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Karen Stillerman

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About the author: Karen Perry Stillerman is an analyst and advocate for transforming the U.S. agriculture and food system to one that produces affordable, healthful foods for consumers; reduces air and water pollution; and builds healthy soil for the farmers of tomorrow. She holds a master's degree in public affairs and environmental policy. See Karen's full bio.

Kids Need Healthy Food, Not Halloween Every Day

Most people I know—young and old alike—love Halloween. Roaming darkened streets in disguise is fun and exciting, and candy (let’s face it) is delicious. Still, you probably don’t don a zombie get-up or send your kid to school as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle every day of the year. And your kids don’t pig out on the equivalent of a respectable Halloween haul on an average day. Or do they? Read More

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Healthy Food and Hospitals Go Together Like Peas and Carrots

Recently I visited Helsinki, Finland, where in midsummer locals and tourists alike buy fresh peas at the outdoor market, shelling and eating them out of the pod while walking down the Esplanade. I’ve never seen so many people—young people, old people, even babies in strollers—snacking on raw vegetables on the street. Read More

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As School Year Ends, Will Congress Fail Lunch?

UPDATE (June 12, 3:40 p.m.): The House vote on the school nutrition waiver, expected last night, was postponed. According to reporting by the New York Times today, the vote has been delayed “until sometime next week,” although that could change. Meanwhile, the public can keep writing to Congress in support of healthy school meals!

A Congress that is already routinely failing science is poised to flunk an even simpler school subject: lunch. As early as this evening, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including school nutrition programs. Shockingly, the bill they’ll vote on contains a provision that would roll back new healthy school food standards, just as they are starting to bear fruit. Read More

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How Monsanto Supersized a Problem in Under Three Minutes

Well actually, it took about 5 years for our friends at the Monsanto Company to start turning regular old weeds into a crisis of “superweeds.” But they did it, and another decade on, farmers everywhere are paying the price. Now, using the magic of speed-drawing, we’ve taken this age-old tale of weedy villains and chemical “superheroes” (with fatal flaws), and boiled it down to just 2:29. Read More

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Building Healthier Food Environments: Seven Organizations Making a Difference in Minnesota

What will it take to transform the food system we have in the United States today—with all its misaligned priorities, junk food, and diet-related diseases—into a healthier one for all Americans? That’s the subject of “Science, Democracy, and a Healthy Food Policy,” which UCS will co-host with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health in Minneapolis on May 6-7. Read More

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Death, Taxes, and Food

The taxman cometh. At my house, the 1040 is signed and the check is written, joining millions of others in the mail this week. Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department reported that improvement in the U.S. economy is leading to rising revenues from federal taxes. But just what are our tax dollars buying? Read More

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Beet Still My Heart: A Valentine Message for the USDA

When I was a little kid, I loved those candy “conversation hearts” we exchanged on Valentine’s Day. I always wanted the ones that said “Be Mine” and (most exciting) “Kiss Me”. Those little treats are still fun—though they look a bit different today, emblazoned as they are with previously unknown sentiments including “Text Me” and “LOL”. But this Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking less about heart-shaped candy, and more about my actual heart (and yours), and what they need to beat long into the future. Read More

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How a (Farm) Bill Became a Law

Much has been written about the ugly sausage-making of the just-ended farm bill process: the abandoned opportunity to truly reform the nation’s farm subsidy system, the cynical refusal to deny subsidies to millionaire farmers, and the 4 percent of food stamp beneficiaries who ultimately took it on the chin. But now that President Obama has signed the thing into law, it’s worth reviewing a number of real and meaningful wins that UCS and its allies and supporters achieved in this bill. And also noting that our work isn’t done. Read More

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Why Support a Flawed Farm Bill?

After more than two years of twists, turns, delays, and unfathomable political machinations, the House of Representatives has just passed a new Farm Bill—that massive, 5-year piece of legislation that governs what our nation’s agriculture and food system looks like. This should be cause for celebration…but my reaction is much more tempered. As an advocate for a healthier, more sustainable food system, I like some pieces of the bill very much. As a person who thinks that no American in 2014 should go hungry, I also worry about some of its provisions. Read More

Categories: Food and Agriculture  

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Monsanto Supersizes Farmers’ Weed Problem

So now the Monsanto Company thinks its bad reputation with the public is primarily an air time problem. As the agribusiness giant’s Chief Technology Officer (and recent World Food Prize winner) Robert Fraley told Politico recently, Monsanto has been “absolutely riveted and focused on giving technology and tools to farmers to improve their productivity and yield and we haven’t spent nearly the time we have needed to on talking to consumers and talking to social media.”

Seriously?? Read More

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