Month of Action : Mid-Point Check In

Having spring break being last week, I hadn’t really thought much about my month of action plan until I arrived back on campus. I attempted to find a farmers market while in Florida, but I found myself not having enough free time to go out and do that. Since returning home, I attempted to go and volunteer at a food pantry located in Lincoln Tower, but they weren’t open Sunday during the hours that the person I contacted said it would be. That was kind of upsetting to run into because I planned for that to be my one action thus far. I ended up writing a letter to Senator Rob Portman about the issue of redlining in Columbus and asking him to take action to incorporate healthy food vendors into walkable distances of these underprivileged cities.

I faced the unexpected challenge of the food pantry not being open, but that’s okay because I plan on reaching out to the organization again and trying to volunteer again this upcoming Sunday. I might possibly need to switch out my action of reaching out to a group on campus to speak in Scholars class because I’m kind of running out of classes to do that and also haven’t passed that idea by Esther or Amanda. I think instead of asking them to come and speak, I will just reach out to them and ask questions about their organization to learn more for myself.

Below is a picture of me writing a letter to my senator!

Month of Action Plan

LIST OF ACTIONS:

  1. Write a letter to my Senators about what can be done about food insecurity in Columbus (active)
  2. Volunteer for a local organization (passive)
  3. Reach out to local organization to speak in Scholars class (active)
  4. Compare data form Columbus area concerning food insecurity and other disparities based on the neighborhood one lives in (passive)
  5. Visit a farmers market and buy some produce, supporting the local food movement (passive)
  6. Look into the issue of redlining more heavily and ask questions to figure out why disparities in food access exist (immersive)
  7. Work at a community garden (passive)
  8. Serve at a food pantry on campus! (OSU Food Fellowship) (passive)
  9. Read research papers and watch documentaries on food insecurity to help better understand the root causes (passive)
  10. Promote awareness to family and friends by using social media as a platform (active)

*italicized and underlined actions are addressing the root cause of my issue 

The five actions I will be selecting to complete during my month of action is:

  • Write a letter to my Senators about what can be done about food insecurity in Columbus (active)
  • Reach out to local organization to speak in Scholars class (active)
  • Visit a farmers market and buy some produce, supporting the local food movement (passive)
  • Promote awareness to family and friends by using social media as a platform (active)
  • Serve at a food pantry on campus! (OSU Food Fellowship) (passive)

Some of the challenges I might face in this month of action is actually visiting a farmers market (finding the time and a means of getting there) could be tricky. I think also managing my time and not waiting until the last week or couple of days to fit all of my actions in. I also think that I might have really wanted to do action #6, but I’m not sure how deep I could go into that without going too far and getting carried away. I think some of my findings could get carried away into other issues, so just focusing on food insecurity and injustice could be hard to stay on.

I hope that I learn the ways that I can really make an impact on this issue, as well as my friends and family can make changes to help out too. I want to really try to understand why this grocery gap exists, and what kinds of policies or changes on the community level are going to be necessary to make a real difference.

 

 

References: 

https://www.bestfoodforward.org

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr5017

Issue Exploration

The issue that I chose to investigate and learn more about this semester is food insecurity and injustice. In my Global Public Health class, we’ve recently been discussing race and how people of color tend to have unequal access to health care and healthy foods, and as a result of that, have poorer health as compared to those with easy access to food and health care.

I think one of the root causes of food injustice in Columbus is the redlining that happened in our city back in the 1930’s. The banks were done giving mortgages to people who couldn’t pay for for their house, resulting in foreclosure.  When the city decided to section off parts of the city that they thought would be good places to offer mortgages to people in- affluent suburbs that were predominately white – it forever changed the ways those neighborhoods would be looked at and what resources they would have access to.

There were four categories that each neighborhood could fit into: Type A (most desirable for mortgages), Type B (still desirable), Type C (declining), or Type D (highest risk). Places like Hilltop, Franklinton, and South Linden are areas on the original map that appeared red. Those are also the places where some people live more than 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store. Many of these people don’t have cars, and many families have children. Say a single mom has no where for her children to go but she needs to go to the grocery store. She can’t ride the bus but has to walk there. She probably won’t end up going to the store to get health nutritious food for her children because it’s just not realistic to walk 10 miles there and 10 miles back. She has no other choice but to find food at the nearest place to her. That food likely won’t have the nutrients that her children need to live long, healthy lives.

Some of the biggest challenges to overcoming the redlining issue is the fact that it’s already been set in stone. These high risk neighborhoods have already been segregated and established, and no one wants to pour money into them to improve them. There are already preconceived notions and feelings that people have towards neighborhoods like South Linden, and in order to even begin thinking about improving them, people need to be thinking of the root causes of why they were even redlined in the first place. This is a historical struggle that will be a difficult one to overcome. The segregation of our city has progressed and led to far greater consequences for the minority groups than one could have even imagined.

