Sustainability

Health, environment improved by eating local

Last fall, several members of EcoLogic, RPI’s oldest environmental club, went apple picking. Not only was this event fun, but it allowed the attendees to support local farms. Since we picked the apples ourselves we did not have to pay as much as we would have had we bought them at the supermarket. It was a win-win situation.

Food is a complicated issue. It may seem simple—food is everywhere. Not only do restaurants, grocery stores, and fast food places serve ready-to-eat food, but nearly every other place you can think of has food. The problem is not all of this food is healthy. Food, especially unhealthy food, is cheap. Many foods come from hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Fossil fuels power the vehicles that transport the food from the grower to the store. Buying local fresh produce is a great way to solve both of those problems. Picking apples is also more strenuous than picking one up from the store; we probably burned quite a few more calories.

Maybe all this sounds dreary. Honestly, you don’t have to know why picking apples is better for the environment or the community. Going apple picking with a group of friends is fun. For us last fall, we found adventure even in the difficulty of obtaining transportation (many possible drivers were unable to come). We posed for pictures with apples, each other, and even with a little piece of corn that someone found. I would never have known what great models some of my fellow club members make.

If you’d like to go apple picking with us this year, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at andere6@rpi.edu. There are many other things you can do for both personal and environmental health, though. The Farmers Market in Troy is every Saturday. Prices are really not bad, especially for the quality of produce and other goods that you can find. This food is much tastier than that in the dining halls.

Regardless of your other interests, if it’s important to you to have environmental sustainability in your community or your own life, check out RPI’s environmental clubs! The Rensselaer Activities Fair is on Thursday from 6–9 pm. It’s time for another year of expanding interests and getting involved.

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