1. What are the existing national and regional programs which aim to improve the dietary quality and dietary diversity of farming families?
In response, my region is in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA, where formerly major financial stability relied on tobacco crop, more so than on crops of vegetables and fruit.
Our local University here in North Carolina, has been very aggressive and progressive in a shift toward more and better access to locally grown foods. Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, has led actions to generate connections between the farmer and the families who enjoy their food in various methods.
a. What educational and communication strategies have been used in these programs?
Annually, meetings are held at the University for farmers to share their best methods of production, challenges, and of course some of their fresh produce, meats and fish. Meals are prepared for member attending the public meetings, and all can partake of the food. It is a chance to introduce the farmers and the consumers to one another in support of the US Department of Agriculture’s recent campaign, “Know your farmer, know your food”.
b. What main constraints and best practices have been identified?
Dr. Hossfeld’s students and other staff members at the University have created a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), meaning to develop relationship between the farmers and the communities that consumer their foods.
One of the services is an agreement by the consumer to provide ‘seed money’ for the farmer to plant and cultivate. At the harvest period a basket of freshly harvested foods is provided to the consumer who paid in advance with seed money.
The second major strategy has been to create an online shopping market to buy the fresh produce using the internet and bank cards to pay. The harvested produce is taking to a community central site where packers place each shoppers selected foods into a bag to be taken to a pickup site within the community that has been designated for regular weekly shoppers to collect their food that has been paid for online.
c. What other strategies have potential?
Recently this University guided group has begun to market online and via telephone calls to local restaurants that advertise farm fresh local foods are being used to prepare the best meals.
There is also a push to place a community open garden in a low-income district and help to supervise the process.
Sometimes, however there is far less impetus to ‘grow their own foods’ as to buy it already for use in the kitchen.
2. How can nutrition education increase the demand for local family farming produce with high nutritional value, and thus contribute to improving dietary diversity and to protecting traditional foods and the local food culture?
During my master’s education, I studied both western allopathic medicine and traditional oriental medicine. It became apparent to me many of the diseases experienced by my patients while interning and in practice, later responded well to changes in their nutritional intake, in fact, almost more so. Although the acupuncture, when added to a healthier lifestyle, particularly in food selection, was exceptionally successful. In my practice, I have treated patients suffering from cancer, auto-immune diseases, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, headache, Type 2 diabetes, organ removals, infertility, and gastrointestinal dysfunction, using not only acupuncture, nutrition counseling and education to improve quality of life and wellness, exponentially.
a. What are the existing programs in the region in this respect?
Currently, this is where in my mind there is a short coming in resources and outreach. The nutritional education model that was my master’s thesis, ‘Food Physics & Body Dynamics®’ takes a new, fun route to teach people how to choose foods that will address their own unique needs; needs that are based on activity level, age, metabolic characteristics, climate and geography, and takes into consideration what foods are available to meet the need to be nourished.
b. What main constraints and best practices can you identify?
The ‘Food Physics & Body Dynamics®’ model has been certified to provide continuing education credits to MD, RN, Acupuncturist, Chiropractors, and other health care professionals to meet their continuing education requirements in the field of nutrition. If fact, in the year 2000, it became essential for all healthcare professionals to obtain nutritional education. There is some debate over how many credits will be necessary.
Yet for the most part, old facts which have become outdated for a multitude of reasons and the methods being used to teach nutrition education that may not be effective for each individual and their unique body constitution.
c. What other strategies have potential?
One of my primary goals is to teach the ‘FOOD PHYSICS & BODY DYNAMICS®’ throughout the United States and Internationally in order to reduce both the Under 5 Mortality Rate and the Maternal Mortality Rate, for mother and child after a successful pregnancy and delivery. Nutrition if an essential, yet appears to be secondary, tool in the fight to save more lives at birth, taking them into their youth and through maturity.
‘FOOD PHYSICS & BODY DYNAMICS®’ is simple yet profound in its elemental style. Using an understanding of each person’s wellness as viewed on a tongue can reveal which color and flavor of foods will be most beneficial to provide energy and retain wellness at the same time. This is a time tested method, used in oriental medicine and daily life over 4,000 years. The model that I developed to teach these principles has been certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the USA.
Teaching nutrition in a usable method across all ages and education levels, is my strategy to reduce malnutrition with knowledge, leading to interest and desire to recognize the value of whole, fresh foods, meat, and fish. This in due process will develop more jobs in agriculture, aquaculture, research, and reduce the cost of ~3.5 trillion dollars lost to malnutrition annually.
May you and yours…Be In Good Health,
Laura L. Dawson, MAOM, Dipl.Ac.