The John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) brings together educators, researchers, and community advocates to facilitate change toward more equitable and resilient food systems.
Founded in 1996, CLF was conceived to tackle issues at the intersection of agriculture, the environment, and health. While food system studies have typically focused on the issues of food insecurity, nutrition, and sustainability, CLF occupies an important niche by understanding these issues through a public health lens. Accordingly, CLF functions as a three-legged stool, employing a combination of research, education, and practice to address the broader implications of inequities in food systems for global health concerns—obesity and malnutrition chief among them. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, a central tenet of their work, CLF aims to enact meaningful change in the critical issues of food systems.
A key component of CLF's work is food systems education for Johns Hopkins students as well as teachers and learners outside the university classroom. Operating out of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, CLF's coursework, MPH concentration, and CLF-Lerner Fellowship equips master's and doctoral students with a background in public health and food and provides leadership and communication training. CLF's program is rooted in a systems-thinking approach. Students learn to analyze pressing issues by evaluating the complex interrelationships that influence environmental and community health. Outside of higher education, CLF offers a plethora of accessible resources—from free online classes to documentary films to textbooks—for those interested in learning more about food systems.
CLF's current projects span a wide range of critical social justice, health, and environmental issues that closely align with the United Nations' 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This includes work on food systems and climate change, food waste, and food policy and governance, to name a few. One such project is CLF's Diet-Climate Study, which models the impacts of various eating patterns on greenhouse gas emissions and water use. This study was one of the first to incorporate trade data (i.e., imports and exports) into analyzing climate change. Through its research, CLF breaks new ground by using scientific expertise to advance cross-disciplinary food systems and public health knowledge.
CLF recognizes the immense value in fostering collaborative partnerships in the food systems space, from community advocates to university scientists and from regional studies to international research. By contributing to this growing body of knowledge, CLF facilitates more just, resilient, and healthy food systems.
NAFSN and its sister program, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD), benefit from the active involvement of NAFSN members from the CLF community. Phil McNab, CLF's education program specialist, co-chairs the JAFSCD Shareholder Drive, which aims to grow support for JAFSCD through new members of its Shareholder Consortium. Pamela Berg, CLF's academic program manager, guides NAFSN's Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook; and Anne Palmer, CLF's program director of food communities and public health, sits on NAFSN's Community Certification Circle.
Visit the Center for a Livable Future to learn more about its initiatives and upcoming programs.