Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Public Health, Environment, and Equity

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-10-20
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


A public health approach to the US food system

Introduction to the US Food System: Public Health, Environment, and Equity is a comprehensive and engaging textbook that offers students an overview of today's US food system, with particular focus on the food system's interrelationships with public health, the environment, equity, and society. Using a classroom-friendly approach, the text covers the core content of the food system and provides evidence-based perspectives reflecting the tremendous breadth of issues and ideas important to understanding today's US food system. The book is rich with illustrative examples, case studies, activities, and discussion questions.

The textbook is a project of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), and builds upon the Center's educational mission to examine the complex interrelationships between diet, food production, environment, and human health to advance an ecological perspective in reducing threats to the health of the public, and to promote policies that protect health, the global environment, and the ability to sustain life for future generations.

Issues covered in Introduction to the US Food System include food insecurity, social justice, community and worker health concerns, food marketing, nutrition, resource depletion, and ecological degradation.

  • Presents concepts on the foundations of the US food system, crop production, food system economics, processing and packaging, consumption and overconsumption, and the environmental impacts of food
  • Examines the political factors that influence food and how it is produced
  • Ideal for students and professionals in many fields, including public health, nutritional science, nursing, medicine, environment, policy, business, and social science, among others

Introduction to the US Food System presents a broad view of today's US food system in all its complexity and provides opportunities for students to examine the food system's stickiest problems and think critically about solutions.

Author Biography

RONI NEFF, PHD, EDITOR, is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and directs the Food System Sustainability Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF). She has worked in a wide variety of food system and public health research, policy, and practice roles throughout her career.

THE JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR A LIVABLE FUTURE (CLF) is an interdisciplinary academic center focused on the interrelationships between food and public health.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Introduction xvii

Acknowledgments xxv

About the Editor xxvi

Author Affiliations xxvii

About the Center for a Livable Future xxxiii

Chapter 1 Food Systems 1
Roni A. Neff and Robert S. Lawrence

The Food System as a System 2

Focus 1.1. Complex Adaptive Systems 5

Focus 1.2. Food in the Food System 6

Public Health 8

The US Food System: An Overview 9

Perspective 1.1. When Your Boat Rocks, You Want Resilience Not Efficiency 12

Focus 1.3. Principles of a Healthy, Sustainable Food System 14


Chapter 2 Food System Public Health Effects 25
Brent F. Kim and Jennifer L.Wilkins

Dietary Health 26

Perspective 2.1. Gut Bacteria, Diets and Inflammation 28

Occupational and Environmental Health 33

Focus 2.1. Pesticides and Children’s Health 35

Focus 2.2. Food System Workers at Risk 39

Food Safety 40

Focus 2.3. Bisphenol-A: A Ubiquitous Food System Contaminant 42

Chapter 3 Ecological Threats to and from Food Systems 51
Molly D. Anderson

Status of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Services Essential to Food Systems 53

Focus 3.1. Assessing Ecological Integrity of Food Systems 54

Focus 3.2. Farmland Protection 57

Focus 3.3. Virtual Water and Food Systems 60

Processes Through Which Ecological Health isThreatened 64

Moving Toward More Environmentally Sustainable Practices 68

Perspective 3.1. A Farmer’sThoughts on Defining Sustainable Farming 70

Perspective 3.2. Consumer Perceptions of Environmentally Sustainable Foods 73

Chapter 4 The Food System and Health Inequities 79
Roni A. Neff, Anne M. Palmer, Shawn E. McKenzie, and Robert S. Lawrence

Health Inequities and Food Systems in the United States 81

Perspective 4.1. Foodies on a Mission 84

Elaborating the Pathways 85

Perspective 4.2. Realizing Justice in Local Food Systems 90

Perspective 4.3. The People Who Touch Your Food 93

Perspective 4.4. Contract Chicken Farming 94

Perspective 4.5. Food, Equity, and Health: Making the Connections in Public Health Practice 97

Chapter 5 Public Health Implications of Household Food Insecurity 107
Mariana Chilton, Amanda Breen, and Jenny Rabinowich

Definition, Distribution, and Determinants of Food Insecurity 108

Perspective 5.1. Witnesses to Hunger: Participation byThose Who Know Poverty and Hunger Firsthand 112

