Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 26, Issue 1–2, pp 57–66 | Cite as

Civic dietetics: opportunities for integrating civic agriculture concepts into dietetic practice

  • Jennifer L. Wilkins


When Thomas Lyson developed the concept of Civic Agriculture, he provided a useful framework for considering a range of distinct but related professional areas. One such profession is dietetics. Registered dietitians work in a broad range of professional settings, including academic, clinical, administrative, hospitality, food service, and consulting. Dietetic practice has traditionally and primarily been informed by advances in understanding of the role nutrients and food play in enhancing health and reducing chronic disease risk. With support from the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the largest credentialing organization for nutrition practitioners, an increasing number of dietetic professionals consider food and agricultural sustainability issues relevant to their training and practice. Longstanding organizational structures, practices, and alliances characterizing the association, however, may limit the extent to which the organization and its members unify around a concept of civic dietetics. Recent developments within the ADA indicating an emergence of civic dietetics. This paper suggests ways the civic agriculture concept may be applied to dietetic practice, and how civic dietetics may help further civic agriculture and sustainable food systems.


Civic dietetics Sustainability Sustainable agriculture Food systems Environment Nutritionist Dietitian 



American Dietetic Association


Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education


Dietetic practice group


Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition


Hunger and Environmental Nutrition


Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition


  1. American Dietetic Association. 2006. Position on agriculture and food biotechnology. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106: 285–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Dietetic Association. 2007a. House of Delegates (HOD) HOD member fact sheet: Outcomes of the Spring. 2007. HOD Meeting. Accessed 14 February 2008.
  3. American Dietetic Association. 2007b. Note from the Association Positions Committee regarding review and revision of the American Dietetic Association Position Statement on Agriculture and Food Biotechnology. Accessed 15 July 2008.
  4. American Dietetic Association. 2007c. Program book for the 2007 Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo. September 29 to October 2, 2007. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association.Google Scholar
  5. American Dietetic Association. 2008. Welcome message. Accessed 3 February 2008.
  6. American Dietetic Association/APC (Association Positions Committee). 2007. Position Paper Update for 2007. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 107 (2): 330–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Education (ADA/CADE). 2008a. Home Page. Accessed 16 June 2008.
  8. American Dietetic Association/Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (ADA/CADE). 2008. 2008 Eligibility requirements and Accreditation Standards for Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP). Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association.Google Scholar
  9. American Dietetic Association Sustainable Food System Task Force. 2007. Healthy land, healthy people: building a better understanding of sustainable food systems for food and nutrition professionals. A primer on sustainable food systems and emerging roles for food and nutrition professionals. Accessed 14 February 14 2008.
  10. American Public Health Association. 2003. Precautionary moratorium on new concentrated animal feed operations. Resolution 2003–7. Accessed 10 February 2008.
  11. American Public Health Association. 2004. Helping preserve antibiotic effectiveness by stimulating demand for meats produced without excessive antibiotics. Accessed 12 August 2008.
  12. Brewer, S.M., and P. Kendall. 1995. Biotechnology and the future of food: Position of American Dietetic Association. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 95: 1429–1432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carolan, M.S. 2006. Social change and the adoption and adaptation of knowledge claims: Whose truth do you trust in regard to sustainable agriculture? Agriculture and Human Values 23 (3): 325–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clancy, K. 1999. Reclaiming the social and environmental roots of nutrition education. Journal of Nutrition Education 31 (4): 190–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Constance, D.H. 2007. Together at the table: Sustainability and sustenance in the American agrifood system. Agriculture and Human Values 24 (3): 411–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DeCarlo, T.E., V.J. Franck, and R. Pirog. 2005. Consumer perceptions of place-based foods, food chain profit distribution, and family farms (MSP04–05). Center Staff Papers. Ames, IA: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Accessed 22 August 2008.
  17. Feenstra, G.W. 1997. Local food systems and sustainable communities. American journal of alternative agriculture 2 (1): 28–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fish, R., S. Seymour, and C. Watkins. 2006. Sustainable farmland management as political and cultural discourse. Geographic Journal 172: 183–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guptill, A., and J.L. Wilkins. 2002. Buying into the food system: Trends in U.S. food retailing in the U.S. and implications for local foods. Agriculture and Human Values 19: 39–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gussow, J.D. 1999. Dietary guidelines for sustainability: Twelve years later. Journal of Nutrition Education 31 (4): 194–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gussow, J.D. 2001. This organic life: Confessions of a suburban homesteader. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishers.Google Scholar
  22. Gussow, J.D., and K. Clancy. 1986. Dietary guidelines for sustainability. Journal of Nutrition Education 18: 1–5.Google Scholar
  23. Halweil, B. 2004. Eat here: Reclaiming homegrown pleasures in a global supermarket. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  24. Harmon, A.H., and B.L. Gerald. 2007. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food and Nutrition Professionals can implement practices to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 107: 1034–1243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hartman Group. 2004. Organic Food & beverage trends 2004: Lifestyle, language & category adoption. 55 Pages—Pub ID: HAR1032427. August 11. Bellevue, WA: The Hartman Group, Inc.Google Scholar
  26. Hochberg, A. 2007. Supermarkets tout fresh, local offerings. all things considered. National Public Radio. July 27, 2007. Accessed 6 November 2007.
