Cultivating Sustainable Food Systems: A Nutrition-Focused Framework for Action

In 2012, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (Foundation), Feeding America (FA), and National Dairy Council (NDC) came together to address a public health challenge – raising awareness of food insecurity as a public health issue and increasing access to adequate amounts of nutrient dense food for all Americans – and launched the Future of Food initiative (FOF).

Over the first three years of this initiative, this partnership resulted in many successes, including the development of a Food Insecurity/Food Banking dietetic internship concentration, scientific symposia, presentations at national and state professional conferences, toolkits, infographics, and mini-grants to hundreds of Academy members to facilitate community awareness and action.

Additionally, in October 2018, the Foundation, in collaboration with Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors (NDEP) and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), released the Sustainable, Resilient, and Healthy Food and Water Systems (SFS) dietetic internship concentration.

With this exciting momentum from demonstrated collaborative successes, the Foundation launched the next phase of the Future of Food initiative in 2018. This phase is focused on advancing the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (Academy) new strategic direction for its next century, particularly as it relates to the focus area of Food and Nutrition Safety and Security within the strategic plan, and positioning the Academy and its members to address the issues of global food security, hunger, and malnutrition.

This program of work is being led by the Foundation’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems fellow. The fellowship, available through an educational grant to the Foundation by NDC, has included:

  • Planning and convening a Heathy and Sustainable Food Systems roundtable (November 2018) as well as co-authoring a proceedings paper from the discussion and submitting to the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for publication
  • Promoting the SFS dietetic internship concentration and designing and implementing a variety of enhanced SFS curriculum experiences
  • Facilitating a variety of additional Future of Food (FOF) projects


This framework for action, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2020, was developed during a roundtable meeting of thought leaders led by the Academy Foundation’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems Fellow. The framework describes five “entry points” through which RDNs and NDTRs can leverage their unique skillset to cultivate sustainable food systems. The framework also describes the importance of coordination between the cross-cutting areas of education and training, research, practice, and policy to grow the profession’s impact in this area. Read the full framework for action.

The roundtable and associated travel costs were funded through an educational grant to the Academy Foundation from National Dairy Council.

Educational Resources

Future of Food Resources

Future of Food Toolkits

This Tossed Treasures. How We All Can Waste Less Food. toolkit was developed by RDN farmer content experts and is designed to educate adults and mature teens about the issues related to wasted food and how we all can waste less food.

English Presentation

Spanish Presentation

This toolkit was made possible through an educational grant to the Academy Foundation from National Dairy Council.

Related Resources

In collaboration with Feeding America, the Academy Foundation is performing an evaluation of Feeding America’s Healthy Cities project funded by Morgan Stanley. Healthy Cities is an integrative nutrition and health model with Feeding America food banks serving as the “hub” for providing food distributions, nutrition education, health screenings, and safe places to play in the communities they serve.

Feeding America Healthy Cities Pilot Program Results Webinar
Learn about the three Feeding America food banks and the new community partnerships they formed. Review the assessment process, outcomes, and recommendations for food banks wishing to successfully create similar partnerships.

Feeding America Healthy Cities Phase II Year One Results
In this webinar, the Feeding America Healthy Cities Phase II year one is described and the evaluation results are shared for Feeding America food banks in Houston and Cleveland.

Feeding America Healthy Cities Phase II Year Two and Phase III Year One Results
For the 2016-2017 school year, the Healthy Cities program expanded to a third phase in New Orleans, while finishing up the second year of Phase II in Houston and Cleveland.

By Chris Vogliano, MS, RD, LD and Katie Brown, Ed.D., RDN, LD

This report highlights where wasted food can potentially occur throughout the food supply chain, the environmental and economic impact of wasted food, and opportunity areas for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) to help reduce wasted food within a total infrastructure that has both a business and consumer facing perspective.

Future of Food Webinars

Systems thinking encourages practitioners to consider the context within which they operate, and nutrition and dietetics professionals can use tools from systems thinking when addressing malnutrition. In this webinar hosted by Jasia Steinmetz, PhD, MS, RD and Joanna Cummings, MS, RD, CNSC, learn about systems thinking and practice using an Impact Analysis to explore ecological, agricultural, economic, and social impacts related to malnutrition case studies from the United States and Laos.

This webinar is accompanied by instructions for educators to lead a three-part interactive series including the webinar, an independent hands-on activity for students, and a follow-up discussion that can be convened virtually or in-person.

This format was originally pilot tested with dietetic interns and students enrolled in programs implementing the Sustainable, Resilient, and Healthy Food and Water Systems curriculum, but it is adaptable for a variety of settings and audiences (including students and practitioners).

This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from National Dairy Council.

Developing sustainable, resilient, and healthy food and water systems requires a range of strategies. In this webinar hosted by Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, learn how nutrition and dietetics professionals can deliver greater impact when coupling individual behavior change approaches with policies, system, and environmental (PSE) change strategies.

This webinar is accompanied by instructions for educators to lead a three-part interactive series including the webinar, an independent hands-on activity for students, and a follow-up discussion that can be convened virtually or in-person.

This format was originally pilot tested with dietetic interns and students enrolled in programs implementing the Sustainable, Resilient, and Healthy Food and Water Systems curriculum, but it is adaptable for a variety of settings and audiences (including students and practitioners).

This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from National Dairy Council.

Learn the value of nutrition education in food banks and the potential to change eating behaviors among participants. Understand the history of nutrition education in food banks and effective nutrition education plans for the future. Also get ideas for how you can provide nutrition education in food banks.

View the webinar

Slides

Learn about the current state of U.S. farming versus international farming, the innovative strategies happening globally to help nutritiously feed our growing world population and ag-related projects and practices that other affiliates and DPGs are participating.

View the webinar

Slides

PowerPoint Slides

Gain an understanding of the contributing factors associated with food insecurity and the effects of food insecurity on children, families and entire communities. Learn ways to help address hunger in your community.

View the webinar

Slides

Participants will learn about the common misperceptions of animal agriculture and the environment, and current innovations that can impact food costs and our economy. Participants will also learn how to better educate consumers about food production and the environment.

View the webinar

Slides

This webinar will raise awareness of the current state of global health through a description of the missing macro- and micro-nutrients in the diets of developing countries and predictions for the future.

Webinar attendees will be exposed to the challenges and opportunities in nutritiously feeding a growing world population and see examples of successful and promising high impact interventions for improving global health and food security.

View the webinar

Slides

This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.

Can children be simultaneously hungry and overweight? Learn about services available to families and be inspired to get involved in hunger programs in your community.

View the webinar

Slides

Learn the importance of conducting evaluations with food insecure populations in food banks and preview sample evaluation tools. View the results of the California Association of Food Banks Evaluation Report: Assessing the impact of Nutrition Education at Produce Distributions. Learn how the Guide to Effective Nutrition Interventions and Education can help you plan effective nutrition programs in a food bank.

View the webinar

Slides

Resources

Gain a real understanding of families facing food insecurity and the many obstacles they encounter every day. Learn how to make nutrition messages fit their needs, and access new resources for successfully helping food insecure families adopt healthy lifestyles.

View the webinar

Slides

This webinar was planned with Feeding America through an educational grant from the National Dairy Council.

Learn the obstacles food banks face to distribute healthy foods for families and see examples of improvements food banks are making across the country. Learn specific ways you can help support healthy foods in food banks.

View the webinar

Slides

Learn how promising practices in nutrition education can be applied with clients of food banks, and integrate quality tools to design effective programs and materials. Take a closer look at helpful resources and evaluation tools on the Healthy Food Bank Hub.

View the webinar

Slides

Learn how Academy members can make an impact by providing nutrition education to food insecure families.

View the webinar

Slides

Nutrition Education Resources

Learn all about the nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the recent changes to improve the nutritional quality of school meals. They will become familiar with the variety of school meal opportunities available to children, as well as services through community organizations that feed children.

View the webinar

Slides

Get inspired to connect with local organizations to help fight hunger and improve access to healthy foods in your community by hearing many innovative examples of projects big and small. Learn practical tips for forming collaborations that become successful synergies. Understand the important role that health care and food bank partnerships can play in improving the lives of families facing food insecurity.

View the webinar

Slides

This webinar was planned with Feeding America through an educational grant from the National Dairy Council.

Gain an understanding of what the science says about GMOs. An in-depth look at the past, present and potential future use of GMOs will be presented. Learn how to access science-based resources to be more informed about GMOs and how to translate the science into education for consumers.

Planned in collaboration with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

View the webinar

Slides

PowerPoint Slides

Infographic

Participant Questions

1.0 CPEU Available

This program has been approved for RDs, RDNs and DTRs under Activity Type 175 in accordance with CDR guidelines. (Expires 3/16/20.) RDs and RDNs may claim up to 15 CPEUs under this CPE Activity Type in a recertification cycle; DTRs may claim up to 10 CPEUs.

Gain a new appreciation for food waste and its worldwide implications through this engaging webinar. Learn how you can help your institution waste less food, and how to share practical tips with the public.

View the webinar

Slides

PowerPoint Slides

Infographic

1.0 CPEU Available

This program has been approved for RDs, RDNs and DTRs under Activity Type 175 in accordance with CDR guidelines. (Expires 1/19/20.) RDs and RDNs may claim up to 15 CPEUs under this CPE Activity Type in a recertification cycle; DTRs may claim up to 10 CPEUs.

This webinar provides a foundational understanding of farming in the U.S. with relevant information for nutrition professionals to share with consumers. Learn about types of farms, educational backgrounds of farmers and regulations of farms and gain an understanding of the amount and types of foods that are imported and exported and learn more about locally grown foods.

View the webinar

Slides

This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.

This webinar provides insight into farming economics to better understand how farming decisions are made and the challenges farms face in running a business. Learn how the Farm Bill has impacted farming, nutrition education and research. A variety of resources will be provided to help nutrition professionals become more knowledgeable about farming, the future of farming and how to get involved in public policy decisions that affect agriculture and nutrition.

View the webinar

Slides

Recommended Resources

This webinar was made possible through an educational grant from Elanco.

Learn about the functions of food additives, the science behind them and the specific functions of several additives. Gain confidence in better explaining the contents of their food to consumers and learn about credible resources of additional information.

View the webinar

Slides

PowerPoint Slides

Infographic

1.0 CPEU Available

Responses to Unanswered Questions

This program has been approved for RDs, RDNs and DTRs under Activity Type 175 in accordance with CDR guidelines. (Expires 2/7/20.) RDs and RDNs may claim up to 15 CPEUs under this CPE Activity Type in a recertification cycle; DTRs may claim up to 10 CPEUs.