With suburbanization came the policies of transportation and housing in the areas. Food retailers had incentives to move out of urban neighborhoods to be able to maintain their businesses, which impacted everyone living in the neighborhood’s ability to buy food.

The little documentary that I found is one from The Ohio State University. It addresses right off the bat that food insecurity isn’t about food, but the access to resources needed to survive. The video made a really good point about talking to the community members to promote self-sufficiency and job creation. This is getting into the root causes of why the neighborhoods are the way that they are. The bias could be from the fact that the man speaking in the video is the President and CEO of the MId-Ohio Food Bank, and so he may only be showing the worst sides of this issue in order to try and evoke our empathy, and not considering other relevant statistics.

The Kirwan Institute at Ohio State is helping the vulnerable youth through a program called My Brother’s Keeper. They seek to help young men of color overcome disparities in the neighborhoods that they were born into and are now growing up in. Another program called, The Children’s Hunger Alliance in Columbus, partners with daycares, schools, and summer programs to provide nutritious foods for children growing up in low income neighborhoods. The issues of food insecurity and racially segregated neighborhoods are very prominent and troublesome in the city in which we live. Hopefully, my actions that I take over the next month will be able to do a little something about that.

 

 

 

https://medium.com/the-block-project/housing-food-deserts-5fb81f6187e4

Redlining

https://statisticalatlas.com/neighborhood/Ohio/Columbus/Greater-Hilltop/Household-Types

https://library.osu.edu/documents/redlining-maps-ohio/maps/Columbus_map.JPG

Children’s Hunger Alliance

Kirwan Institute renews pledge to help vulnerable Columbus youth

Issue Selection

In exploring lot of different majors within ENR, and even moving outside of the school, I discovered the field of Public Health. I’ve really become interested in this field and so I wanted to do something with regards to that. I began to think about health care and allowing everyone access to the care and services that they need, but I couldn’t think of how that fit into the 3 P’s of Sustainability. I’m taking a class this semester called Introduction to Global Public Health and we had recently talked about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. I decided to go look at those in hopes of finding something that would spark my interest and that I’m passionate about.

In looking through the website, I discovered the topic of food insecurity and then I started thinking how I could tie that to public health. I thought about how access to healthy food correlates with chronic diseases. I also thought about the local food movement and its effects on health and local economies. I wanted to try to tie them all together somehow but it all seemed a little too complex with so many different factors. I think that I’m going to focus on the topic of environmental justice in the discrepancy of access and distribution to healthy foods.

This topic hits on all three P’s of sustainability:

Planet: We know that there is more than enough food grown to feed every single person in the world, but the problem is in the distribution of that food. This issue will be discovering the root causes of the ineffective distribution of food.

People: One’s socioeconomic status can greatly influence how close their nearest grocery store is, what types of food options are readily available to them, and how much money they have and are willing to spend on healthier foods.

Profits: The local economy directly benefits form the people who choose to buy locally sourced foods, and they can then invest that money back into helping the community.

SOURCES:

http://thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/grocerygap.original.pdffile:///var/folders/db/ybzdsjgs4391v1pgxz40kf4m0000gn/T/IMG_7097.jpg

https://www.columbus.gov/publichealth/groups/Health-Disparity-and-Health-Equity/

https://www.uua.org/action/statements/ethical-eating-food-environmental-justice

Columbus To Do List : Part 2

Amanda and I ventured out in the wind and rain to go check out one of the coffee shops in the Short North. We took the COTA over to Mission Coffee Co. in hopes of warming up with some good coffee. 

When we first walked in, there were some coffees on display for us to choose from. This coffee shop wasn’t for the faint of heart; you had to know a little bit more about your coffee than than the average coffee drinker. All of the choices were handcrafted coffee grounds. The flavors ranged from cranberry to orange to candy corn! Amanda and I looked at the menu for a pretty long time before pretty much randomly pointing to the menu to choose our drinks.

The atmosphere was really relaxing and cozy. This place appeared be an old garage (much like the last coffee shop I visited on the Columbus To-do List) and the lighting was just super calming. I was joking to Amanda that this would be the perfect place to live in an apartment above the coffee shop, not far from the city, after I graduated. This is the kind of place that I could see myself spending a lot of time in in my 20’s, living and working in the city, while exploring on the weekends or mornings. When we left the coffee shop, we realized that there actually were apartments upstairs!

Over some interesting (but still good) coffee, Amanda and I had a great conversation about life in general and how we were feeling and where we were at in the pursuit of our dreams in coming to college. I really treasure that time that I was able to spend with her and get off of campus for a little while.

I would definitely go back to this coffee shop and recommend this place to a friend, first and foremost as a cozy place to go and study or read a good book. The coffee was good, but you really need to know what kinds of things you like. Most of the coffee is just black, so no super sugary caramel frappachinos here!

