A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

Ron Finley: A guerrilla gardener in South Central LA

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."


Ron FinleyRon Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

Not everyone in Austin has a healthy choice. Will you help?

Right now, as the Austin City Council considers the fiscal year 2015-2016 city budget, we need your help to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all Austinites.

A diet including fresh fruits and vegetables is imperative to healthy eating and healthy bodies. But not everyone in Austin has a healthy choice. Many people in our community live in neighborhoods lacking any fresh or healthy food options.

Coupled with limited mobility and transportation, shopping for and cooking a healthy meal for one’s family is all but impossible for too many Austinites. Community stakeholders overwhelmingly agree there is a need in Austin for a properly funded Healthy Corner Store Initiative program to improve the quality of life in areas lacking healthy food options. This program will help small-scale stores, such as convenience stores, corner stores and neighborhood stores offer healthy food options and engage with local communities to develop support for healthy food options.

The Healthy Corner Store Initiative proposed budget item is at risk. Some council members want to change the intent of the program, which would limit its impact on the health of all Austinites.

Yesterday, the concept menu item 1.29 for a Healthy Corner Store Initiative was decreased to $150,000. An increase in funding of no less than $100,000 while maintaining the $50,000 for a retail education coordinator totals $300,000 and is ideal. This is necessary for the success of the program and will provide impactful healthy food access in underserved, low to moderate income areas. Without proper and adequate funding, we lose the opportunity to fully address the community need and the program will not have the essential public health impact.

Please contact Mayor Adler and your council member to ask them to increase funding for a Healthy Corner Store Initiative today.

Thank you!

Victoria Nelson Victoria Nelson
Grassroots Director
Voices for Healthy Kids, Texas
American Heart Association

P.S. Mark your calendar for next week: Attend city council meetings during voting on the budget on September 8, 9 and 10! We will be providing T-shirts for volunteers. Reply to Victoria.Nelson@heart.org with any times you are free to attend.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets

This clash over the science of obesity comes in a period of rising efforts to tax sugary drinks, remove them from schools and stop companies from marketing them to children. In the last two decades, consumption of full-calorie sodas by the average American has dropped by 25 percent.

“Coca-Cola’s sales are slipping, and there’s this huge political and public backlash against soda, with every major city trying to do something to curb consumption,” said Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. “This is a direct response to the ways that the company is losing. They’re desperate to stop the bleeding.”

Has the American Society for Nutrition lost all credibility?

By Michelle Simon

As with other health professional organizations, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, ASN has many problematic ties with the food and beverage industry. These ties can taint scientific objectivity, negatively impact the organization’s policy recommendations, and result in industry-friendly research and messaging that is shared with nutrition professionals and the general public alike. Moreover, the media views health organizations like ASN as purveyors of independent and objective information, largely unaware of the many connections with junk food and beverage giants.

ASN sponsors are referred to as “sustaining partners,” a moniker given to companies that pay at least $10,000 a year. There are a total of thirty; The list consists of purveyors of highly processed and minimally nutritious foods and biotech giants. For their financial contributions, sustaining partners receive “print and online exposure, annual meeting benefits, and first choice to sponsor educational sessions, grants, awards and other opportunities as they arise.” In other words, food, beverage, supplement, biotech, and pharmaceutical industry leaders are able to purchase cozy relationships with the nation’s top nutrition researchers.

Has the American Society for Nutrition lost all credibility?

Get the full report

Change the Tune

“I’d like to buy the world a drink that doesn’t cause disease,” the song goes. “I’d like to teach the world about what sugar did to me.”

“For the past 45 years, Coca-Cola and other makers of sugar drinks have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts. We thought it was time to change the tune.”