Farmers Market

I volunteer at MUSC on Mondays and Fridays under the 4C Program (Collabortive Care for Children and Families). Some days, depending on how many appointments the practice has scheduled, I just sit in a cubicle doing my homework or making phone calls. If it’s a busier day, I will do a childcare, make copies, run errands, or do a transport (taking patients to and from their appointment). On one of my busier days I was walking to the NCVC (National Crime Victim Center) and I passed by the MUSC library. In the front of the library was a little farmers market. I had a few minutes, so I took a stroll through to see what they had to offer.

Since it’s Spring there were an abundance of Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Spinach and Strawberries. At the time, I didn’t have my wallet on me or I definitely would have bought some apples and strawberries. This farmers market was rather small, but it is a great spot and very centrally located for all of the employees and students of MUSC.

Farmers markets are the best way to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables that are grown healthily and sustainably. In class we watched Food Inc. and discoverd the truths behind the industrial farming industry. First, that it is a very monopolized industry and that we are made to believe that we are offered a lot of variety, when in all honesty all of our food comes from 3 or 4 different industrial farms. We also learned that industrial farms use a lot of pesticides that aren’t particularly good for us and the environment. Buying from a farmers market gives us more of a choice and a say of what goes into our food. Farmers markets also only offer foods that are in season and it is important to try to stick with foods that are in season because they utilize less pesticides to grow and use less fuel to transport to grocery stores. Also they are a great way to fund and encourage local small business farmers.

I wish farmers markets were more common since they are so beneficial to our health and the environment. I believe farmers markets are not as common as they should be because their benefits aren’t really known. I think it is so important for communitys to realize the importance of things like farmers markets as well as eating whole fruits and vegetables. We learned from one of our guest speakers how important fruits and vegetables are for our health for a number of reasons. And farmers markets are a great way for us to incorporate plenty of healthy and sustainable whole fruits and vegetables into our diets. 

Food Inc.

This documentary was extremely eye-opening! The overall documentary was about the Food System and the things that are “hidden” from us (regular society), and that these things that are swept under the rug or misconstrude are effecting our health dramatically. It also explains how the Food System is in fact a huge system that is corrupted with government lobbying and subsidies. The main takeaway that I got from the film is that America is more concerned with revenue than its peoples well-being. I’ve seen this hold true before in other situations other than the Food System, like our Medical and Insurance System. Before the Affordable Care Act, people were turned away from insurance companies and were left either to die or go completely bankrupt from medical bills. The ACA has helped with this issue, but Americans are still going bankrupt from medical bills while this is not the case in other countries and their people are way healthier.

The documentary begins with showing the truth behind where our food comes from, and how this pretty picture of a farm is no where near what farms look like nowadays. Now our food comes from Industrial Farms, which are basically assembly lines where food is produced quickly and cheap. As we are walking down the isles we would like to think that we have so many options to choose from when in reality the industry is monopolized by 4 big indsutry farm companies. The meat is the same quality meat as fast food restuarants being that these restaurants are the biggest buyers from industry farm companies. The animals in these farms never see the light of day and are kept in small unsanitary conditions putting our food and the workers who work there at risk for disease.

The documentary goes on to discuss how we regulary genetically modify the meat and produce that we consume. Chickens grow way larger now making them less healthy for consumption but cheaper. Also corn is so cheap in the states that we use it for EVERYTHING. We feed it to our livestock and make it in to sugar and other products so that they can be cheaper. Most produce that is out of season but are being sold year round in grocery stores are genetically modified. A major issue with feeding cows corn is that they can not digest it properly causing a disease known as E. Coli. Many have lost their lives due to this sickness and there has even been a movement to pass a law restricting cows from being fed corn (Kevins Law), but it has not passed.

Then the question becomes why don’t our legislators do something about this? How come nothing changes? And the answer is lobbying. These large food companies have a lot of say in what passes and what doesn’t when it comes to food restrictions and laws, because they are essentially paying the legislators. Another reason is that many of our legislators also serve on the boards for these large food companies or organizations like the FDA.

Overall this film was very informative yet also kind of discouraging. Peronally, I feel like not many people are aware of these issues and this is what needs to be told in order for a change to take place.