Nutrition Assistance Programs 114

Perspective 5.2. The Wrong Path Forward: Restricting Food Choices in SNAP 118

Perspective 5.3. A Defense of Excluding Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value from SNAP 119

Perspective 5.4. The Public Health Case for Universal Free School Meals 121

Focus 5.1. What Do People Do When They Are Worried about Feeding Their Families? 124

Broader Perspectives 125

Chapter 6 Community Food Security 135
Anne M. Palmer,Wei-Ting Chen, and MarkWinne

History and Evolution of CFS 137

Focus 6.1. Food Hubs: Supporting Healthy Farms, Healthy People, Healthy Economy 139

Measuring Community Food Security 141

CFS Policies at Multiple Levels 144

How Does CFS Change Happen? 146

Focus 6.2. Case Study: Iowa Food Systems Council, a Second-Generation Food Policy Council 147

CFS and Public Health 148

Challenges for the CFS Field 148

Perspective 6.1. The City That Ended Hunger 150


Chapter 7 Food System Economics 159
Rebecca Boehm, Sean B. Cash, and Larissa S. Drescher

Economics Boiled Down: Models, Optimization, Equilibrium, and Social Optimality 160

Agriculture and Food Production 163

Food Manufacturing and the Food Supply Chain 168

Focus 7.1. Price Transmission in the Distribution System: Retail Responses to Supply Price Changes 170

Food Consumption 171

Focus 7.2. US Farm Subsidies Do Not Make Americans Fat 174

Focus 7.3. Recent Progress in Private Sector Voluntary Initiatives to Promote Healthy Eating 177

Chapter 8 Policies That Shape the US Food System 185
Mark Muller and DavidWallinga

Federal Food System Legislation:The Process 189

Focus 8.1. Turning Policy Ideas into Legislative Realities 190

How Alliances Shape Policy 190

Focus 8.2. A Brief Look at Agenda-Setting, Policy Analysis, and Food Systems 192

The Policy-Making Process and the Role of Stakeholders: The Farm Bill as an Example 193

The History of US Food and Agriculture Policy: An Overview 194

Perspective 8.1. Why America’s Food is Still Not Safe 198

Perspective 8.2. Produce Imports 200

The Politics of Food System Policy:The Farm Bill as an Example 203

How PolicyDrives the Future Food System: The Role of Price 204

State and Local Policy 207

Focus 8.3. Preemption and Local Food and Agriculture Policies 208

Chapter 9 Food, Culture, and Society 215
Sarah Chard and Erin G. Roth

Culture and Food 217

Perspective 9.1. Beyond White Bread, a Better Society? 217

Foodways and Identity 219

Food As Ritual 221

Focus 9.1. Food and Faith 222

Food, Healing, and Health Beliefs 225

Food and Gender 226

Food, Power, and Politics: Food Movements 228

Perspective 9.2. Zombies, Food Writing, and Agribusiness Apocalypse 229

Implications For Food Systems 232

Chapter 10 Promotional Marketing: A Driver of the Modern Food System 237
Corinna Hawkes

What Are Food Marketing and Promotion? 238

Types of Food Promotion 239

Focus 10.1. “Supermarketing” and the Impact on Food Choice 240

Segmentation and Targeting in Food Promotion 242

Focus 10.2. POP! Point-of-Purchase Nutrition Labels Are Everywhere: Who Benefits? 244

Extent of Food Promotion 245

Where Promotional Marketing Fits Into the Modern Food System 246

Dietary Effects of Promotional Marketing 250

Perspective 10.1. Front Groups: Who is Shaping the Conversation about Health and Wellness? 252

Responses From Government and Industry 253


Chapter 11 Crop Production and Food Systems 265
Charles A. Francis

History of Farming Systems—From Local to Industrial 266

Traditional Systems in the United States 267

Emergence of an Industrial Agriculture 267

Perspective 11.1. The Relevance of Genetically Engineered Crops to Sustainable Agriculture 269

Industrial Crop Farming: An Overview 271

Focus 11.1. The Proliferation of Corn 273

Farms Producing for Local and Regional Markets 274

Perspective 11.2. A Bright Future for Farmers in the “Middle”? 274

Agroecology and Organic Farming 277

Crop Production—Impacts on Environment, Food Security, Public Health, and Society 278

