Working as a registered dietitian in dairy for over twenty years, I have seen agriculture become more a part of the nutrition conversation. Recently, I have been on the road attending various state Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) meetings. My main goal was to be a sponge…to listen and absorb. I wanted to hear what thought leaders had to say about the farm to table dialogue and how it is impacting them personally and professionally. Here is what they shared. It was quite eye-opening.
• More information is needed about farmers/farming. These leaders are yearning to learn more about farmers, agriculture, on-farm practices and its impact on the food we eat. What better way to learn these things than to visit a farm or two or ten. The more farms one can visit the better because if you have seen one farm…you have seen one farm. Each farm and farmer vary so you can only benefit from visiting multiple locations.
• Concerns expressed about agriculture/farming/sustainability. Like the thousands of RDNs surveyed by AND about agriculture and sustainability, these leaders also expressed concerns in this area. Many have questions about farming practices, GMO’s, antibiotics and hormones. Bottom line…RDNs want to know more.
• Science-based resources/data desired. Dietetics is grounded in science. So it only makes sense that these thought leaders are seeking evidence-based resources related to farming and agriculture. These credible resources will help nutrition professionals build farming and agriculture into both their personal and professional conversations.
• Help is available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (ANDF). The Academy is RDNs’ guiding star. We rely on AND to vet the science and create resources we can use. Through the Future of Food Initiative, ANDF has developed webinars and infographics to help fill this need and educate RDNs on farming and agriculture.
The opportunity to help bridge nutrition education and agriculture is rich. As nutrition professionals, we are in a unique position to make a huge impact. Using science-based guidance, we can help answer questions related to farming and agriculture for people seeking healthy, affordable and sustainable foods.
How is agriculture impacting your patients’ food choice decisions?