Insight News

Friday
Oct 31st

Health

After five years, a Farmers Market in North Minneapolis

 After five years, a Farmers Market in North MinneapolisWhile some Minneapolis neighborhoods enjoy a bountiful supply of healthy foods, many others do not. The Minneapolis Urban League and the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) are bringing the Mini Farmers Market Project, and with it fresh fruits and vegetables, into the heart of North Minneapolis Particularly in the North Minneapolis neighborhoods, where the rates of obesity and malnutrition are disproportionately higher than the rest of the area.  For the past five years, the Minneapolis Urban League has been developing a strategy to get healthier food options to the community, and the IATP’s Mini Farmer’s Market project is the perfect vehicle for getting the right food in the right hands.
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NorthPoint Health &Wellness campus to become smoke-free, effective November 18

Continuing decades of support for healthier environments, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution last week making the north Minneapolis NorthPoint Health & Wellness (“NorthPoint”) campus smoke-free.

“This is an extremely positive step for not only our employees, but for the children and families who visit the clinic regularly. As a public health authority, this is the County leading by example,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein.

NorthPoint's Community Board of Directors passed a resolution earlier this year in support of a smoke-free campus and requested approval from the County Board.
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Genetically modified foods

Genetically modified foodsDear EarthTalk: As far as I know, genetically modified foods are not required to be labeled so. Why is this? Don’t we have a right to know what our food is made of? -- Rebecca Webster, via e-mail

Unbeknownst to most Americans, a majority of the processed foods available in grocery stores today are derived from genetically modified (GM) sources—whereby genes have been taken from one species and insert into another to obtain specific traits or characteristics. Given how new GM technology is—scientists first began tinkering with it in the 1970s but only recently began utilizing it on a wide scale across the food sector—the jury is still out as to whether such products can cause health or environmental problems.
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Privatizing water resources

Privatizing water resourcesDear EarthTalk: Is it true that some countries have turned over public water supplies to private companies, effectively denying local communities much-needed access? -- J. Johnson, Lancaster, PA

Water is such an important part of life that it has long been regarded as a public good worth entrusting only to public entities. But given the mixed track record of municipal, regional and national governments to properly manage water resources, outsourcing to private companies is becoming more common. But critics of such privatization point out that the end result for consumers is not always so positive.
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The worldwide plant extinction crisis

The worldwide plant extinction crisisDear EarthTalk: When we talk about “endangered species” we usually think of animal species, but someone recently told me that there was a worldwide crisis pertaining to the extinction of plants. Can you enlighten? -- Max Blanchard, East Islip, NY

We may not realize it, but the health of the plant kingdom is crucial to the health of the planet and the animal life (which includes humans) it supports. “Through photosynthesis, plants provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat and are thus the foundation of most life on Earth,” reports the Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based nonprofit dedicated to securing the future for endangered plants and animals throughout the world.
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Harnessing volcanic energy

Harnessing volcanic energyDear EarthTalk: Is there any way to harness volcanic energy to meet our electricity and other power needs? -- Antonio Lopez, Chino, CA

The short answer is yes: Heat generated by underground volcanic activity can and has been harnessed for electricity for over 100 years around the world. Utilities can capture the steam from underground water heated by magma and use it to drive the turbines in geothermal power plants to produce significant amounts of electricity. Getting at the sources is not so easy or cheap, though, as it requires drilling into unstable sections of the Earth’s crust and then harnessing the heat energy miles below the surface.
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U of M nets $7 million to create center to combat childhood obesity

Center will work with parents of low-income families to improve nutrition, lifestyle

University of Minnesota School of Public Health and HealthPartners Research Foundation researchers have been awarded a $7 million federally-funded grant to tackle childhood obesity in a unique three pronged approach that focuses on parents of preschool children.

The seven-year grant, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will support the creation of a Childhood Obesity Center within the U of M where parental influence is paramount. Researchers will combine primary care, a child’s home environment and community-based intervention strategies into a program that aims to spark changes in food intake, physical activity and body weight among low-income, ethnically diverse children.
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