Food as Medicine: Nutrition Incentives and Veggie Prescriptions

Food Thinkers: ‘Food as Medicine: Nutrition Incentives and Veggie Prescriptions.’

Speaker: August ‘Gus’ Schumacher Jr.

When: Wednesday November 23rd 2016

About the talk: Access to affordable fruits and vegetables for all families, especially those with diet impacted chronic illnesses, is moving to the fore of American public policy. Major national and international food companies are also starting to produce –though slowly–healthier products.

First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband have led much of the movement, particularly for children’s health and nutrition and especially for “healthier food choices” at schools. Public policy at the Federal, State and especially cities and towns level have also been key drivers to improve access to healthy food as obesity and diabetic issues now impact close to 30% of the population.

A decade ago, diet improvements on nutrition and health were hardly discussed, much less funded. Yet, a decade later, doctors are prescribing weekly fruit and vegetable prescriptions for diet impacted patients to use at hundreds of farmers markets. Congress and foundations are investing nearly $500 million in nutrition incentives for low income families to use at some 6,000 farmers markets, benefiting over a million families with access to affordable fruits and vegetables and thousands of farmers with additional revenue.

This Food Thinkers seminar on November 23rd on “ Food as Medicine: Nutrition Incentives and Veggie Prescriptionswill highlight the drivers of these major nutrition and health public policy changes and innovations underway by farmers, doctors and hospitals and by major food firms in the United States. Similar innovative work in London and Scotland will also be highlighted.

About the Speaker:

Schumacher is Founding Board Member of Wholesome Wave, a Bridgeport, Connecticut based non-profit organization working on nutrition incentives for diet impacted vulnerable families.

He served as President Clinton’s Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at USDA from 1997 to 2001.

Prior to his Undersecretary’s Senate confirmation, Schumacher was Administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and earlier worked as a senior Agri-lender for the World Bank. He also served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture in Massachusetts from 1985 to 1991.

After Harvard College, he studied at the London School of Economics, was a Research Associate in agribusiness at the Harvard Business School, working with Professor Ray A. Goldberg and was an Associate at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum.

Schumacher was a member of the 21st Century Sustainable Agricultural Task Force of the National Academy of Sciences and with colleagues and also oversaw the preparation of the Task Force Report of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, titled “Modernizing America’s Food and  Farm Policy: Vision for a New Direction”(2008).

He has received leadership awards from the James Beard Foundation and from the EOS Foundation.

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