Here are members profiled this month: from the left, Mayya Husseini, Modi Mwatsama, Enrique Jacoby, Ruthi Solari, Olivia Yambi, Elisabetta Recine
Isabela Sattamini reports: I am writing this just before Rio+20, the world environment conference, considered to be the biggest UN conference ever. Let's hope that Rio+20 acknowledges that food and agriculture is central in social, health and environmental issues. Here are extracts from this month's profiles. From left (above):
Mayya Husseini writes: Studying at King's College in London, I sure was given a solid scientific base, but given my innate global perspective I found it difficult to fully relate to the subject until Patricia Mucavele from the School Food Trust came in to teach a few classes on public health nutrition in my final year. This was it. It was like a real-life game of connect-the-dots between the different sectors and their relation to food on a global scale. There was so much to the field, it almost seemed never-ending and with plenty of opportunities to grow and diversify – which ticks all the right boxes for me in terms of a career!
Modi Mwatsama says in her profile: I was born in Kenya where I spent my childhood, with a bit of time in Switzerland, before moving to the UK in my teens. My interest in nutrition was sparked by the constant and often confusing coverage in the media – ranging from droughts and famines in Africa, to excess food consumption and dieting in the West. The stark contrast in food and nutrition experiences and health outcomes across the world led me to study nutrition in order to understand these complex issues and explore how I might do my bit to help to make a difference.
Enrique Jacoby says: My first job out of medical school was as a doctor in Lima's northern shanty towns where I worked devising plans to prevent and control diarrhoea among children. That job fed into my growing interest in public health nutrition and research. Just a few months later I moved into a small rural Andean community in north-east Lima, to conduct epidemiological and dietary studies associated to childhood diarrhoea. The experience extended for nearly two years and concluded with the production of a new home-made weaning-food based on local foodstuffs and local culinary traditions.
Ruthi Solari says: I became a vegetarian at age 14 after I visited a feedlot and slaughterhouse where I saw first-hand how the animals are treated before they become packaged meat in the grocery store. To support my decision, my mother bought me a Moosewood cookbook and together as a family, we learned how to make healthy vegetarian meals. My dad's family fled Germany during the Holocaust, so whenever I visited my grandparents, who lived with a fear of scarcity, I was expected to clean my plate and absolutely no food would go to waste.
Olivia Yambi writes: When I completed my first degree in biological sciences and was assigned to teach at a fisheries research and training institute I came across a book Human Nutrition in Tropical Africa, by Michael Latham. Upon reading this book carefully I had no doubt that I wanted to work on human nutrition rather than continue research on the biology of king fish. The calling grew stronger as I visited clinics around the country and saw children suffering from malnutrition.
Elisabetta Recine says: I was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in a family of Italian immigrants. In this noisy family, Sunday lunches were filled with lively political discussions. Thus it was natural to choose a career as a nutritionist. I decided that I wanted to end world hunger! My college years coincided with the democratisation process in Brazil. Technical training was accompanied by many activities related to women's movement, popular culture, popular movements to guarantee our public and universal national health system and also the foundation of the Workers' Party. I had the wonderful opportunity to join the executive committee to organise the Rio2012 conference. I've been a member of the Association from the beginning.
It's me, Isabela again… The world is going through important changes. Climate and environment changes, and also changes of mind. Times of crisis are also times of growth and development, says an old Chinese saying. The aim of the Association is to find solutions regarding food matters, and our work is connected with so many other issues because it has so many dimensions. Let's study a lot, observe a lot, share our knowledge, and work hard to make the world a better place