Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Would People And Their Communities Be Healthier If They Still Got Food From Local Farms?

Date:
June 5, 2008
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
Would people and their communities be healthier if they still got food from local farms? The loss of farmland and livelihood is particularly alarming among small to mid-scale and minority farmers who are transitioning away from growing tobacco.

Would people and their communities be healthier if they still got food from local farms?

A team of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers has received a grant to study the public health impact of moving toward a local, sustainable food system. The team will establish a Gillings Innovation Laboratory (GIL) through the UNC School of Public Health.

Results of this two year study will improve understanding of the health, environmental and economic issues associated with this growing national trend. Although the research will be done in North Carolina, it will have national and international relevance.

"Among the most pressing public health problems in the U.S. today are obesity, environmental degradation and health disparities," said Alice Ammerman, Dr.P.H., UNC School of Public Health professor of nutrition and director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. "Contributing in a big way to each of these problems is our current food system, with its heavy dependence on fossil fuels -- such as fertilizers, pesticides and gasoline -- for large scale production and long distance transportation of often high calorie, nutrient poor food, from farm to processing facility to table."

"The result is not only damaging to our health and the environment but also devastating to the economic base of rural communities," Ammerman said.

The loss of farmland and livelihood is particularly alarming among small to mid-scale and minority farmers who are transitioning away from growing tobacco, she said. The rural communities in which these farmers live are also facing manufacturing layoffs and plant closures -- another blow to the local economy.

Ammerman's interdisciplinary team comprises many UNC departments, centers and schools. Collaborators include the School of Public Health's departments of health policy and administration and environmental sciences and engineering; the College of Arts and Science's departments of anthropology and city and regional planning; the schools of Medicine and Government; the Renaissance Computing Institute; the Center for Sustainable Community Design; and the Office of Economic and Business Development.

"We are also working very closely with faculty from NC State and NC A&T State universities, particularly the Center for Environmental Farm Systems; with the documentary studies department at Duke; and with collaborators from several organizations supporting the efforts of local farmers and addressing environmental concerns," Ammerman said.

Those groups include the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program, the U.S. arm of the Rural Advancement Foundation International, the Orange County Economic Development Commission and the NC Office of Environmental Defense.

Also involved is the NC Department of Health and Human Services Department of Public Health, the Wayne County Community Food Systems Initiative and the UNC Center for Integrating Research and Action, with regional partners in the southeastern, northeastern and Appalachian regions.

This large collaborative team will be gathering health, environmental and economic data within North Carolina that will guide policy decisions related to local, sustainable food systems and inform future research efforts.

"We will use case studies and documentary photography to explore the agricultural transition in North Carolina as tobacco becomes less economically viable," Ammerman said. "We'll pursue research opportunities addressing environmental benefits of transitioning to sustainable farming practices, determine whether there are nutritional and health benefits, and conduct an economic analysis of opportunities and barriers to local food systems. We will use these data to develop and test an innovative tool to identify market opportunities for farmers, and conduct a policy analysis related to local food systems and sustainable agriculture."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Would People And Their Communities Be Healthier If They Still Got Food From Local Farms?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605164655.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2008, June 5). Would People And Their Communities Be Healthier If They Still Got Food From Local Farms?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605164655.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Would People And Their Communities Be Healthier If They Still Got Food From Local Farms?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605164655.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins