Guest Post – Grace from U of Wisconsin

August 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm

This summer I had the good fortune of meeting college student Grace Boblick.  She shared with me her new found enthusiasm for local food.  She wants to be involved.  She’s agreed to share some of her passions on the Local Beet.  Please extend a warm welcome to her and her guest post below.  We look forward to hearing more from Grace as she brings the Beet to the campus.

Grace Boblick

When I graduated from high school, my knowledge of the environment consisted of only what Al Gore had told America about global warming in his popular film, The Inconvenient Truth.  I cared about the environment to a certain extent.  I did the basics.  I recycled and tried to drive a little less but for me, environmentalism equated to tree huggers and people who wanted to save the polar bears.  I love both trees and polar bears but the environment was not something where I found passion.  That was until my first year at the University of Wisconsin.

I enrolled in a class entitled Environmental Studies from a Social Perspective.  I needed another class to fill my schedule, and I thought it sounded  interesting.  It turned out to be one of my favorite classes.  The professor was great and truly opened my eyes to how many different areas the environment connects us.  We learned about all the many social issues that are affected by how we treat our environment.  I followed this class with a few others, one being a rural sociology class.  It was in this class that I started to learn more about the food we eat and the many issues facing farmers around the U.S. and the world.  One of my instructors at Wisconsin actually owned a farm and we, as a class, got to go and work on it. I, like so many others, had a very wrong perception of what farming was all about.  Having grown up in an urban environment, farming was not on my radar.  I quickly learned about the issues of industrial farming and how what we are eating may not be the best.  We watched this great documentary King Corn (I recommend it).  I left the class a changed person.  I instantly realized how screwed up our food system is, and that the food we are eating is immensely processed.  It can hardly be considered food at all.  I instantly became a fan of Michael Pollan.

Around this same time I became more aware of the many environmental issues around the world.  I could see that our own country was going through some major changes.  The election season had arrived and the U of W campus was booming.  Politically and socially, it was one of the most exciting times our country had seen and one of the major issues was the environment.  What seemed to be a topic in the dark before for me now became one of the most talked about issues.  Everywhere I went people were discussing the environment and what to do.  A popular topic that seemed to get a lot of attention was the American diet and the discussion of where our foods come from.  All I kept hearing was to “eat local”.  It has been so exciting to be on a college campus that is so involved with these issues.  I am able to witness students getting involved and being active.  I am learning so much from my peers.  In the last environmental class I took, I think I left with the most important message and that was to stay positive and look for solutions.  So many times environmentalism is coupled with having a negative spin, an “end of the world” attitude, but that negativity is not the most constructive way to succeed in making changes.  It is important to do your best in making changes and knowing no matter how old or young you are, how big or small your contribution, each effort is crucial.  It is easy to feel useless when the problems are so large and continuously occurring but being at Madison has given me a great amount of hope for our future.