4 Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Food

Locally grown foods are better for the environment. Many times processed foods go through multiple factories before they actually arrive at the fast food chain, and those factories use a lot of power to do things like slaughter cows our packaging food. That power is in turn supplied by power plants, which use fossils fuels to work. This whole train, can just end with you buying your foods from a farmer who uses his own tools, machines, and manpower to grow his crops.

So, there’s the major environmental impact. What are some other pros?

Here’s a list of four reasons why you should choose to go with the locally grown food in your area.

Locally grown food…

1. …is healthier than eating processed food as you’re not aware of the quantity of fat, sodium, and harmful toxins placed in it. With locally grown food, you can track the growth process and measure how many, as well as what type of chemicals are put into your foods. Plus, local foods also contain more nutrients than other foods.

2. …is better for the local economy. Buying local keeps revenue close to home and helps fund local businesses.

3. …has more flavor. When foods go through through processing, they lose key factors that hold better flavors. However, when you buy locally grown food, the flavors are still ripe due to you getting them straight from your local market. Also if you buy locally grown fruits in season, they will be full of flavor since the conditions of the soil during that time of the month are beneficial to whatever is in season. Keeping track of what’s in season helps with that too, of course. 😉

4. …helps to bring together a sense of community in an area. When people constantly start going to markets, it starts to become normal for people to get used to seeing each other. If people start caring for each other, then it will bring a nicer aura to the surrounding area.
I hope this list gave you a better idea of locally grown food. Even if you didn’t, I hope you put some of this info into consideration when you go shopping. So tell me, what do you think you’ll pick when you decide to go shopping?

Co-authored by the OnAir Team

Where Does the Meal on Your Table Come From?

Your favorite meal of all time is meatloaf and mashed potatoes, beef covered in thick white gravy with a side of mash potatoes. All you can think of before you get home is that succulent meal. However, before it can even reach your dinner table, it has to make it halfway across the country.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”307″ caption=”kraftrecipes.com – Who would have thought something so beautiful have such horrible consequences?

Eating Healthier for Us and our Environment

In our growing world and rapidly developing society, we are faced with an increasingly urgent problem: how can we feed 7 billion mouths and counting? How do we do so without permanently damaging our environment through reckless use of water, pesticides, and monocultures? Something we can do is actually beneficial for both us and our environment.

The answer is for us to eat locally grown, healthy food. How does that help alleviate our problem? First off, transporting food takes vast amounts of energy through keeping the food at a suitable temperature over thousands of miles, and consumes fuel through this transport. When our food is grown down the road or merely has to be moved a few miles to our grocery store, we know it’s more safe and fresh to eat. Additionally, it gives local farmers a chance to grow their own strains and types of crops, promoting biodiversity amongst crop populations.

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods, with a focus on vegetables, fruits and nuts. The efficiency of growing plants for consumption far exceeds the efficiency it takes to raise livestock, such as cattle and pigs. These animals require a lot of food and space, while also contributing to large portions of methane emissions—a notoriously dangerous greenhouse gas—through their droppings.

This does not mean to stop eating meats altogether—it still brings nutrition! However, I urge everyone to at least attempt to cut back on eating meats. When we eat healthier, we not only vastly reduce the amount of energy needed to get our food to the table, but also lessen methane emissions while increasing efficiency of total food grown! What steps have you taken to eat healthier for yourself and the environment?

Happy Healthy Eating

When it comes to health, what one puts into their bodies determines a lot. Essentially, you are what you eat. This idea resonated with me a lot during my final year in high school. After watching the Food Inc. documentary in my environmental studies class, I decided to educate myself on food, and the lack of real foods, that are still considered food. In my journey, I learned that most of foods that I was purchasing were genetically modified, and the process of making those foods was harmful to the environment. Consequentially, my awareness caused me to change grocery stores, and also my diet.

The benefits from the changes I made in the food I consumed includes great energy, alertness, healthy skin, and an overall improved health. I have made the conscious effort to purchase foods that are organic, fair-trade, non-GMO, and locally produced.

To anyone who wants to embark on a healthy lifestyle and food journey, my first recommendation is that you do your research on brands and foods that are genuine but also work for you, and your budget. The food section on npr.org is a place one can start. There is also a false assumption that organic foods are more expensive—this is not true. Also, there are brands that label themselves as organic and are truly not, so please make the extra effort to find genuine organic brands. Indeed, you will find that there are plenty of substitutes when it comes to grains, fruits, starches and vegetables. Furthermore, organic does not mean healthy, so be aware.

This is what my grocery list generally looks like:
Protein Starch Veggies Fruits/Nuts
Chicken Quinoa Zucchini Apple
Salmon Brown Rice Carrots Mango
Basmati Rice Kale Watermelon
Couscous Arugula Berries
Whole wheat pasta Bell Peppers Almond
Eggplant Sunflower seeds
Broccoli Pomegranate

Take what you may from this, and remember, a good diet leads to good health, which is a most valuable thing. Will you embark on this journey and improve your lifestyle?

