Food & Nutrition Initiative | Bulletin

May 2015

Since March, AGree’s Food & Nutrition Initiative has shared it recommendations and facilitated discussion about the links between food, nutrition, and health at multiple public events, and has initiated the exploration of ways to partner with hospitals and community-based organizations to advance approaches that use food and nutrition to improve patient health.

In March, AGree Co-Chair Kathleen Merrigan spoke at a Washington Post Live event, Changing the Menu, as part of a panel on organic agriculture entitled, “The Organic Thing – are we getting what we pay for – and does it matter?”

During the month of April, AGree Advisor Dr. Claire Wang and others at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health hosted Obesity Prevention Month, which included a speaker series and roundtable discussions.

In March and April, AGree met with George Washington University, Wholesome Wave, Health Care Without Harm, and Fresh Advantage to explore opportunities to partner with hospitals and community-based organizations to test, develop evidence on, and scale up innovative approaches that use food and nutrition to improve health outcomes and save money.

AGree Co-Chair Dan Glickman spoke about food and nutrition at the The Future of Food: The Nexus of Food and Health summit, which was co-hosted by Diplomatic Courier and Mars, Incorporated on May 13. This event was designed to explore the link between food, health, nutrition, and wellness, and the role collaboration can play in addressing food and health challenges across the globe.

For more information about partnering with AGree on its Food & Nutrition Initiative, please contact Jennifer Pratt Miles (JPrattMiles@merid.org).

March 2015

AGree’s Food & Nutrition Initiative recently released a blog by Co-Chair Emmy Simmons and is partnering with UC Davis World Food Center to develop a collaborative demonstration project to identify scalable approaches for improving health through food and nutrition in California agricultural communities.

In March, AGree Co-Chair Emmy Simmons had a Guest Commentary blog entitled, Healthy Eating and Good Nutrition: Who’s Responsible?, published on the Chicago Council website. Her opinion piece reflects upon the recently-issued, first-ever Global Nutrition Report that calls for holding “key stakeholders” accountable for the actions they take regarding nutrition and, through a process of monitoring, motivating them to be responsible for improving the world’s nutritional status. Who are these “key stakeholders,” and what should they be doing to improve global nutrition? Simmons asserts that an important first step toward building a better food environment is acknowledging that healthy diets and good nutrition are a broadly-shared responsibility. This is a central tenet of AGree’s work on Food & Nutrition.

In addition, AGree is partnering with UC Davis’ World Food Center to develop a collaborative demonstration project to identify scalable approaches for improving health through food and nutrition in California agricultural communities. The pilot will build the evidence base regarding effective food and nutrition interventions and set the stage for a national dialogue about policy and private sector actions that can facilitate scaling up of effective strategies. AGree is also working to link healthcare and healthy eating interests and hopes to have project specifics we can share soon.

If you are interested in working with AGree on the implementation of its Food & Nutrition recommendations, please contact Jennifer Pratt Miles (JPrattMiles@merid.org).

January 2015


AGree’s Food & Nutrition Initiative finished up 2014 with multiple promising conversations: one with Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNS) Kevin Concannon and another with representatives from the National Commission on Hunger.

Deborah Atwood and Jennifer Pratt Miles met with Undersecretary for FNS Kevin Concannon and several members of his staff to brief them on AGree’s Food & Nutrition recommendations on using food and nutrition to improve health. The Undersecretary noted that all of AGree’s recommendations are compatible with USDA’s efforts and that USDA had recently commissioned two research centers that can help inform the implementation of AGree’s recommendations – the Duke-UNC USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research and the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Program. The AGree team promised to keep in touch and engage Undersecretary Concannon and his staff as we move forward with implementation of the recommendations.

In addition, AGree met with representatives from the National Commission on Hunger to learn more about their work and to explore partnership opportunities. All agreed that there is an exciting opportunity to expand successful community- and state-level approaches to reducing hunger and improving health and that bringing representatives from the hunger community together with others working on food security, nutrition, and health issues will help to increase understanding of how these groups can work together to advance common goals.

For more information, or to learn about partnering with AGree on this work, please contact Jennifer Pratt Miles (JPrattMiles@merid.org).

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