Monday, March 4, 2013

Practice Paper: Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System

A new Practice Paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic is available and the topic is Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System. I'm happy to see the final paper since I helped review it months ago as a member of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. The final paper was authored by my colleague Ramona Robinson-O’Brien and Bonnie L. Gerald.

I really like this call to action:
It is important to continually evaluate current food system practices and promote practices that support and sustain natural resources and the environment. Food system sustainability is dependent, in part, upon the protection and conservation of soil, water, energy, and the preservation of biodiversity. Promoting food system sustainability can be an admirable goal among RDs and DTRs. 
I was also intrigued by this address to decreased pesticide usage and possible suggestion to support organic agriculture:
The use of pesticides in agriculture may have a negative impact on wildlife and the wider environment (water, soil, air) if leaching, runoff, or spray drift occurs. In an effort to mitigate adverse environmental exposures, consideration should be given to alternative cropping systems less dependent on pesticides, the development of pesticides with improved safety profiles and formulations, and appropriate use of spraying equipment. 
There is also a fantastic section on consumer options, including growing interest is local food, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” farm to institution work, and innovations to address food access including SNAP benefits at farmers markets, community gardens, and utilization of cooperative extension. 

Finally, I was also super excited to see a shout out to some fantastic resources that some fellow HEN DPG members developed:

Included in the resource figure (Figure 1) is a link to the document “Healthy Land, Healthy People: Building a Better Understanding of Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition Professionals, which provides wide-ranging recommendations for RDs and DTRs to incorporate professional practices in support of ecological sustainability in the food system. RDs and DTRs are encouraged to utilize this valuable tool to identify practical examples within a variety of practice areas. Wilkins and colleagues contend that the economic, ecological, and social sustainability of the food system matter as much as the nutritional value of its products and encourage RDs and DTRs to practice “civic dietetics” by integrating food system awareness into their work.