Fundamental problems with our food consumption and supply are currently putting our health and the health of the environment at stake. The number of obese children in the U.S. has tripled over the past thirty years, largely due to unhealthy diets without ample amounts of fruits and vegetables. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
At the same time, seafood resources are dwindling, and the environmental impacts of conventional agricultural are increasing. The Center’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Program aims to address critical issues of health and nutrition, as well as the environmental impact of our food systems, including increased environmental toxins, soil degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, loss of crop diversity and dwindling seafood resources.
About this Program
This program increases public awareness about food choices that are healthy for people and the environment - on land and in the ocean.
In 2010, the Center started a raised-bed food garden on the Cambridge campus in the heart of Harvard Square. The student-run garden quickly became a beacon for sustainable urban gardening and a treasured oasis on campus. The garden provides hands-on learning to Harvard students and the wider community.
The Center coordinates several education outreach programs on food and health in the Boston area. For example, the Center recently worked with a subsidized housing complex and schools in Allston to implement youth cooking and education classes.
The Center is also working with institutions, such as hospitals, food banks and universities, to procure healthier and more sustainable food, including seafood. We believe these institutions have a great deal of influence in our food system.
In addition, lesson plans based on Center research, developed in conjunction with Harvard faculty, are available to educators, free of charge on our Education website chge.med.harvard.edu/education.