Falling into September

New students, returning students, and faithful readers -

Welcome to the Fimagesall 2014 inaugural edition of the Friedman Sprout!  Whether you were off traveling the world, working at an internship, or having some fun in the sun at the beach this summer, we hope you are energized and ready to dive into the school year!

For new readers, the Sprout is the student-run, monthly online newspaper for the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, featuring the latest in nutrition and agricultural news, campus happenings, public health controversies, food features and more.

The Friedman Sprout has two new editors, Sheryl Lynn Carvajal and Lara Goodrich Ezor. Allow us to introduce ourselves.

Sheryl is a third-year dual MS/MPH, entering her last semester of graduate school.  Her concentration at Friedman is Nutrition Communication.  She is from the sunny state of Florida, and is a proud alum of the Florida State University (2013 National Football Champions!) with a degree in Dietetics. Upon graduation, she hopes to complete a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian. Sheryl loves all things fitness, sunshine, and channeling her inner mermaid by doing anything that has her near the water.

Lara is a second-year Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN) student from Atlanta, Georgia. Since graduating from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, Lara has worked on a farm, hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and moved to Somerville, which quite suits her. After graduating from Friedman, Lara may head west to do some more long-distance hiking, and hopes to continue to write about food and nutrition. Lara loves dogs, gardens and taking accidental naps.

We’re thrilled to be at the helm of the Sprout. This coming year is bound to be a newsworthy one for food and nutrition.

In this mini, September issue, we delve into the stories of the summer. So, welcome!

And now, dig in!

Lara and Sheryl 

In this issue:

Market Basket’s Strange Summerimgres-1

by Brittany Peats

After a long, public dispute involving a family feud between two cousins with the same name, 25,000 employees, and the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the family-owned Market Basket grocery chain appears to be recovering from a summer of protests and empty shelves.

 

images-1How Do You Grapefruit?

by Sheryl Lynn Carvajal

The Friedman course “Health Claims and Food Industry” delves into public policy and industry tactics. In a video produced by students for the Florida Citrus Commission, find out just how versatile this juicy, red fruit can be.

 

Hot Summer for a Cold Challenge: ALS and The Ice Bucket Challenge

imgres-2by Lara Goodrich Ezor

ALS is a rare neurodegenerative disease, but ALS awareness made a big splash this summer. The ALS Association (ALSA) has brought in over $41 million since late July and the launch of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

 

imgres-3Summer Internships Take Friedmanites Far and Wide

by Grace Goodwin

Returning Friedman students will arrive back on campus this fall with a variety of new experiences under their belts. As the summer wanes, second-years provide insight into getting the most out of summer internships.

Market Basket’s Strange Summer

By Brittany Peats

After a long, public dispute involving a family feud between two cousins with the same name, 25,000 employees, and the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the family-owned Market Basket grocery chain appears to be recovering from a summer of protests and empty shelves.

Things are looking up for students in the Boston area who want to save on groceries – Market Basket should be fully functioning again soon. A family spat resulted in a summer of protests by workers, boycotts by consumers, and empty grocery shelves. Market Basket, which has 71 stores in the Northeast, is known for its low prices, multicultural offerings, and long lines. The board of the supermarket has finally reached a resolution between two warring cousins, Arthur T. Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas.

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Market Basket was started by a Greek couple in Lowell, MA in 1917 who later sold the company to two of their sons. When George Demoulas died in 1971, his brother, Telemachus, took over. In 1990, Arthur S., a son of George, filed a case against Telemachus, claiming that George’s descendants were cheated out of their share of the company. As a result, George’s heirs, including Arthur S., received compensation and 50.5% of the company’s shares. The heirs of Telemachus, including Arthur T., had 49.5% of the shares.

Arthur T. was made president of the company in 2008. But when one board member changed alliances in 2013, Arthur S. received command of the board. On June 23, 2014, Arthur S. and the board fired Arthur T. and other top executives. He was replaced by co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and James Gooch.

Workers protested, and executives resigned out of loyalty to Arthur T. and a belief that the new CEOs were brought in to raise shareholder profits, perhaps by reducing worker compensation, including profit sharing, or by dismantling the company. Several workers were fired for participating in protests. Many delivery and grocery store workers stopped stocking shelves, leaving the fruit and vegetable shelves empty.

