Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., L.D.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., L.D.

Good Food: What It Is, How to Find It, and Why It Matters

Presentation Summary:

Melinda will help us understand what “good” food means–what are the qualities of good food (on and beyond our plates); how and where we can find good food (greenwash and label alerts); and why it matters–for today and for a sustainable future.

About the Speaker:

Melinda Hemmelgarn, a.k.a. the Food Sleuth®,  is an award-winning writer, speaker, and nationally syndicated radio host, with 35 years’ experience in clinical, academic, and public health nutrition.  Recognizing  the media’s power to influence food choice, Melinda created and directed the Nutrition Communication Center at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and wrote a weekly newspaper column for 25 years. Her weekly Food Sleuth Radio program, produced at KOPN studios, is in its 8th year and airs on 40 stations nationally;  it ranks among the top national “green food radio shows.”  She is also a monthly guest on KFRU’s morning show.

In 2004, Melinda was awarded a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellowship, which allowed her to connect the dots between food, health and agriculture. Today, her work uniquely focuses on food system literacy, encouraging citizens to think critically about food and farming media messages.

Melinda is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists,  the Union of Concerned Scientists Science Network, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  She also serves on the Boards of Beyond Pesticides, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services. She writes regularly for ACRES USA,  and blogs for Organic Valley where she explains the health benefits of organic food and agro-ecological farming methods.  In 2014, Today’s Dietitian Magazine named her one of the nation’s “Top 10 Dietitians Making a Difference.” In 2015, she received the “Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership” award from her Academy peers.

Melinda received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition with an emphasis in Dietetics from Florida State University; earned an M.S. in Human Nutrition and Food Systems Management from the University of MO-Columbia; and completed her dietetic internship through Cornell University/ New York Hospital, in New York City.

While Melinda embraces nutritional science, she also believes in the power of art and storytelling to create a more sustainable future.   Working  with her photographer husband,  Dan,  the couple created “F.A.R.M.: Food, Art, Revolution, Media – A Focus on Photography to Re-Vitalize Agriculture and Strengthen Democracy.” By combining farmers’ stories with compelling images, they hope to help people better understand where their food comes from, how it was produced, and why it matters.  Their work has received awards from the MO Department  of Agriculture and MO Farmers’ Union.

Melinda is considered a trusted consumer educator, and “good” food advocate.  She credits her former patients, farmers, and ecologists as among her most influential teachers.

Melinda and her husband  are most grateful for their two grown children, Robert and Hannah. Avid nature enthusiasts, they enjoy canoeing, biking, hiking and camping in state and national parks.