Edible Legacy

CLF’s two decades of connecting health and the food system

By Andrew Faught • Illustration by Anna and Elena Balbusso

Two decades ago, the food system was little more than an afterthought on the academic public health agenda. Then the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future launched, becoming the nation’s first academic center in a school of public health to examine the relationships among public health, diet, food production and the environment. “Many of the most pressing public health issues that we face—climate change, noncommunicable diseases, antibiotic resistance and food security—relate directly to the food system,” says CLF associate director Shawn McKenzie, MPH. Building on its past contributions (right), CLF will continue to improve public health by helping create a healthier, more equitable and more resilient food system, McKenzie says.


  • CLF shifted public attitudes on antibiotic use in industrial farm animal production with a groundbreaking 2008 study.
  • CLF has been integrally involved with and provided technical assistance to the Meatless Monday campaign, founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner.
  • CLF’s Food Policy Networks staff consulted with more than 50 food policy councils around the U.S. to strengthen state and local food policy.
  • CLF established the first food system certificate program in a school of public health.