Good Food Life: Rubén Martinez
Rubén Martinez is the Director of the Julian Samora Research Institute in the city of East Lansing, Mich.
What is your role at Julian Samora Research Institute (JSRI)?
RM: Director — I coordinate the development and implementation of outreach and research projects that address critical issues facing Latino communities.
How does JSRI work towards the goals of the Good Food Charter?
RM: JSRI partners with other researchers, educators, and community members to address a broad range of issues facing Latino communities. We are currently working on a project to reduce mastitis and antimicrobial use on dairy farms. Mastitis is a common mammary gland infection in dairy cattle and a costly challenge to the dairy industry. Mastitis results in lowered calcium in milk and higher somatic cell counts, which are associated with lower milk quality.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
RM: As the dairy industry continues to undergo changes in organizational forms and in labor force demographics, it is exciting to seek ways to assist the industry in adapting to the changes. It is also exciting to work with colleagues in veterinary medicine who address a critical factor in the quality of milk. I’m learning a great amount about the diary industry, especially the increasing number of Latino workers and their work activities. I’m also impressed by the pride taken in producing quality milk.
What opportunities do you see for moving toward the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter, and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
RM: Milk is a core food product consumed by Michiganians. Ensuring that good milk production practices are part of the milk industry ensures that the industry avoids unnecessary financial losses and Michiganians have access to high quality milk.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience with working towards the goals of the Good Food Charter that you’d like to share with others?
RM: There are many people who care about the sustainable production of good food that is accessible by all Michiganians. We are not alone in working toward a better food environment for all.