Taking small steps to make a big impact

As you step out of your house, you meet a sea of trash and an echoing memory of what once was the thriving community that you grew up in. Startled by the chaos, you think to yourself: How could this beautiful area you call home be in such shambles. I used to spend my afternoons outside playing with my friends but now I spend hours reminiscing the clean safe area I use to dedicate my summers to. Environmental impact is something personal to all of us. It effects our quality of life, the air we breath, the water we drink from.Simple things such as shutting the lights off and choosing to recycle instead of just tossing away your plastic bottles and coke cans. Even taking the small step of joining your school environmental club can make a big impact. We challenge you to take that next small step. We must take the necessary steps to protect what we hold dear to us so we can preserve it for the people who will come after.

Interview with Amber Nave, White House Champion of Change by Lauren Smith

ACE’s Georgia Program Manager Amber Nave was awarded the White House Champion of Change award on February 9, 2015. One of Amber’s Action Fellowship students, Lauren Smith, and a crew of media students at DeKalb School of the Arts filmed, edited, and produced this interview with Amber to share her White House experience. Check it out HERE! 

 

Through A Child’s Eyes

I’ve always been passionate about our natural world, from the birds and insects that live in our environment to the beautiful natural scenery it provides. Looking back, I think my earliest memories of this fascination with nature were when my mom took me to the botanical gardens. I vividly remember looking at the countless multitude and brilliant colors of the butterflies that fluttered around me, and really being awed by how amazing the gardens looked.

Then, in the 5th grade, I went to Jekyll Island on a school trip. I was at a loss of words at how beautiful and fascinating nature could be—whether it be the thousands of tiny fiddler crabs scuttling around during low tide, or the gentle swish of the waves against the shore.

These early experiences I had really unearthed my love for nature and the environment. After asking around my school, those who seemed to be the most supportive of conservation and appreciative of nature had some amount of exposure to the natural world when they were young as well. One friend said that watching Captain Planet made him interested in environmental protection. Another told me a trip she went on in the 9th grade up Stone Mountain. After a long and exhausting hike, she started to notice small things such as insects, wildflowers, and even the dewdrops sitting on the tips of leaves. At the summit of the hike, she looked out at the rising sun, painting the canvas of the sky with shades of deep purple and pink. No matter the magnitude of nature, its enduring beauty is unique and breathtaking. Experiences early in a person’s life like these really stand out, and results show.

This is why I think it’s important that we expose people to nature at a young age. It piques their interest and causes them to feel a genuine appreciation for the environment. Once something makes an impressionable impact upon a child, that memory will stick with him or her for a very long time. With that in mind, I leave y’all with a question: was there ever a distinct moment or experience in your life where you realized you had a passion for the environment, and felt compelled to protect it? What exactly made you step up and take initiative?

Your ACE fellows, Lauren Smith, Galen Xiang, and Kayla Robinson

Coalitions Against Coal

Hey everyone!

One of my favorite things is when young people instigate change. This can be on any level, just as long as you make others think! Keeping with my theme from the last blog – a couple of years ago, a group of environmentally conscious students hosted a film and panel discussion about the hidden costs of coal-based energy production for the Athens community. The result was something absolutely incredible.

As a result of finding out about the use of coal across campus, many of my peers decided that they wanted to see a major change from the University- thus began the Beyond Coal movement. For months on end, students in the Beyond Coal exposed and shared public health, ecological and climate change costs of coal energy production. This got the attention of important people in the environmental world, such as Rich Rusk, an organizer with the Georgia Climate Change Coalition, who stated in an address to the state’s Coalition that the environmental leaders of today were the young and the passionate and called for everyone else to emulate them.

The organizing members of Beyond Coal pushed UGA’s administration and financial advisors to commit to retiring the coal boiler and, in addition, to create a task force that would ensure that community concerns are considered and that all alternatives to coal are diligently investigated. The group received immense support from both students and faculty: a petition gained over 2,000 student signatures as well as over 80 faculty endorsements backing the push to retire the coal boiler. In the end, the voice of the people was heard and heeded!

Institutions of higher education should always be the exemplars of modern energy solutions. If you see an institution follow through on their environmentally based promises in your community, I encourage you to call for change. Often, the smallest actions, such as writing a letter to someone holding a leadership position can and do make the biggest difference.

The Green Movement- College Edition

Hey guys!

As you all know by now, I am a college student. What you do not know is my decision process when looking at universities. I, along with a huge percentage of other incoming college students, was very conscious of the schools’ environmental sustainability programs. Commitment to environmental issues was right up there with academic reputation and financial aid, and significantly affected my decision. Students like us are becoming more conscious of the huge effects that universities can have, positive or negative.  So we are asking the tough questions and pushing for change!

Some of y’all either have begun or will soon begin the college search process, and so I’d like to share with you some of my personal criteria when touring schools. I had a wide range of factors, however, these were the most important to me:

1.) How much local food is served/where does the leftover food go at the end of each and every day? After all, there’s gotta be a lot of excess, especially at large schools.

2.) How much waste is diverted from landfills? College students are humans, and messy ones at that. The availability of recycling bins and other such items seemed critical to me.

3.) Are the available transportation options such as free bus passes or car shares offered? Do transportation options include non-petroleum based ones? Is the location of the school along with the school culture conducive to bike riding and/or walking?

4.) Are there sustainability programs offered in the residence halls? Are the residence halls generally efficient in terms of electricity, heat, and/or water use?

These were just a few of mine, but I’m hoping you’ll start thinking of some of your own as well! Let me know what you think in the comments below!