Somerville Market Basket’s empty produce shelves on August 20, 2014

Somerville Market Basket’s empty produce shelves on August 20, 2014

MB2

A sign supporting Arthur T. Demoulas in the Somerville Market Basket on August 20, 2014.

Few customers shopped at the stores, and part-time workers saw their hours cut. Vendors stopped working with the supermarket chain. Throughout the summer, workers continued to demand that Arthur T. be reinstated as CEO.

On August 17, the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire met with the board to help resolve the dispute. On August 22, Arthur T. offered [again] to buy the company from Arthur S. and other shareholders. This final offer, which is reportedly around $1.5 billion, has been accepted.

It remains unclear whether these protests and their outcome will help or hurt the regional grocery chain in the months and years to come. Though for now, if you’re shopping on a budget, you can be optimistic that you’ll soon be back to getting “more for your dollar” at Market Basket.

 

Brittany Peats is a second-year FPAN student who loves pie and weekend trips to Maine and Vermont.

How Do You Grapefruit?

By Sheryl Lynn Carvajal

The Friedman course “Health Claims and Food Industry” delves into public policy and industry tactics. Produced by students for the Florida Citrus Commission, find out just how versatile this juicy, red fruit can be. I enjoy it best by sprinkling sea salt on it! #HowDoYouGrapefruit?

It’s that time of year again, when the streets of Boston and the cars of the “T” start filling up, and the new school year draws near.

During the past harsh and very long winter, I thought summer would never come. But alas, these last few months, summer was in full swing with plenty of sunshine and glorious temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

imgres-4Lounging around at the beach, enjoying a day on the boat, or singing along to “Sweet Caroline” during the 7th inning stretch at a Red Sox game in Fenway Park are all things that may come to mind when we think of this season. But naturally, as a nutrition graduate student, I know I’m not the only one who gets excited about summer fruits and vegetables.

In light of the end of summer and the dawn of fall, we take a look back at a certain grapefruit video that made waves on the Facebook pages of Friedman students last year. Dr. Jim Tillotson’s Health Claims and Food Industry course (NUTR 226) is offered in spring semesters at Friedman. Students learn about public policy surrounding health claims on food packaging, and hear from several representatives from food industry companies such as PepsiCo, the Federal Trade Commission, Monsanto, and General Mills. Students were also divided into groups to complete projects for Massachusetts General Hospital, Nestle USA, Mars, and the Florida Citrus Commission.

Friedman graduates Callie Herron, Tristan Kaiser, and Zoe Schweitzer, and second-year Friedman student, Michelle Pearson produced a student-starring video on the versatility of grapefruit.  They asked several Friedmanites how they enjoy the juicy fruit.

“The goal of our project was to increase per capita consumption of grapefruit and grapefruit juice,” Michelle Pearson said. “To do this, we needed to…position the grapefruit from old and dull to new and adventurous.”

Without further ado, and on behalf of the Friedman students who produced this video, enjoy and share with us #HowDoYouGrapefruit.

 

Sheryl Lynn Carvajal is a third-year MS/MPH student, and co-editor of the Friedman Sprout. She is ready for Florida State Football, and looking forward to enjoying her last semester of grad school!

Hot Summer for a Cold Challenge: ALS and The Ice Bucket Challenge

By Lara Goodrich Ezor

ALS is a rare neurodegenerative disease, but ALS awareness made a big splash this summer. The ALS Association (ALSA) has brought in over $41 million since late July and the launch of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Time will tell what the popularity of the challenge means for future awareness and fundraising campaigns.

In 2008, my grandfather died after a long struggle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His mind and spirit were vibrant until the end, while his body slowly succumbed to the disease.

The symptoms of ALS are tragic, and though the diagnosis is rare, awareness of the disease made waves this summer. The light-hearted and hugely popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took social media by storm, posing questions for the future of public health awareness and fundraising campaigns.

ALS is an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement of the body. Over a number of years, patients’ voluntary muscles weaken to the point that they can no longer control them. This includes – and most often culminates in – the muscles involved in breathing. Most ALS patients die from respiratory complications within 3-5 years after diagnosis.

ALS affects two in every 100,000 people. The disease affects men at a higher rate than women, and the average age of diagnosis is approximately 55. Within 90-95% of ALS cases are “sporadic” (SALS) with no known cause. Only 5-10% of cases of ALS are hereditary, or familial (FALS). Although the causes and cures for ALS remain elusive, research in the field has greatly increased in the last four decades. Though many clinical trials have failed to produce effective treatments for the disease, many more are currently underway.

