Nancy Huehnergarth: "It’s not sustainable until it’s put into law."

Welcome to another edition of 10 Words or Less, in which I ask brief questions and request brief answers from interesting people. Today’s participant is cofounder and executive director of NYSHEPA, which “advocates for policies and practices that improve the nutritional and physical activity environment in New York State.” Please, no counting! “10 words” is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.

Nancy Huehnergarth, executive director, NYSHEPAName Nancy Huehnergarth
Born when, where "Baltimore, when the Beatles were #1 on the charts."
Resides: Chappaqua, NY
Your family circumstance "Married, with two teenage daughters."
A transformative event in your youth “Someone from my class drowned on Senior Cut Day.”
How did that affect you? “This was someone who was a bit disenfranchised, low income, and it made me realize that all people need to be treated with respect and that their lives should be cherished.”
Outside your family, someone’s example you follow “The person who inspired me to get involved in food reform: Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest."
Your greatest hope about the 2012 Food Bill “We stop subsidizing crops like corn and soy, and begin to subsidize produce.”
Your greatest fear about the 2012 Food Bill “The Big Food and Big Ag lobbying whirlwind will convince legislators to create a bill that benefits only Big Food and Big Ag.”

No Farm Bill this year?

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

US Rep. Jim McGovern, a member of the House Agriculture Committee who represents Central Mass., isn’t enthusiastic about the prospects for a Farm Bill, which is ordinarily debated and passed in five-year increments and is due for action this year.

But that’s good news, he told partisans gathered over lunch Saturday during the winter meeting of the state chapter of Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Is this you?

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is seeking a grassroots advocacy director to work with staff and member organizations to help galvanize support for and advance 2012 farm-bill and other federal policy priorities.

The coalition is alliance of over 80 grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.

Praise is not a free lunch

I was one of those who expressed qualified praise for McDonald’s Happy Meal changes: Apple slices, smaller French fries, slightly better beverage options. Other commenters, particularly “Appetite For Profit” author Michele Simon, drew different conclusions, which she discusses in a blog post headlined, “Who Put McDonald’s In Charge of Kids’ Health?" at

I don’t know her, but I follow her Twitter feed and respect what she writes, including this one, even though I find enough disagreement in it that I feel compelled to rejoin, even on a day when I should be writing other stuff.

Let’s start with the headline: To my mind, we did. Doing nothing more than taking full advantage of the capitalist process, they advertised and promoted until we made them, via our billions and billions of purchases, the leader in fast food. They could have spent all that promotional cash and if we hadn’t bought what they were peddling, they would have failed. But we have bought, and now they have enormous influence.

No redeeming value

Some people oppose any public suasion of any kinds on food choices — and even some of those do so honorably, instead of being motivated merely by their paycheck. I suspect they would object to the above.

But here's the thing, even putting aside the question of whether sugary soda is even food, or, in the coinage of Michael Pollan, a "foodlike substance." If any currently "acceptable" food or drink product warrants this sort of treatment, it is sugary soda.

"Men have been traditionally underrepresented..."

This is another in an occasional series on people who are working on behalf of problem eaters. If you've seen one of the others, you know the drill: I ask questions of 10 words of less, ask for answers of 10 words or less in return, and then edit a bit.

Founder, National Association for Males with Eating Disorders

Do you have an eating disorder?“I had an eating disorder, anorexia.”

Comment on the DSM V

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

I've visited this subject before, but not only is it important, and not only is the deadline approaching, but this post has a slightly different target. In the past, I've written about binge-eating disorder, which has been proposed as an addition to the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the manual of the American Psychiatric Association. To now, anorexia, bulimia, and "not otherwise specified" have been the only eating disorders in the DSM.

Phil Werdell: "Abstinence first, absolutely."

Long-time readers will recognize this format: I ask interview subjects questions of 10 words or less, and ask them to respond in kind (please, no counting). I've done about a dozen in this style on people working in sustainability, and now I hope to do a set with people working on some part of the obesity problem.

PHIL WERDELL, 68, Sarasota, Fla.
Cofounder, Acorn Food Dependency Recovery Services
Phil Werdell, Acorn cofounderWhat did you want to be when you grew up? “A leader.”
Someone you admired in childhood, outside your family
“Robert McNamara.”
Someone you admire today, outside your family “Bill Wilson,” cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What do you do for a living? “I work intensively with late-stage food addicts and write about food addiction.”


Subscribe to RSS - Advocacy