In Case You Missed It: This Week in Review

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This week, we examine school cafeteria meals and the impact they have on students’ health, and we highlight 15 innovations making school lunches healthier and more sustainable. Nearly one-third of all American youth ages 10 to 17 are either obese or overweight, putting them at risk for more than 20 major diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. School lunches represent the primary source of nourishment for many children, but few schools have the facilities or the know-how to prepare fresh, nourishing meals.

Photo Credit: Bernard Pollack

And our op-eds on how to boost children’s health through school meal initiatives were published in The Buffalo News of New York and the Austin American-Statesman in Texas. If you know of any healthy and sustainable school meal programs in your area, let us know in the comments below!

Across the world, an urban gardening initiative is greening rooftops in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 2010, the Tlhago Primary Agricultural Cooperative has planted two rooftop gardens at the heart of the metropolis and, through outreach and educational activities, has transferred urban gardening skills to more than 100 people from local communities.

Nearly two months after the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, three women—Chantal Line Carpentier of UN DESA, Tess Mateo of CXCatalysts, and Freda Miriklis of the International Federation of Business and Professional Womenshare their thoughts on some unexpected outcomes from the conference. “Never before have so many non-governmental actors actively participated and contributed to a multi-lateral UN process,” they write. Read their full guest blog post here.

And we examine the latest trends in aquaculture, or fish farming. Total global fish production, including both wild capture fish and aquaculture, reached an all-time high of 154 million tons in 2011, and aquaculture is set to top 60 percent of production by 2020. Read more about feeding the world through aquaculture in our latest Vital Signs Online report here.

Further highlights from the past week:

Our indigenous vegetable of the week is the nopal cactus, of which there are over 200 edible varieties. Nopal has existed in the native Meso-American diet for more than 12,000 years, and it offers a nutritious supplement to many traditional Mexican dishes.

We are excited that Raj Patel has announced a new multimedia project, Generation Food. The project will cover real efforts by numerous communities around the world in feeding themselves and building their own self-sustainable food systems. Click here to learn how you can help get the project running.

And check out the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Food for 9 Billion project new video, “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers.” The average American eats around 3 hamburgers a week, which adds up to 156 burgers per person each year. As a nation, Americans consume more than 48 billion burgers annually.

Now it’s your turn: What were your favorite posts from the week? What do you hope we’ll write about next week? Let us know in the comments!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

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