  Yup, you locavores amaze me.  But not only blogs, I want books too! know nothing gets more me excited than a new book list for the BPL.  

Point Reyes Farmers Market, summer 2009.
New Discoveries!
Passing along some blog resources, and they are all people from Tufts!  
  • US Food Policy written by Park Wilde, PhD.  Associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy of Tufts University.  He teaches the US food policy classes, but ironically I'm taking Regression Analysis from him this semester.  Great blog!
  • Epicurean Ideal by Ashley Colpaart, RD.  Friedman student posting on all things food policy or nutrition.  Check out her "Foodie and Greenie Links."
  • Earthbound Kitchen by Amy Scheuerma, Masters student at Friedman studying Agriculture, Food, and the Environment.  I enjoyed reading her recent posts about free-range meat and grass-fed beef.

Readers, help me out!  
What's your thoughts? What are your favorite blogs, websites and books for local foods and sustainable living?


MelindaRD said...

Way to join a DPG. Let me know what you think. I am a member of 2, but not that one.

sherbear said...

Hey Rachel,

This is Sherry (from your class at UCD). Your locavore post here caught my attention, and I just wanted to say that I think the field of dietetics can (and in my opinion, they should) incorporate the fields of food, agricultural, and environmental policy. My classes at Columbia focuses a lot on these issues, which totally reminds me of what you said here -- UCD gave us a great clinical background, but there is this whole other world out here about food sustainability that we didn't quite learn enough about. Anyway, there are lots of books and websites about these issues...any of Michael Pollan's books is a good start. Food, Inc. (which, by the way is airing on PBS for free next week - I'm currently helping them market for this campaign :)and Future of Food are two good documentaries about our food system. I've also heard good things about the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition DPG. If you're looking for something to read, I have tons of articles that discuss food and agriculture.

Anyway, that was a longish reply. I hope you're doing well at Tufts!


Kati said...

I am excited to read more about your discoveries as this is not an area I know much about and would love to know more. And I love the term locavore by the way!:)


Rachel said...

Thanks everyone! Thanks so much Sherry for the info, I need to keep in touch with what you're learning at Columbia!

Emily said...

I think nutrition is such a great field because of its diversity! I also started out with a passion for clinical nutrition and understanding the physiology behind the disease states but have found that I'm not sure I want to work in a clinical setting. My favorite rotations so far have been working with oncology patients and also counseling college students. I'd also really like to do something that blends my love for the arts and communication with my nutrition knowledge, but we'll see what kind of jobs are out there for me. :-)

Sustainability is something I've become more and more interested in after watching Food, Inc. and attending SLU, where there is a definite commitment to green living and eating.

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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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