America, We are Occupying the Food System: Interview with Marion Nestle


Double Food Environmental Pyramid - Interview with Marion Nestle I’ve just wrapped the second day of Barilla's 3rd International Food and Nutrition Symposium , where sessions today focused on"disnutrition" (a term I love that was introduced here to encompass the issues of obesity and malnutrition), the BCFN Double Environmental Pyramid, and the role of nutrition in childhood and aging. Still, I was determined to find a nugget of positive action to bring back to America- what were there bright spots? Reasons to celebrate? To my wonderful surprise, my interview with “food movement mamma” Marion Nestle left me feeling not just a burst of American pride, but even more important, hope for my two children. Here’s what we dished about:

Kate: How do we translate what we’ve learned here into actionable steps in the US at the consumer level?

Marion Nestle: Well we are translating it. I see more action going on in the United States than I see going on here about the kinds of issues that are being discussed at this conference. This conference is way at the leading edge of what’s happening in Italy (she then talked about how meals at her hotel were devoid of veggies).

Kate: Marion, with all the emphasis at this Forum placed on creating an alternative food model, do you have any hope for this in the U.S.? Any bright spots we can feel good about?

Marion Nestle: I think the food movement is very hopeful in the US. I’ve already seen enormous changes, phenomenal changes as a result of the food movement, things that I never thought were possible, and mainstreamed in ways that nobody could have ever predicted.


Here’s what Marion Nestle touched on, in both her session and our interview, as bright spots in the US food System:

Seven Bright Spots in the US "Occupy Food" Movement:

1. You can now get a good (“or at least halfway decent, some better than others”) selection of fruits and vegetables in any supermarket in America

2. The number of farmers markets has dramatically increased in just the last few years

3: More and more people joining CSAs than ever before

4: Urban farming is the rage (“in New York City of all places!”)

5: Local food has become really, really important

6: Much better food in schools

7: Greater awareness, like the NYC anti soda campaign.


Now that's something to toast on the long ride home tomorrow. What do you think are the  bright spots for seeds of change in the US Food system? I'd love to hear from you!

To see a recap of the twitter conversation check out my handle @greeneating, the conference  hashtag #BCFNforum, or the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition webinar page (who, in full  disclosure, sponsored my posts from the conference).




Next Generation’s Health and Sustainability: Partnering with Barilla

Barilla Center for Food & NutritionIf you’ve ever spent even 5 minutes in the same room with me, you find out pretty quickly that Italy runs through my veins. Or more accurately, through my heart and my stomach. While technically I’m 100% Irish, after living in Florence for 2 years and eating my way through the rest of the country, I knew I wanted to spend my life exploring the connections between health, nutrition, and the pleasures of good food at the table.
Which is why I’m so pleased to be partnering with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) to help move forward the dialogue about the most critical challenges of our time: Nutrition, Children and Sustainability. We all know that economic growth, globalization, and the sprawling cultural influence of a Western diet are bringing about a change of eating habits on a worldwide level, with child obesity rising at an alarming rate.  So whether you work in healthcare, or are a mom committed to raising healthy kids, I hope you’ll tune in to this groundbreaking webinar that will move the dialogue forward about the connections between children’s health and planetary health.
What will the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition be covering in the webinar?
1. How to simplify the issues in a way people can understand.
One of the best tools I’ve seen in a long time to help people truly see the connection between the ecological footprint of different dietary patterns is their  The Double Food Environmental Pyramid model. Having spent almost a year researching my book and trying to explain these connections, it’s a refreshingly simple but useful tool for developed countries to understand the links between diet and environmental impact.
2. Who are the players, and what are their roles?
According to the BCFN, healthy growth and development calls for an integrated approach between the family, school and pediatricians for educating new generations on the relationship between food, health and well-being during childhood and adolescence.  Of course, nutritionists are on that list as well!
3.  What is the responsibility of agriculture and industry?
There’s been a growing call for accountability of  agricultural and food industries to do their part, with initiatives and product lines that are aligned with the correct nutritional practices for children, as well as long term sustainability. What’s happening globally in this area?
If you can’t tune in, I hope you will follow the discussion on twitter at #SustainOurChildren or @BarillaCFN. Or check back here on Wednesday, as I’ll be posting another blog about what we all learned.
Webinar Info:
Nutrition & Children: Sustainable Models for the Future Generations 
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 – 11:00am EST
Webinar Page: