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JBF Food Conference Day One: The 16 Most Memorable Things We Heard Today

Anya Hoffman

October 27, 2014

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Mitchell Davis and Mark Bittman

The 2014 JBF Food Conference, taking place today and tomorrow in New York City, explores the intersection of food and health—the myriad ways in which food supports personal and public health; fails to deliver on the promise of better health; and both drives and responds to other cultural forces in America today. We got off to an incredible start today with presentations and discussions about the relationship between food and health marked by thoughtful, impassioned insights and, at times, healthy debate.

Here are 16 of the most memorable things we heard today:

1) “Food and nutrition is fundamentally a public health problem and are not best dealt with in the physician’s office.” – Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Chair, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department at University of Pennsylvania

2) “Healthwise, the gap between the best-off communities and the worst-off communities has been widening every single year since the mid-80s.” – Chris Murray, Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

3) “Come into my neighborhood to work side by side with me, to share your resources and your help. This is what we need in lower income neighborhoods and neighborhoods of color. I want to change the paradigm from a hand-out to a hand in.” – Karen Washington, Urban Farmer and Community Activist, 2014 JBF Leadership Award Recipient

4) “You can make dog poop taste good with enough sugar, and the food industry does.” – Robert Lustig, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco, and Author

5) “A can of condensed Campbell’s [tomato] soup has an equal amount of sugar to a Hershey bar.” – Jonathan Halperin, Founder, Designing Sustainability

6) “Let’s start a movement to make every school sugar-free.” – Laurie David, Executive Producer, Fed Up

7) “Yes, you can have sugar. You just shouldn’t have quite so much. And that requires government regulation.” – Marion Nestle, JBF Award Winner and Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University

8) “Vote with your fork and vote with your vote.” – Marion Nestle

9) "This is no longer just a medical issue. It's a public health issue, and a social justice issue." – Sarah Fine of the Bigger Picture Campaign on diabetes

10) “Health inequities are not linked to a lack of cooking skills or poor budgeting or a character flaw. They’re linked to things like unemployment or lack of childcare or poor housing.” – Nick Saul, President and CEO, Community Food Centres Canada

11) “Food banks don’t work, because it’s really hard for food banks to bite the hand that feeds them, and the hand that feeds them is big corporations.” – Nick Saul

12) “People should have the choice of whether they want to grow their own food or whether they want to go to Trader Joe’s and get one of those delicious chocolate bars with the whole almonds in it.” – Toni Griffin, Director, J. Max Bond Center on Design for a Just City, on lack of choice in low-income communities

13) “More than 75 percent of physicians feel inadequately trained to counsel patients on food and diet.” – Miriam Arond, Director, Good Housekeeping Research Institute

14) “We can’t alter the natural world without it having a profound effect on our health.” – Kathleen Frith, President, Glynwood

15) “The fact that people interested in food are seeing the link not only between food and environment, which is important; not only between food and health, which is important; but between food and labor—that’s a movement.” – Mark Bittman, Author and Journalist, The New York Times

16) “The overuse of antibiotics is killing people. The overuse of GMOs is not killing people—as directly. We have to get antibiotics out of the food supply.” – Mark Bittman on whether antibiotics or GMOs are a bigger problem

Join us tomorrow for day two of the JBF Food Conference! Follow along by watching a LIVE broadcast at jbffoodconference.org

Anya Hoffman is a freelance writer and contributing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter.