Genetically Modified Food

I imagined Governor’s School would be an opportunity to learn how organic farming is the future of agriculture. At home, my teachers always advised me to go Organic to benefit our health, so my family did. We drank overpriced organic milk and ate Non-Genetically Modified (Non-GM) corn from Giant. I hoped that my research project would relate to how beneficial Non-GM food is to food health. Let’s just say that I was quite surprised when my prompt asked whether GM crops are a solution to promote global food security and alleviate hunger. 

My group wanted to write on how GM was better than non-GM, which made me question the accuracy of my original viewpoint. When I used to purchase non-GM food, I believed that because non-GM food was more expensive, it was higher quality than cheaper GM foods. However, this is simply not the case; the reason why non-GMO foods are more expensive is that there are higher expenses associated with producing organic crops. Another misconception I believed is that GM crops are not as nutritious because they are artificially created. Again, this is not true. Certain GM crops are actually engineered to contain more nutritious benefits. For example, golden rice is a GM crop developed to have high concentrations of provitamin A which can reduce deficiencies of vitamin A in Asian and African communities that often lack this essential nutrient.

Many people tend to stay away from GM foods due to the media. Unfortunately, the media is not educated enough to give the public the whole unbiased truth about GM crops. That is why it is important for us to read scholarly articles in order to get the most informative lense on our food.


Learning New Concepts

This week we started our elective courses, and I selected equine. Honestly, I did not really know anything about horses, and the idea of being near them was a little bit frightening for me, but I was also excited at the opportunity to learn more about them and be around them. When I got to the equine center, I was really drowsy. I hopped out of the van and dragged my feet over to the stables, and that was when I was jolted awake.

There, in front of me was a magnificent horse. I never realized how big they were until I had one right in front of me. I slowly stretched out my hand and began to pet it gently. Then, Natalie, the equine center manager, began to tell us all about raising baby horses. She explained the vast terminology associated with horses and the equine industry, such as foal, stallion, and more. We spent a while at the equine center, and when we had to leave I was sad but excited to come back the next day.

My experience with the horses reminded me of one of the experiences I had in my Biology class this past year. When I walked into the class for the first time, I was a little scared but also excited to learn new information. Learning about new concepts in biology was challenging for me, and learning about horses was the same way. It was very valuable for me to learn about the equine industry, and this knowledge will carry over into other parts of my life. I enjoyed learning about this aspect of the agriculture industry.


Spreading the Word About Food Insecurity

Food insecurity in colleges wasn’t something I had thought about much (well, honestly, at all) before my time here. But as I went through a lecture on it yesterday and went to “The Market” today, I was able to realize how severe the issue was and what I could do to solve this problem. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting to see when I arrived at the market, which is the only provisional food pantry set up within campus, but what I saw sure did surprise me. Like many of my friends, the abundance of fresh and healthy food there shocked me. In hindsight, I now see how these preconceptions and biases that we had around food pantries and those in need of these facilities create social stigma and prevent them from accomplishing their goals. In fact, one of the most important lessons that I learned during my time at the market packing pasta, fruit, beans, tomatoes, cereal, bagels, and so much more is that fighting against norms associated with food banks and pantries is crucial for solving food insecurity. After all the food was organized in paper bags, Kas asked us what we could do in our own communities to further efforts like the market of VT locally, and I really didn’t have an answer, which made me ashamed quite a bit. Well, I’m proud to say that I’m now part of our neighborhood food drive program organized by one of my friends. What I learned today was truly enlightening, and I hope I’ll be able to spread the word just like Kas did one day.


Helping Those in Need

Working with Kas Church and her associate to pack bags for their food pickup was the highlight of my day. I packed bags of dry foods for students with others from my food security group, and with our teamwork packing went by very quickly. Kas talked about how it would be better to open a kitchen so the students could choose their own food instead of having it chosen for them. Which would give them a sense of individuality and help soothe the stigma of asking for help with food. We also talked about food waste which is a major problem in the US and it made me think about how much food I throw away instead of eating and the food I see others throwing away. I’m glad that colleges are doing something to help the students who really need it instead of ignoring the problem. Talking about food insecurity on college campus’ was very enlightening and it has inspired me to look into programs at my hometown and ways to help others deal with food insecurity. This realization would not have happened without going to the Governor’s School for Agriculture, helping Kas, and learning about food insecurity. Thank you.