Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bring back Home Economics: JAMA Editorial

I gave a talk two weeks ago, where I spoke about the origins of the college I went to, the College of Human Ecology at Cornell. It was originally started as the school of home economics. Its leader was Martha Van Rensaleer, a visionary female. The goal of the college was to teach women the skills they needed to be effective in the home in NY farms.

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Martha Van Rensaleer went on to become a advocate for women and children's health and wellbeing. In 1930 she helped form the National Children's Charter which said:
"“For every child health protection from birth through adolescence, including: …the insuring of pure food, pure milk, and pure water.”

I think we can help guarantee this to our children by teaching them home economics skills, as this editorial states. We can also continue the great work of Martha Van Rensaleer, by teaching people nutrition through state cooperative extensions, such as the same Cornell Cooperative Extension that MVR was a leader of in the 1900s. The country's agricultural schools can be the birthplace of educators in nutrition and innovative farmers. They successfully improved nutrition in the early part of last century. They could do the same in this century.

Food Politics � Here’s a thought: bring back Home Ec

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