Food News: Elected Officials Graded on Food Policy, and Why Med Schools are Offering Cooking Classes

Here are some recent news stories you might have missed.

Modern Farmer: Our Elected Officials Were Graded on Critical Food Issues: Here’s How They Did
Food Policy Action, an organization that aims to educate the public on food policy issues, has released its 2015 National Food Policy Scorecard. Scores are based on how elected officials voted on key food policy measures related to hunger and food access; food safety, additives and nutrition; farm subsidies; animal welfare; food and farm labor; and local and organic food production. In the FaHN region, Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Charles Schumer both earned perfect scores for consistently voting for sensible food policies. Read the full scorecard at Modern Farmer.

Quartz: The Future of Medicine is Food
Tulane University School of Medicine is the first medical school to count a chef as a full-time instructor. Recognizing how nutrition fits into overall health, the school has offered cooking classes to first and second year students and provided continuing education programs in culinary medicine since 2012. More than two dozen medical schools have now licensed Tulane’s curriculum. Preliminary studies done by Tulane’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine have found that hands-on cooking is not only beneficial for patients, but also for medical students themselves: by the second year of cooking classes, students were eating significantly more fruits and vegetables. Read more on Quartz.

Poughkeepsie Journal: Young Farmer Success Act Aims to Boost Vocation
Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), representing Delaware, Otsego and part of Broome in the FaHN region, has introduced a bipartisan bill designed to encourage more young people to become farmers. The Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 2590) will make farming eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. If the bill passes, farmers would see the balance of their student loans forgiven after making 10 years of income-based student loan payments, much like teachers, doctors, nurses and government employees who are currently eligible for the program. Learn more about the bill on the Poughkeepsie Journal website.

Civil Eats: California Wants to Help Low-Income Residents Buy More Fresh Produce
Nutrition matching incentive programs have been proven to increase participants’ intake of fresh produce, and California wants to create a statewide program. Although some individual organizations in California were awarded USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants last year, California food policy advocates felt it wasn’t enough to support a state with a wide network of farmers’ markets and a large number of people who struggle to access food. So the state legislature passed the California Nutrition Incentives Act (AB 1321), a bill that will create a comprehensive, state-wide nutrition matching incentive program. The next step is to obtain funding for the program. Read more about the bill on Civil Eats.