Monday, October 28, 2013

Food, Farming, & Dietetics - Texas Style!

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at another farm tour for dietitians... this time in Texas! As part of the pre-conference activities for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the International Food Information Council invited dietitians from around the country to come a day early and attend a farm tour. Being both a dietitian and a farmer, they invited me to attend to lend my voice and experience to fellow colleagues. We got to visit Mowery Farms and learn about Curt Mowery's family farm operation, as well as discussion issues in agriculture with fellows from the Texas Farm Bureau, Missouri County Farm Bureau, and experts from Texas A&M University.

Although I know next to nothing about Texas agriculture (though more now that I did before!), I was on hand to share my experience both as a dietitian and as a farmer. It was interesting for me was Curt and I speak the same language, use very similar terminology, and have similar goals of being good stewards of the land we are fortunate to farm while being profitable enough to maintain the family farm for the next generation.

One of the topics we discussed as dietitians is though we are experts in the field of food and nutrition, the dietetics curriculum has very little content in the way of food production... as in growing food.  When I was in my undergrad program, "food production" meant learning how to prepare large quantities of food in a commercial kitchen, like a 1000 bed hospital. Food production to me now means how food is grown. That is an area of great disconnect both in training programs for various professionals, and in the general population who are generations removed from farming as a livelihood.

I'm a big cheerleader for farm tours. They are one of the best ways to inform consumers and professionals alike. Many thanks to Curt Mowery and team for engaging with the IFIC Farm Tour dietitians to help increase the knowledge and understanding of modern food production on today's family farms!

Below are a few pictures from our Texas farm tour of Mowery Farms!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

40 Chances: Howard G. Buffett is my kindred spirit!

It has been a long time since I've used a highlighter to mark passages in a book that I'm reading. When I started reading Howard G. Buffett's "40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World", released today, I grabbed my yellow highlighter immediately. There was an immediate connection to a story teller with similar experiences as mine, the love of finding farming as a rewarding career, and the perspective one gains through working and experiencing life in developing countries.  Although he surely does not know it, (or appreciate it if he did), Buffett is my kindred spirit! He spoke my language throughout each of the 40 chapter of 40 Chances from policies and practices of US agriculture to policies and practices in places I've visited and worked. Buffett illustrates what's terribly wrong with food policies and yet leaves the reader hopeful, that a collective solution is attainable.

To read my book review, click here:

To learn more, visit 40 Chances or watch the video below: