DAVID LAUGHLIN, PH.D.
Dr. David Laughlin received his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University from the Department of Plant Pathology. He was involved in the revitalization of the Central American coffee sector as project director following the coffee rust outbreak of 2011/12 and also worked as Outreach and Extension Specialist with the California Strawberry Commission in 2017/18.
Currently, Dr. Laughlin is employed at the Texas A&M Kingsville Citrus Research Center in the Rio Grande Valley, where his responsibilities include research and control of pathogens that limit citrus production as well as responding to needs of local growers. This is his first visit to Alaska and he is looking forward to learning more about local food systems and exploring the Anchorage area.
Session Description: Myth Busting: Organics and GMOs from an Agricultural Perspective
Food and fiber and the way that they are produced is one of the most controversial topics of today, not only in the agricultural sector and for the farmers contributing to America's food supply, but also in the health field as both providers and consumers wish to learn more about the foods that they eat and how different production methods may impact their health. Organic versus conventional and GMO versus non-GMO have become household terms, and it seems like every day there is a new report or opinion piece on what is best. Unfortunately, this can result in myths, misinformation, and even some downright lies being disseminated as truth when it comes to these classifications.
As RDNs, we are increasingly seen as content experts in this debate and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has emphasized learning competencies related to food systems and food production in the Future Education Model at both the bachelor and graduate levels. This presentation will attempt to present the facts of what these terms mean from a straightforward scientific viewpoint and will help to equip nutrition practitioners with the knowledge they need to accurately address patient questions and concerns.
ELIZABETH SNYDER, PH.D., MPH
Dr. Snyder is an Associate Professor of Public Health in the College of Health (COH) Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She is also a former Co-Chair of the Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC), and the Co-Founder/Co-Director of the newly established Food Research, Enterprise, and Sustainability Hub (FRESH) of the North: a collaboration between Alaska Pacific University (APU), UAF, and UAA to foster, expand, and celebrate the diversity of efforts working to strengthen the food systems of Alaska and the Circumpolar North. Dr. Snyder integrates her training in the natural and social sciences (PhD, soil & water science; MPH, global environmental health) in applied research and community engagement addressing urban and rural food security, and youth education on food systems. Dr. Snyder is a graduate of the Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI), and co-editor of the two-volume book on urban agriculture entitled Sowing Seeds in the City.
Session Description: Community and School Gardens: What We Know, What We Suspect, and How to Reap the Benefits
The U.S. is again experiencing a bit of a “moment” with respect to the popularity of community and school gardens -- and these moments have historically been launched by the unique politics and economic climate of the times. What remains relatively constant, however, is the assertion that gardening in the community and school environments improves health. Commonly cited health outcomes are often categorized as physical, nutritional, behavioral, cultural, and mental, and may be examined at both the individual and community levels. Additionally, improved food security, strengthened food systems, and expanded local food economies are thought to grow naturally from community and student engagement in food production.
But what do we actually know for sure, and what requires additional study? This presentation will provide updates on the state of the science with respect to research at the intersection of health and community or school gardening, and help clarify what we can confidently share with clients, parents, and community leaders as we advocate for improved health outcomes.