Thursday, September 30, 2010

Invitation to all of you to Making Food Good

Today I am going to invite you all to attend an upcoming conference that begins next Tuesday, October 5 at 10:00 am (CST) and concludes Wednesday, October 6 at 9:00pm. What you say, a conference? Surely, Michele, you must be kidding! Well, no, I am not. In fact the best part of attending this conference is you do not have to travel any further than your laptop, because the entire proceedings will be streamed online and archived almost immediately for viewing at any time. The price is right, too: free, my friends, free. Now this is not just any conference: it is a Nobel Conference®, held right here in Southern Minnesota, Saint Peter as a matter of fact.

Making Food Good, suggests that the topic of this particular Nobel will appeal to many bloggers and readers who care about their health (which is you!) and the plethora of dilemmas and opportunities around food. "Nobel Conference® 46 will consider a whole panoply of food issues—from human health to the health of planetary ecosystems; from nutraceuticals to culturally appropriate foods; from community gardening to fuel crops, to genetic modification, and to food security" (http://gustavus.edu/events/nobelconference/2010/). Over the next couple of posts I will provide an overview of each of our seven main conference speakers, Bina Agarwal, Linda Bartoshuk, Cary Fowler, Jeffrey Friedman, Frances Moore LappĂ©, Marion Nestle and Paul B. Thompson, including their research interests that led to their invitation to this unique conference. Yes, that is the Marion Nestle who sports a label on this blog. She will OPEN the conference, so I will begin with her:

Marion Nestle’s research interests include food and nutrition policy development and analysis, with a focus on dietary guidance; social, cultural, economic, and environmental influences on food choice; the politics of food safety; and the effects of food industry marketing on children’s diets and health. She speaks out (and often) about the public confusion about nutrition. She has authored many books including Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (2002) and Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (200), both from University of California Press. You have heard about her book What to Eat, published by North Point Press/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2006), a “Must Read” by Eating Well magazine and brought up several times on this blog. If you have been following this blog you know that I am following her adage to: eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, go easy on the junk food and finally enjoy what you eat. Dr. Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, and professor of sociology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York City, and visiting professor of nutritional sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Her talk is titled: "Food Politics: Personal Responsibility vs. Social Responsibility."

Cary Fowler
will deliver the second lecture: Saving the World's Genetic Plant Heritage. Nobel Director and Professor of Physics Chuck Niederriter writes: “In his book, Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity, Dr. Cary Fowler discusses how control of domesticated plants threatens to shatter the world's food supply, as loss of genetic diversity sets the stage for widespread hunger. Fowler is Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Rome. His career in the conservation of crop diversity spans more than 30 years. He is the author of several books and more than 75 articles on the subjects of plant diversity and genetic resources. In 1985 he and colleague Pat Mooney were awarded the Right Livelihood in a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament “for working to save the world’s genetic plant heritage.”

"Leptin and the Biologic Basis of Obesity" will be the talk by Jeffrey M. Friedman, the third speaker at the conference. In 1994 Jeffrey Friedman’s lab identified leptin, a hormonal signal made by the body’s fat cells that regulates food intake and energy expenditure and has powerful effects on reproduction, metabolism, other endocrine systems, and even immune function. His current research focuses on the genes and neural circuits that control food intake and body weight, and leptin’s mechanism of action and its relevance to the development of obesity.

Tomorrow, I will share some highlights of the speakers for the second day of the Conference. Stay strong and determined in your healthy journey.

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