Though it’s a rare disease, you likely know someone who has dumped a bucket of ice on his or her head this summer in the name of ALS awareness. The challenge unfolds like this:

Someone dumps a bucket of ice water on his or her head, and then challenges a few friends or family members to do the same within 24 hours. Alternatively, those challenged can donate to the ALS Association (ALSA), which funds research of and treatment for the disease.

Family and friends take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Family and friends take the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Most videos are under one minute in length and feature your favorite folks in bathtubs, on sidewalks or in backyards, squealing while dumping ice water over their heads. This simple gesture went viral in late July, with celebrities and public figures accepting the challenge – from Jack Black to former president George W. Bush. With each challenge, the chain continues.

Many people have taken the icy dare, and many have also pledged monetary support. While the challenge and its takers have been criticized by some for taking part in a shallow stunt in order to avoid making a donation, the Ice Bucket Challenge has, in fact, become an unprecedentedly successful fundraiser.

 

In a single month this summer, the ALSA brought in nearly $42 million, much of which came from 739,000 new donors. That’s more than twice the amount ($19.3 million) the organization raised in the entire year of 2012.

The popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge may provide insight into new avenues for public awareness of diseases in this era of digital connections and social networks. Combining fundraising with something shareable and fun, and mixing in the awareness of an obscure disease could prove to be a potent combination. It certainly had its intended effect this time around. Whether this was a one-hit wonder or silly trend of the summer remains to be seen.

Though not one for fads, if my grandfather was still alive today, I think he would have gladly dumped a bucket of ice water over his head for ALS awareness. After all, his wife (my 85-year-old grandmother) just did. 

It’s not too late to take the plunge!

For more about ALS, and to donate to the ALS Association, click here.

Lara Goodrich Ezor is a second-year FPAN student and co-editor of the Sprout. To donate to her family’s Walk to Defeat ALS Team, “For the Love of Louie,” click here.

Summer Internships Take Friedmanites Far and Wide

By Grace Goodwin 

Returning Friedman students will arrive back on campus this fall with a variety of new experiences under their belts. As the summer wanes, second-years provide insight into getting the most out of summer internships.

Second-year Friedman students are back to the books this semester with newfound experience, thanks to their summer internships. Forty-seven students pursued internships that were as varied as Friedman’s students themselves – working in policy (at the federal, state, and local levels), public relations, sustainability, humanitarian aid, private food companies, scientific and market research, grant-writing, and garden management – just to name a few. Friedman granted internship funding to 19 students to help them pursue their diverse goals.

Karin Christianson (N15-FPAN, pictured center) and fellow interns at the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Karin Christianson (N15-FPAN, pictured center) and fellow interns at the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Internships are one of the degree requirements for the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN), Agriculture, Food and the Environment (AFE) and Nutrition Communication programs at Friedman. Students typically pursue internships during the summer between their first and second academic years, though it is possible to complete an internship at any time during the degree process.

For some students, this fall represents a “homecoming” as they return to Boston from internships far away, both domestic and international.

In the U.S., Washington, D.C. was a popular destination for policy students. Friedmanites worked in the nation’s capitol at institutions such as the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the National WIC Association (NWICA), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Nestlé’s Corporate Affairs Office. Three students spent the summer in New York City, working at Edible Schoolyard NYC, Action Against Hunger, and GrowNYC.

Nine internationally focused students were able to apply their skills abroad, in such locations as England, Ethiopia, India, Mali, and Switzerland.

Theresa McMenomy (AFE) traveled to Ethiopia to work with USAID/Ethiopia. She was largely based at the Save the Children office to take part in the implementation of the USAID-funded ENGINE Project (Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities). Theresa also worked with a poultry project.

Theresa McMenomy (N15-AFE) at her internship farewell gathering with ENGINE project staff at Save the Children in Ethiopia.

Theresa McMenomy (N15-AFE) at her internship farewell gathering with ENGINE project staff at Save the Children in Ethiopia.

“It was great going to the countryside to meet beneficiaries,” she said. “I met two families who are classified as Most Vulnerable Households (MVHHs) and received 12 chickens of improved breed. Now they are able to diversify their children’s diets and sell leftover eggs so they can send their kids to school…and save money.”

