From Field To Fork, To Eating Locally And Seasonally

From Field To Fork, To Eating Locally And Seasonally

A rudimentary explanation of how our food system is impacting the environment.

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When you walk through the produce section at the grocery store you are guaranteed a colorful array of fruits and veggies. The origin of product ranges from hundreds of miles away to thousands of miles across oceans and continents. Our current food system relies on importing and exporting around the globe. This system allows us to put food on our tables that are locally out of season. Carbon dioxide emissions from transporting these goods heavily pollute the environment. I blame the astronomically high demand for an unnecessary variety of food options to play a large role in anthropocentric climate change.

Where do foods come from when they aren't in season?

A huge contributor to global warming is the transportation associated with distributing food around the globe. During March in Washington State, the produce in season is brussels sprouts, celery root, garlic scapes, horseradish, lamb's quarter, leeks, mushrooms, nettles, parsnips, potatoes, purslane, rapini, sorrel, sprouts sunchokes, and turnips. However, when you look around the supermarket you'll find products such as avocados, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peppers, and many others that are transported here from far away. According to the USDA, Canada and Mexico are the largest suppliers of United States agriculture products, followed by the European Union.

Imported goods the United States receive are products Western society has placed a high value upon; confusing luxury with necessity. The USDA reports imported goods such as coffee/cocoa/spices and fish/shellfish are among those luxury items Americans have increased their demand for. Which isn't to say people should never drink coffee or eat the occasional chocolate. It's time we reconsider our consumption levels and consider how our indulgences are impacting the environment we live in today, and how it will affect the environment of the future.

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Eat locally and seasonally, your taste buds will thank you.

On an individual level, we can limit our impact on the environment by eating locally and seasonally. Eating food that's in season requires you to purchase locally grown foods. Supporting local farms keeps your money in the local economy and significantly cuts down on transportation. This change in behavior would help minimize our contribution to anthropocentric climate change. Don't worry, there aren't only environmental benefits to eating seasonally. Our seasonal options during the colder months will seem to limit initially. On the bright side, seasonal eating allows you to discover new foods which are fresher and tastier than anything shipped from around the world. Imagine biting into a strawberry or apple a few days after harvest versus a few weeks; the proof is in the flavor!

A solution of mutual accommodation.

Our current food system is entirely unsustainable; built on the increasing demand for luxury goods from around the globe. It didn't use to be like this. Societies survived for thousands of years on locally and seasonally sourced resources. Of course, the world's population is much larger today than it was a few hundred years ago, it's not unrealistic to strive to eat seasonally to help limit our environmental footprint. On a larger scale, innovative policy change is long overdue. Pollution is an American public health issue as well as a global health issue. This issue is full of complexity which requires a certain level of mutual accommodation. However, it is unrealistic to expect individuals to eat 100% seasonally all the time. To achieve the same goal of minimizing anthropocentric climate change and to improve public health, through individual and governmental cooperation we can meet in the middle to find an accommodating solution for everyone.

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8 Reasons Girls Who Love Tequila Are Better

Because if she can handle tequila, she can handle you too.
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There are all kinds of alcohol stereotypes out there but the one associated with tequila is probably the worst: tequila makes you crazy. But if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that women who drink tequila are one-of-a-kind.

Whether it's loving or fighting, you'll never find anyone who does it better than a girl who just straight up loves tequila, and here are a few reasons why that is.

1. She's independent

A girl who drinks tequila is probably the same girl who has absolutely no problem telling it like it is. She knows what she wants and goes after it.

2. She doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks

Oh, you have a problem with me taking shots and having a good time? Well, get over it! Bartender, a shot with salt and a lime please!

3. Always dancing

Tequila is an 'upper' so instead of sitting at the bar doing nothing, let's dance! Let's get moving!

4. There is never a dull moment

Speaking of dancing, a girl who drinks tequila is always down for a good time. Whether it's going on an adventure or seeing who can take the most shots, a tequila girl is always down to party.

5. While everyone else is starting to get sleepy, she has all the energy

Like I said, tequila is an 'upper' so while the other girls at the bar are starting to feel groggy and sad, she's all over the place having fun and partying on the dancefloor.

6. She's stronger than the girl crying over a vodka cranberry at the bar.

Sad over a breakup? Don't go for the vodka... Tequila will make you feel better in no time! Plus you can challenge the hot guys at the bar to a shot taking contest.

7. Tequila is healthy for you

Tequila is a probiotic, so some tequila a day keeps the doctor away. Yay for shots!

8. She can hold her own when it comes to alcohol

Any girl who can shoot some shots at the bar all day and night can handle alcohol, which means she can handle herself too. You won't have to deal with her constant breakdowns and mood swings because she will be too busy ordering more shots.

Cover Image Credit: Whiskey Riff

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The Flint Water Crisis Is Affecting More People Than We Know, Including The Unborn

Flint is not the only city with water pipes contaminated with lead. At 40 weeks pregnant, I have to worry about the lead in my home’s water.

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Many Americans are familiar with the atrocities in Flint, Michigan. Flint received nationwide coverage when it was revealed that residents were being restricted access to clean water and were exposed to water contaminated with lead for many years. After the state discovered the lead, the residents were left with the contaminated water and still have it years later.

I have watched many documentaries on Flint like "Here's to Flint" and "Fahrenheit 11/9." The scenes from the documentaries are haunting and much resemble a war-torn, third world country. I was especially surprised when I received a letter in the mail from Chicago's Department of Water Management. The letter looked like nothing special and had been placed in a pile of junk mail that none of my roommate's wanted to read. I eventually went through the mail and was shocked at what I read. The letter casually says that my home uses a water meter and water meters activate lead in pipes.

It continued to say that most homes in Chicago test under the U.S. EPA's benchmark level for lead in drinking, however, 17.2% percent exceed it.

As a pregnant woman, this is horrifying news. I had been pregnant for months drinking and cooking with contaminated water before reading this letter. Drinking water contaminated with lead has long term effects for the whole family. For example, it affects the brain and nervous system development in children and increases the risks of things like kidney damage and high blood pressure in adults. The CDC itself says that there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood.

I especially remember a scene in "Fahrenheit 11/9" where they talk about the effects lead has on the babies born to pregnant women who consumed it. It can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. There are pregnancy complications like low birth weight, premature delivery, preeclampsia.

Babies whose mother consumed lead water have been reported to have behavioral problems, lower IQs, and learning disabilities.

My own home soon resembled that of a developing country. I had stacks and stacks of water bottles. I have to use these bottles for everything. Just like residents of Flint, I have to brush my teeth with water bottles. I have to go through about five water bottles to boil water to cook. If I am out of water bottles, I just have to wait it out because the alternative is not worth it.

Having to worry about lead in the water is very stressful. Along with all the other stresses of pregnancy, I have to stress about accidentally poisoning my baby. I know that I have to take precautions in my own home, but am unsure where else is contaminated. I don't know where is safe. I don't know who else received the same letter I did, but ignored it as junk mail.

I recently had a house guest stay from another state. He asked why our water had an odd smell. I had to casually tell him not to mind that, it's just the lead in our water. I find it very disheartening that the city, state, and country don't prioritize the health and safety of its pregnant women, babies, or children. It is sincerely unfortunate how things like access to clean drinking water in America are just a luxury.

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