Chapter 12 Food Animal Production 289
Brent F. Kim, Leo Horrigan, David C. Love, and Keeve E. Nachman

Focus 12.1. Seafood Harvest and Production 292

Industrialization of Food Animal Production 294

Perspective 12.1. Husbandry and Industry: Animal Agriculture, Animal Welfare, and Human Health 294

Public Health Impacts of IFAP 300

Focus 12.2. A Case Study in Rural Community Exposures: Yakima Valley, Washington 303

Perspective 12.2. Living in Duplin County 304

Global and Ecological Concerns 307

Agroecological Approaches to Food Animal Production 308

Policy and Dietary Change 309

Focus 12.3. The Pew Commission on IFAP: Policy Recommendations and Barriers to Reform 309

Chapter 13 Food Processing and Packaging 317
George A. Cavender

Food Processing 318

Perspective 13.1. Food Technology: Equal Partner for a Healthy Future 321

Perspective 13.2. Ten Food Secrets You Need to Know 323

How Do We Process Foods? 324

Focus 13.1. On the History of Freshness 328

Food Packaging 331

Food Processing and Packaging: Challenges 335

Perspective 13.3. Ultra-Processing and a New Classification of Foods 338

Food Processing and the Environment 340

Chapter 14 Food Distribution 345
EdwardW. McLaughlin and Miguel I. Gómez

Primary Segments of the Food Distribution System 348

Evolution of US Food Distribution 352

Perspective 14.1. The Impact of Walmart 353

Perspective 14.2. Walmarting the Food Chain 355

Focus 14.1. The Growth of Private Label Products in the US Supermarket Sector 358

System Trends in Consumer Expenditures 361

Focus 14.2. Regional Food Systems 363

Focus 14.3. Local Food Systems 363

The Future of Retail Food Distribution 365


Chapter 15 Food Consumption in the United States 373
Alanna Moshfegh

Changing Eating Patterns 376

Focus 15.1. Methods for Assessing Diets of Individuals 377

Focus 15.2. National Dietary Surveys in the United States 378

Perspective 15.1. The Supersizing of America: A Time for Action 381

Meal Patterns—When We Eat 383

What We Eat 387

Focus 15.3. What about the Food That’s Not Eaten? Food Waste in America and Its Ecological Impacts 392

Chapter 16 Nutrition 399
Courtney A. Pinard, Amy L. Yaroch, and Teresa M. Smith

Perspective 16.1. Consumer Perspectives 401

What Is Nutrition? 403

Nutrients 101 403

Focus 16.1. The Science behind Food and Addiction and the Potential Impact on the Food System 405

Other Nutrients 411

Other Considerations: Additives and Naturally Occurring Chemicals In Food; Organic Food 416

Perspective 16.2. Reasonable Certainty of No Harm? 416

Public Health Nutrition Approaches 418

Chapter 17 Healthy Food Environments 425
Patricia L. Truant and Roni A. Neff

What Is a Food Environment? 426

Focus 17.1. Measuring the Food Environment 429

Equity 431

Perspective 17.1. Connecting Civil Rights to Contemporary Food Justice 434

Homes, Schools, Workplaces 435

Perspective 17.2. Striving for “Food Service for a Sustainable Future” 439

The Built Food Environment 440

Focus 17.2. Is There a Map forThat? Using GIS Maps to Understand Our Food Systems 441

Focus 17.3. Connecting People andTheir Food Systems: Why Gardens Matter 447

Chapter 18 Intervening to Change Eating Patterns: How Can Individuals and Societies Effect Lasting Change throughTheir Eating Patterns? 457
Linden Thayer, Molly DeMarco, Larissa Calancie, Melissa Cunningham Kay, and Alice Ammerman

Designing Successful Dietary Change Interventions 460

Focus 18.1. Framing Public Health Messages to Improve Diet: Taking Measures to Avoid Weight Stigma 463

Case Studies 466

Focus 18.2. Meatless Monday: A Simple Idea That Sparked a Movement 467

Focus 18.3. Real Food Challenge 470

Perspective 18.1. Building a Better Food Environment 473

Future Directions For Dietary Change Interventions 477

Glossary 483

Photo Credits 501

Index 511

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