Others stayed in the Northeast this summer. Twenty-five students remained in Massachusetts, most of them working in downtown Boston. Boston area internships took place at Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Office of Health and Wellness, Tufts’ HNRCA, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Law and Policy Clinic, and a lobbying firm. Across the Charles River, students interned at Shape Up Somerville, The Union for Concerned Scientists and a nutrition start-up.

FPAN/MPH student Leah Ettman spent her summer as the Communications Intern for the Healthy Kids Out of School initiative at ChildObesity180, right around the corner from Friedman’s campus. Leah sharpened her health communication skills, and raved about her summer experience.

“I would not trade my internship experience for anything,” she said. “It was so rewarding to not only use the skills I learned in my first year at Friedman, but also to gain additional knowledge in the field. Working with an incredible group of people who are just as passionate and dedicated to the organization’s mission made going to work fun and meaningful.”

For entering students, securing a future internship may seem like a stressor, but there are numerous channels to aid the process. Associate Director of Student Affairs Lori Ioannone oversees the Internship Program and described some of the ways students landed this year’s 47 internships.

Some students found work through Friedman alumni, she said. Others with interest in particular organizations applied directly on their own. In some cases, organizations reached out to Ioannone, and she then posted the opportunities to students. Finally, some students found out about potential internships through other students’ internship presentations, which take place each fall.

On that note, returning students will present on their internship experiences on Thursdays from 12:15-1:15 PM in Jaharis 118, beginning September 25th through October 30th.

For students who have now completed their internships, remember to sit down with your advisor for a check-in, and submit your reports by September 22.

And – welcome back!

Grace Goodwin is a second-year FPAN student from Alexandria, VA. For her internship this summer, she worked with the Massachusetts Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program and has now perfected her swaddling technique. 

 
 

April Showers

Hello lovely Sprout readers,

This month we have chosen to highlight what April is famous for, particularly here on the East Coast: April showers. Whether it’s falling from the sky, nourishing our agriculture system, filling in lakes and rivers, or returning to the ocean, water determines much of our existence. As nutrition students we know the importance of water all to well; after all, we are 50-75% water. At Friedman, we have the opportunity to partake in the WSSS program (Water: Systems, Science and Society), and we are giving the reins to a WSSS high-achiever, second year AFE and WSSS student, Meg Keegan, to introduce you to our April issue. So grab a tall cold one (of water, that is) and read on.

quote for letter from the editor

Having just returned from the bald landscapes of the Middle East to a thirsty, wilting Californian Central Valley, water is more than on my mind. But actually, water is always on my mind. It haunts even my everyday academic musings in a way only Norman Maclean would understand:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. “Eventually, all things merge into one, and I am haunted by waters.” 
― Norman MacleanA River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Water is, quite simply, inescapable. It is the fugitive resource that we cannot seem to elude. It is the quiet undercurrent flowing beneath all we do at Friedman: from a molecule vital to our most basic human function, to those overlooked ”eight glasses per day”, to the threatening irreversibility of agricultural impacts on water quantity and quality. Most importantly, it is a platform on which to connect with virtually anyone–it extends Friedmaners to development and humanitarian emergencies through water, sanitation and health initiatives. It connects AFE students with engineers through irrigation, and industries and urban planners through sectoral water allocation and management. It connects us all to the policies that protect, conserve, and restore our life-sustaining relationship with water.

This issue of the Sprout swells this month with amazing articles about my favorite subject. Lara Goodrich Ezor drops a few tips on how to save drips in the kitchen, while Lindsey Webb lays down the financials on water pricing in the U.S. New England fishermen get some positive light from Katie Wright. Also in this issue, Alyssa Charney enlightens us on the environmental guinea pig–CAFO waste–and its misguided programmatic solutions. And just try to eat almonds in the lunch room after reading Nelly Czajkowski’s piece on water consumption in nut production—I dare you! Finally, the Sprout puts on a water-taste-athon to see how the most expensive and highly touted brands match up to each other and controversy-laden tap water.

This water issue could not be more timely or relevant, and I expect that it will flood Friedman with engaged dialogue, and a hint of urgency, surrounding our most precious resource. Go ahead, dive in.

P.S. Be sure to check out the WSSS Symposium this Friday, April 11th, on Water and Cities!