  27. Hoppe, R.A., P. Korb, E.J. O’Donoghue, and D.E. Banker. 2007. Structure and finances of U.S. farms: Family farm report, 2007 Edition/EIB-24. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service. Accessed 15 August 2008.
  28. Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. 2008a. Welcome to the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition DPG Website. Accessed 11 February 2008.
  29. Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. 2008b. About us. Accessed 15 August 2008.
  30. Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. 2008c. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. Website homepage. Accessed 15 August 2008.
  31. Jacobson, M.F. 2006. Six arguments for a greener diet. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest.Google Scholar
  32. Kendall, P. 1996. Dietary variety is spice of life. Lifestyles/Spotlight feature in Rocky Mountain News. Denver, CO: Denver Publishing Company, March 5.Google Scholar
  33. Kingsolver, Barbara. 2007. Animal, vegetable, miracle: A year of food. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Kirby, L.D., C. Jackson, and A. Perrett. 2007. Expanding the Western North Carolina food and farm economy. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). Ashville, NC, August.Google Scholar
  35. Klitzke, C. 1997. Dietitians: Experts about food systems? Journal of the American Dietetic Association 97 (suppl 2): S195–S196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Local Harvest. 2007. Accessed 12 October 2007.
  37. Lyson, T.A. 2000. Moving toward civic agriculture. Choices: The Magazine of Food Farm & Resource Issues 15 (3): 42–45.Google Scholar
  38. Lyson, T.A. 2004. Civic agriculture: Reconnecting farm, food, and community. Medford, MA: Tufts University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lyson, T.A., and J. Green. 1999. The agricultural marketscape: A framework for sustaining agriculture and communities in the Northeast. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 15 (2/3): 133–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCullum, C. 2004. Using sustainable agriculture to improve human nutrition and health. Journal of Community Nutrition 6: 18–25.Google Scholar
  41. Nestle, M. 2002. Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  42. Nestle, M. 2003. Safe food: Bacteria, biotechnology, and bioterrorism. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  43. Nestle, M. 2006. What to eat. New York: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  44. Packaged Facts. 2007. Local and fresh foods in the U.S. Accessed 6 November 2007.
  45. Pawlick, T.F. 2006. The end of food: How the food industry is destroying our food supply—And what we can do about it. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books.Google Scholar
  46. Payne-Palacio, J., and D.D. Canter. 1996. The profession of dietetics—A team approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.Google Scholar
  47. Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP). 2008. Putting meat on the table: Industrial farm animal production in america a report of the pew commission on industrial farm animal production. Final Reports. Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Accessed 22 August 2008.
  48. Platkin, C.S. 2007. Diet detective: Eating locally. The diet detective.,0,4124280.column?coll=stam-features-headlines. Accessed 11 October 2007.
  49. Pirog, R. 2003. Ecolabel value assessment: Consumer and food business perceptions of local foods. Ames, IA: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.Google Scholar
  50. Pirog, R. 2004. Ecolabel value assessment phase II: Consumer perceptions of local foods. Ames, IA: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.Google Scholar
  51. Pollan, M. 2006. The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  52. Pollan, M. 2008. In defense of food: An eater’s manifesto. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  53. Roberts, K.S., M.B. Struble, C. McCullum-Gomez, and J.L. Wilkins. 2006. Use of a risk communication model to evaluate dietetics professionals’ viewpoints on genetically engineered foods and crops, perspectives in practice. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106: 719–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Robinson, R., and C. Smith. 2003. Integrating issues of sustainably produced foods into nutrition practice: A survey of Minnesota Dietetic Association members. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1003: 608–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Savitz, A.W. 2006. The triple bottom line; how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social, and environmental success—And how you can too. Portland, OR: Book News, Inc.Google Scholar
  56. Schlosser, E. 2005. Fast food nation: The dark side of the all-American meal. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  57. Shanklin, C.W., and B.L. Hackes. 2001. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Dietetics professionals can implement pesticides to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. (Previously titled “Natural resource conservation and waste management). Journal of the American Dietetic Association 101: 1221–1227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Singer, P., and J. Mason. 2006. The way we eat—Why our food choices matter. Kutztown, PA: Rodale Inc.Google Scholar
  59. Steinfeld, H., P. Gerber, T. Wassenaar, V. Castel, M. Rosales, and C. Haan. 2007. Livestock’s long shadow: Environmental issues and options. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed 18 August 2008.
  60. Steel, C. 2008. Hungry city—How food shapes our lives. Chatto & Windus, London: Random House Group Limited.Google Scholar
  61. Tolbert, C., M.D. Irwin, T.A. Lyson, and A.R. Nucci. 2002. Civic community in small-town America: How civic welfare is influenced by local capitalism and civic engagement. Rural Sociology 67 (1): 90–113.Google Scholar
  62. United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA/AMS). 2006. Farmers market growth (1997–2008). Beltsville, MD: USDA. Accessed 21 November 2008.
  63. United States Department of Agriculture/National Agriculture Library (USDA/NAL). 2007. Community supported agriculture. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center. Beltsville, MD: USDA. Accessed 12 October 2007.
  64. Varghese, J., N.T. Krogman, and T.M. Beckley. 2006. Critical analysis of the relationship between local ownership and community resiliency. Rural Sociology 71 (3): 505–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilkins, J. 2004. Sustainable agriculture: What dietitians should know and why. Presentation at the 2004 American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, Anaheim, CA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Nutritional SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations