On Wednesday February 3, the Green Campus Initiative and the Student Environmental Association presented the Oscar-nominated film “Food Inc.” in the lower level of the Barone Campus Center, and hosted a panel discussion the following night, February 2, on the topic. The impact of the food industry and the positive aspects of sustainable and local food practices were discussed.
The panel included:
- Alex Gross ’09, an environmental reporter who has worked extensively on a farm
- Scott Lacey, associate professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Fairfield University
- Jennifer Klug, associate professor of Biology at Fairfield University
- Maggie O’Donnell ’11, who works with Sodexho to improve dining choices at Fairfield
The panel educated the small audience on the importance of consuming local foods, eating organically, and the lowering quality of food in America as a result of genetically engineered foods and company consolidation.
Although it may feel like consumers don’t have much control over the declining quality of food, Anthropology Professor Scott Lacey assured students with his positive outlook. “As a society, we are always a little skeptical of ‘The Man’ – the ones with money,” said Lacey. “Don’t buy the hype from the media that we aren’t doing well or making changes. We should always be motivated by the progress we’ve made. Consumers have had an influence on the food system. Just look at all the choices you now have at Stop and Shop.”
In terms of what the Fairfield community can do to “go green” as individuals, the panel suggested one of the most important things to do is only eat meat once a week. Most of us eat more meat than is healthy for us anyway. By limiting our meat intake, we can cut down on green house gas emissions and lessen our carbon imprint. We can also shop for food at local farmer’s markets, where food is organic. For more information on finding farmer’s markets near you, visit www.localharvest.org.
Overall, the panel discussion was small and intimate but incredibly informative. In particular, Professor Lacey’s enthusiasm was contagious. Despite the exhaustive amount of times we have been reminded to be informed consumers by the media, Lacey reminds people it’s important not to have that “holier than thou” attitude if you want to make a change.
“Look for ways to engage people,” Lacey encouraged. “Don’t shame people for what they eat because no one up here is perfect. Look at your own values, and then go from there.”
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