Introducing Our Staff
Kathy O’Brien, Office Manager, is responsible for membership, chapters and orders. She works part-time for the Foundation, from 9-4 on Mondays and Wednesdays, so this is a good time to call with questions on these matters. Kathy is also a Nutritional Consultant working at two doctors’ offices in the Washington, DC area. She gives classes and offers private consultations. She has spoken to groups of all ages in schools, businesses and social groups and has been interviewed on the radio about diet and health. She is enthusiastic about sharing the “back to basics” ideas of traditional diets because she sees and hears firsthand about the impact this knowledge is having on her clients and on people calling the Foundation. She has also worked as a Montessori elementary school teacher in both a school and home-based setting.
Liz Pitfield takes care of advertising and graphical design. She answers the phone at the office from 10-2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She will also be coordinating exhibitors at the WAPF conference. Liz is fluent in both Spanish and French and earned a BScN in Public Health Nursing in Canada. She is experienced in early parenting and infant nutrition education both in inner city areas and within a Native community in northern Ontario. She lived for some time in Malaysia and six years in Argentina where she managed a breast cancer clinic. She came away from her Argentinean experience very impressed by the healthy hair, skin and teeth of the children she saw there. The Argentine diet is very high in beef and dairy products. Currently Liz lives in rural Maryland with her 11-year-old son; she dreams of one day milking her own dairy cows.
As for me, your new Executive Director, I come to the Foundation with an extensive background in government and politics, having served in the U.S. Senate as a professional staff member on the subcommittee on education, arts and humanities and as a legislative analyst with the Congressional Research Service. I also cofounded and was partner of an education-based lobbying and public affairs company in Washington, DC.
So, how did I wind up with the Foundation promoting politically incorrect ideas about food and nutrition after making my career in mainstream politics? It turns out to be one of those serendipity stories. I got really interested in the relationship between food and well-being in the late 1990s while living in Los Angeles. At that time, my now 14-year-old daughter got really sick with skin rashes and bloating. Her mother had met an acupuncturist / nutritionist at a copy store and we decided to take a chance and have him check out our daughter as nothing else was working. It turns out that she was having allergic reactions to soy-based products, which she had been consuming in large quantities as she could not take milk. This was my first introduction to the downside of soy. The acupuncturist was also one of the original members of the Weston A. Price Foundation. When I moved back to Washington, DC in 2001, I contacted Sally Fallon to get some brochures as I was teaching a nutrition module for transformational parenting workshops. As we were talking over the phone, she asked what I did for a living and I said I had extensive experience in lobbying. She said she needed someone who could represent the Foundation on some Congressional-related food issues and asked me if I would be interested. The rest is history.
NOTE: Our new phone system offers a variety of message options including one to leave your address for a free info pack, one for chapter leaders or inquiries about chapters, one for membership information, and one for orders. There are also options for advertising and for the executive director. However, email is the best way to contact us. Our new general email is: info (at) westonaprice.org and for chapters: chapters (at) westonaprice.org. Our website, www.westonaprice.org, offers plenty of information on chapters, membership and orders, information on finding raw milk and many articles that can answer your health questions. We encourage people to consult the website first before phoning.
The 2007 Farm Bill Debate: International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council
At a seminar on the upcoming U.S. Farm Bill debate, organized by the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC), former Congressman Cal Dooley stated, “Trade is American farmers’ only real opportunity.” IPC Chairman, Dr. Robert Thompson, pointed out that population growth in developing countries will increase food demand by 50 percent but economic growth in developing countries will more than double food demand by 2050. Asia, with 29 percent of the arable land and 53 percent of the population, will become a significant importer of food.
David Beckman, president of Bread for the World, agreed, noting that in the past US farmers supported food aid, but in the future, “US farmers would do better to take a bet on feeding people in a growing world market than take a bet on continued agricultural subsidies.” Craig Hill, vice chairman of the Iowa Farm Bureau, said that the biggest risk in farming today is not the weather, but the mood of the Congress when they write the farm bill over the next several years. Many of the speakers supported reduced agricultural subsidies for U.S. farmers.
Highlighting the link between international trade agreements and domestic policy reform, former European Agriculture Commissioner, Franz Fischler, said the European Union reformed the Common Agricultural Policy in the early 1990s to allow it to play a more constructive role in trade negotiations. Philippine farm leader, Raul Montemayor, called on the US to take the leadership role and offer to reduce its “trade distorting” subsidies in exchange for more market access from the developing countries. Otherwise, he said developing countries will remain on the defensive.
For their part, developing countries also need to reform their own domestic and trade policies, or risk being left on the edge of the world market, said H.S. Dillon, former advisor to the President of Indonesia. Without crucial investments in infrastructure and research that raises rural productivity, developing countries cannot take advantage of trade agreements.
This seminar involved agri-business and did not take into account local and rural farms. The theme was trade and how to expand the export of US farm products while minimizing food imports, which are actually surpassing our exports. For more information, please go to: http://www.agritrade.org.
HeLP America Act to Promote Healthier Lifestyles, Emphasize Prevention
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) unveiled major legislation to transform our health care system and reduce health care costs by giving Americans access to better preventive care and consumer information to encourage healthier lifestyles. The HeLP America Act of 2005 provides all sectors–child care centers, schools, workplaces, health care providers and communities–with incentives and the tools they need to reach the goal of making America a healthier place. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., and the economic impact is staggering. Seventy-five percent of the $1.8 trillion the United States spends on healthcare annually goes towards treating chronic diseases. Yet, less than five percent of annual health care spending in the United States goes toward chronic disease prevention.
One goal of the HeLP America Act is to improve the overall wellness of children by promoting better nutrition, increasing physical activity, helping diagnose and prevent mental illness, and providing alternatives to the junk foods that are sold in vending machines and on a la carte menus in schools. The bill will help kids develop good habits by putting fresh fruits and vegetables in school, and taking junk food out. It also takes on the tidal wave of ads in schools and on TV pushing junk foods on our kids. Finally, to promote better nutrition for children, this legislation expands Early Head Start and includes a “baby-friendly hospital” initiative for hospitals that promote breastfeeding. It should be noted that while the goals of the bill are very laudable, it still endorses the US Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid concepts, many of which are questionable.
Senator Harkin was a leading advocate for reducing or eliminating vending machines and junk foods in schools during the deliberations for the Child Nutrition Act last year. Senate Republicans defeated his laudable efforts, claiming that such decisions are the purview of local school districts. Meanwhile, the federal government dictates macronutrient values for school children at the national level.
For more information, please go to the following link: http://harkin.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=237846.