“Eating is an agricultural act,” said American author and farmer Wendell Berry.
2015 is a new year and a broader — I would classify as new — conversation around food is happening right now. What I mean by this is that nutrition, agriculture and sustainability are no longer separate conversations. Americans want more than just taste, value and nutrition from their food. One in three adults say that they take into account the effect their purchases will have on the health and sustainability of the planet and people. More people want to know where their food comes from than ever before; they’re asking questions about everything from sustainability and a food’s carbon footprint to locally grown and organic foods.
Peoples’ needs are changing and our world is changing, too. By 2050, the population will expand to over 9 billion people, requiring about 70 percent more food. To nourish a growing and hungry world we not only need more food, we need more high-quality food. That’s why it’s important to grow more nutrient-rich food in a sustainable and affordable way.
There has never been a greater need to bring together registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and farmers so they can share their expertise, especially when it comes to helping people understand sustainable foods and agriculture.
As a RDN and on behalf of America’s 47,000 dairy farm families, I am so thrilled to help lead this new conversation. For 100 years, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to nutrition research and education for a healthier tomorrow. As NDC looks to the future, we will continue to support the health and wellbeing of Americans, responsible food systems from farm to table, healthier communities and a better planet. Helping to lower the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk by 63 percent since 1944, dairy farmers have and will continue to be part of nourishing a growing world in a responsible way. But no one can do it alone. It takes all of us – farmers, RDNs, environmentalists and the public to change the future of the world.
As health and wellness professionals, we need to help create awareness about how agriculture and nutrition are intricately connected to nutrition and health. A sustainable food system is about community vitality, conservation of natural resources, alleviating hunger and much more. Help your clients truly honor the harvest and reduce waste by choosing nutritious foods with portion control to help ensure everyone has access to nutrient-rich foods.
So join me on this journey. We have the opportunity to shape the future of our food system and lead in a new conversation about food. Connect with farmers in your local area and help provide science-based education on healthful, affordable and sustainable food choices to your clients.
Stay tuned for more information on the farm to table story! Let’s keep the discussion going on Twitter: @JeanRagalieRD.