In my role as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (ANDF) Chair, I am excited to bring you the third segment in this four part series written by guest blogger, Chris Vogliano, MS, RD, LD. He is the agriculture nutrition and health research fellow with ANDF and the lead author of the article Plentiful, Nutrient-Dense Food for the World: A Guide for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs). In this series, Chris brings you RDN farmer experts who address some common questions consumers want to know about food and agriculture.  Learn on!

National Dairy Council (c) 2015

National Dairy Council (c) 2015

Welcome back! I am happy to bring you part three of this series where RDN farmers answer four questions that have been commonly asked by consumers about food and agriculture. Four RDN farmers offered their expertise to answer these questions a past FNCE symposium and were also featured in a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ article.

There is a growing concern about the impact one’s diet has on the environment, and how we can help reduce our carbon footprint. Fellow RDN and farmer Dayna Green-Burgeson, RD, CDE helps to address “How Can I Reduce the Environmental Impact of My Diet?” She also offers suggestions for how nutrition professionals can apply the insights.

“As the world’s population continues to grow, the need for improved food system efficiency looms large. Globally, an estimated one-third of all food produced is lost between the farm and consumer. In low-income countries, the losses typically occur between the field and retail outlet. In higher-income countries, the losses occur more often between retail and the landfill. The amount of farmland used to produce food that is wasted is larger than the total land area of the United States, and the total GHG emissions associated with the production and decay of wasted food are greater than the emissions of any country except the United States or China.

Fruits and vegetables are the biggest source of food waste in the United States. More than half of all the fruits and vegetables produced are never eaten. These losses occur from “farm to fridge,” with a 20-percent loss occurring on the farm, 16-percent between farm and consumer, and 28-percent after the consumer is in possession of the produce.”

Flickr

Flickr | radiantradon (c) 2008

How can RDNs apply this information?

“RDNs and other nutrition and dietetics practitioners have an important role in educating the public about reducing the environmental impact of their diet, especially by reducing food waste through purposeful selection, storage, use, and consumption. Organizing worksite, community, or school campaigns to decrease food waste and educating consumers about gardening and home cooking—using seasonally available foods—and safely preserving and storing perishables helps reduce food waste, increase consumption, and protect the environment.”

USDA Stock Image

USDA Stock Image

Be sure to check back for the final part in this series. Jennie Schmidt, MS, RD will address “Does Soil Have Any Influence on the Nutritional Value of Food?”

Missed the first two editions? See how Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN answers the question “Is Grass-fed Beef Better than Grain-fed Beef? and what insights Abigail Copenhaver, RDN, CDN offers about What influence do dairy cows have on the environment?