Your Editors (and this month’s guest editor),

Amy, Mimi, & Meg

 

Inside this issue:

Policy & Science Research

Water Prices Across the US: How Does Your Bill Stack Up, by Lindsey Webb.  Our monthly water bills aren’t something most of us think about too much. But how does where we live change what we pay?

Are conservation dollars polluting our water?, by Alyssa Charney. The 2014 Farm Bill continues the practice of allowing conservation funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to support waste management practices that contaminate critical water resources.

Feature

Water-Saving Tips for the Kitchen, by Lara Goodrich Ezor. In honor of the water issue, we’re looking at simple ways to conserve water in the kitchen.

Cape Cod Cares: Small-scale Fishermen Make Waves to Keep the Cape Healthy, by Katherine Wright. Dogfish is in, Cod is out. How Massachusetts Cape fishermen are leading the way toward sustainability.

One Thirsty Nut: Almonds and the California Drought, by Nelly Czajkowski. A look into what the California drought means for Friedman’s favorite nut.

Reviews

Water vs. Water: Which Tastes Better? The Sprout Editors tickle the tastebuds of some Friedmanites with samples of different brands of water.

Poems You Can Eat

Salt on Sea, by Stephani Cook.  Vitamin-, mineral-, and nutrient-packed poetry for you and yours.  Take a long drink of this one. Warning: poetry is not actually edible.

The Grapevine

Calendar of Food Events
We’ve compiled a list of the best stuff happening in and around the city this month, including Friedman events, on our Calendar of Events link at the top of the page. Click an event on the calendar for more details.

Water Prices Across the United States: How Does Your Bill Stack Up?

by Lindsey Webb

If you’re like me, you don’t spend very much time thinking about your water bill. You turn the water off when you’re brushing your teeth and limit your shower time, but in the end, you use what you use and you pay for it every month, just like everyone else across the country. In reality, though, things are a bit more complicated; what you pay depends a lot on where you live.

Availability or scarcity of water in your area doesn’t entirely determine what you pay for it. Playing a huge role is the rate structure chosen by the municipality where you live. (State policies can also have some influence.)

????????????????Most cities charge a fixed fee to start off with, but beyond that they have a number of different rate structures to choose from. For example, Memphis, New York, and Chicago charge a uniform rate for every unit of water consumed. Fresno, California does as well, though given the recent drought in California, there have been calls to re-evaluate water pricing in a number of California cities.

Denver, Jacksonville, and Boston use an “increasing block”structure where users are charged more for higher amounts used. Users in these areas might pay a lower rate for the first 1000 cubic feet of water consumed, but a higher rate for the next. This structure provides a stronger incentive to conserve water than a uniform price structure, since the price per unit increases the more you use.

A “decreasing block”structure, used by a handful of major cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and Indianapolis, is the opposite. Users in these cities are charged less for higher amounts of water used, providing less of an incentive to conserve.

Cities acknowledging seasonal variation in water availability include Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The latter three cities use a seasonal increasing block structure, which is similar to the increasing block structure –the difference is that rates are higher in the peak season. Phoenix uses a seasonal uniform block structure where the prices paid during peak season and low season do not depend on the amount used.

So, in which cities do consumers pay the most for their water use? According to a 2013 survey by Circle of Blue, an association of scientists and journalists focused on water issues, average water bills for the 30 major U.S. cities vary quite widely. For a family of four using 50 gallons of water per person per day, the average monthly water bill in Phoenix was the lowest at just $11.55. Other low payers include Memphis ($11.79) and Salt Lake City ($16.55).

On the other end of the spectrum, a family of four using the same amount of water in Santa Fe, New Mexico could expect to pay $54.78 per month. Seattle residents paid the second highest at $51.10, perhaps the opposite of what one would expect given the city’s rainy reputation. San Diego, San Francisco, and Atlanta all had average monthly bills of over $40. Here in Boston, the average monthly bill for a family of four consuming 50 gallons of water per day is somewhere in the middle at $36.08.

For more information and a complete listing of the 30 cities’average water bills, see http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2013/world/the-price-of-water-2013-up-nearly-7-percent-in-last-year-in-30-major-u-s-cities-25-percent-rise-since-2010/

 

Lindsey Webb is a second year FPAN student who is very excited about graduating in May, in part because she can binge-watch all of the Chopped episodes she missed this year. Learn more about her on our Meet Our Writers page.

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