Texas Flood: Pollution Levels Before and After Hurricane Harvey

This article is about a research study done to measure the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons before and after Hurricane Harvey. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH’s come about after a large buring of substances and can cause cancer, eye, kidney and liver problems. PAH’s are normally found in an area within Houston called Manchester. Manchester is located near many refineries and industrial sites – where a lot of these pollutants would be given off. Manchester is interesting to this dilemma because it is a predominantly latino neighborhood, and, therefore, face disproportionate health risks due to these hazards.

What the researchers found was that, due to all the major flooding that took place during and after Hurricane Harvey, these pollutants were displaced according to where they would normally be found. Or rather from places of higher concentration before the storm to lower concentration after the storm and vice versa.

This study is important because it represents a somewhat new area of research in the public health field. Due to climate change we are seeing a rise in “super storms” or natural disasters with extra strength. Public health officials want to be better at predicting the impact of these storms so that they can be more efficient when it comes to relief or preparing for these storms.

This news story is relevant to our class because we have discussed environmental justice and disparities as well as climate change, while we will soon discuss pollution and its effects. This is also very relevant to my major being that I am a public health major. This study is rather small and looks a one specific pollutant, but more importantly this new area of disaster preparedness and relief study specifically for superstorms is very important to the field. And eventhough this aritlce does not make any broad assumption it contributes to Houston and their situation which will have to be done for eventually for each community and each type of natural disaster in order to be accuartely prepared.

The authors intended audience is most likely Houston and other Public Health officials in order to inform the citizens and inspire officials for further study. The main researcher in this study was a Professor from Texas A&M, Jennifer Horney. She is an associate professor as well as the head of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Horney most likely has compassion for her community so she was interested in doing her part by conducting the research. She is also in the Public Health field of epidemiology and maybe noticed a rise in cancer, eye, kidney and liver problems and wanted to trace it to the source of the issue and came across the PAH’s.

Halsey Institute: Sea Change – The Tide is High

After grabbing lunch one day, I wandered into the Halsey Institute. I am a junior at the College, this is my first year here in Charleston because I transferred from USC, but it was the first time I had ever been in the Art exhibit. I was honestly just trying to avoid doing homework when I walked in, but I was never expecting the impressive creations that I just so happened to find…

First, I was met with magnificent art created by my peers. As I strolled, I was dumbfounded with how talented some people are and quite envious of their abilities. I briefly daydreamed of being an art major and had a “the grass is greener on the other side” moment, assuming that all art majors do is theraputic coloring and there must not be any papers or studying, but I recognized my ignorance and quickly snapped out of it, especially given my lack of ability. It was a nice thought for a moment.

Second, I found myself walking into this other room off to the side that was being monitored by someone at a desk and thought I must be coming on to something important. Then, beholden right in front of me, and frankly above and all around me was this large intricate, abstract, lightly lit fixture surrounding me. It was instantly soothing. Captivated by its originality, I read the description and found that it was created by Aurora Robson and created out of plastic debris. The title, “The Tide is High.” I thought how could this possibly be considered debris? She clearly did an incredible job making an eyesore into highly celebrated piece of artwork.

After I continued through the exhibit, I started to learn more about the theme encompassing Robson’s work as well as the cause. Robson is a NY based sculptor that explores ecological issues. Her work typically resembles other worldly organisms found in the depths of the sea which is where this “debris” will most likely end up. Her art is aimed at guiding viewers thoughts and ideas on their trash and where it goes in addition to its consequences. I also read that this piece was co-presented by the SC Aquarium and that Robson did a project with College of Charleston students to collect waste on a local beach clean up that will be used to make works of art. What an awesome opportunity! The artsist has another piece called Wave that is presented at the SC Aquarium.

Included in the Halsey Institute Sea Change exhibit were other art works made out of recycled trash or photos that interestling depicted our impact on the planet. Everytime I see something of this nature (no pun intended) I am overcome with feelings of guilt and stress. We all contribute to these issue, keyword: all, and it is near impossible to change that many habitual behaviors. I learned in an intro Public Health class that knowledge alone is not sufficient enough to change behaviors, we have to be motivated, and I am sure a large amout of us are, but these are such complex (wicked) problems – cue the stress – so how do we even begin to solve them? We need a major change in emotions, thought process, and behaviors  in order to rectify or heal the damage we have done to our home. It is safe the exhibit (Sea Change) accomplished their task, at least with me anyway.

Reference: AURORA ROBSON – THE TIDE IS HIGH. (2017, November 01). Retrieved February 07, 2018, from