I learned that it’s important to take time for yourself in the midst of crazy college schedules, and that it’s not hard at all to just hop on the COTA and explore the things that are in the Short North. Setting aside time for myself and taking care of myself is something that I haven’t been doing very well, so this excursion was ling overdue.

My roommate and I went out to Jenis’ Splendid Ice Cream to see exactly how splendid it was. Being from Columbus, I’ve only had Jeni’s once or twice surprisingly, and I never really thought that I liked it. I’m glad that Alex drug me along with her to use our free coupons, because it was actually really good!

After realizing that you can try as many flavors as you want, and being as indecisive as I am, I finally settled on two flavors after trying just about every one. They were all so creamy and delicious, I couldn’t believe that I thought I didn’t like it! I think since some of the flavors are a little bit odd, I was apprehensive. I settled on the pistachio & honey and the almond brittle.

I really enjoyed Jeni’s and spending quality time with Alex. This is one place that I will definitely go back and would recommend to a friend! I really loved the atmosphere of Jeni’s (although it was really cold in there AND we were eating ice cream so brrrrr) and I’m just really glad Alex convinced me to give this place another try.

Alex and I later went for a run on the Olentangy Trail! We woke up pretty early in the morning to get out a nice workout before our classes, and to see where the trail went.

While on our run, this man came out of the bushes and just began to walk towards campus in the trail. It was so bizarre and we were both cracking up. Definitely a time I will always remember. We ended up running for 1.5 miles and then turning around, but we got to se a lot of the trail! I need to go even further on it when we come back to campus in the spring.

Ansley and I took the COTA down to Goodale Park to walk around for a little bit. On this particular day, it was pretty warm out. We saw a lot of really pretty trees there, and there was also a pond with some ducks! We both wondered if the pond would freeze over during winter and if we could go back and skate on it…

We definitely want to get our whole suite to come out here next spring and have picnic sometime!!

 

Kafe Kerouac is a place that I discovered this summer. My friend and I wanted a good coffee shop near campus to meet at when she came to visit me. When I saw that it was on the list, I was so excited! I went over there with Mallory and I enjoyed my coffee while she enjoyed her tea!

Since Mallory doesn’t live in Morrill, I don’t get to see her a ton outside of class, so this was a really nice chance for us to catch up. Her tea was served in a very strange looking glass, and they gave her so much that she couldn’t even finish it all.

They also had records and books, so we browsed those for a while. I really do love this place, for the atmosphere more so than the coffee, but this is a place that I might just find myself at during finals week, being that it’s open until 1am most days.

My favorite experience was probably getting coffee at Fox in the Snow Cafe and getting to hang out with Bryce 🙂 The coffee shop was just so cute. I learned that Columbus is really so accessible and not that far away from us, and so now I’ll be more willing to get off campus and do fun things. I want to go further into the downtown parts of the city and see what kinds of things there are to do down there. I would recommend to do each activity with a different person because it really lets you get to know them on a deeper level, and it just changes things up a bit. I loved exploring Columbus this semester!

Career Exploration Assignment

This semester has been a lot about figuring about what I’m passionate about and what field I want to pursue a career in. After feeling like maybe the environmental sector isn’t where my passions lay anymore, I began to look into all the majors offered at OSU. I was doing a little digging and I stumbled across Public Health. I really liked what the program had to offer, and the coursework seemed like something that I would really enjoy, as well as the ultimate destination of a job in this field. I also found the RIASEC test while I was exploring the career services website, and took that. I found out that I am RIS. Knowing this information I began to look into career fields that would satisfy my strengths and interests and what I want out of a job.

I found out that many jobs that a public health degree would allow me to pursue were listed for me. Many of the jobs also required medical school, which I haven’t had the most time to even consider, but I feel like a career where I can help people directly in some aspect related to their health and overall wellbeing is what I would like to do. This is quite the shift from wanting to work for the EPA on water quality, which I wanted to do for so long.

Some of the jobs that O*Net recommended for me included Preventative Medical Physician, Immunologists, and Dietitian or Nutritionist. I am happily considering anyone of those, as I think those jobs are very interesting and something that I can see myself loving to do.

As far as my academic plans, this kind of throws a wrench in things. For my classes next semester, I have decided to take a couple pre-requisite courses to be able to apply to the College of Public Health in Autumn of ’18. I am also taking an intro to public health class to kind of get a glimpse into what studies would look like in that aspect.

My next steps are to get immersed into these new classes next semester, continue meeting with my current academic advisor, as well as set up an appointment with an advisor in the College of Public Health to guide me through this transition. The RISEC test was very helpful because I learned that all of the things that I love to do can be compiled into a job for me someday. I love talking to people, I love learning new things, and I want something hands on that is very tangible to work with. I learned that it’s okay to not know exactly what I want to do right now, and luckily I have some time to branch out and experience some different types of classes.

I think that my biggest takeaway from the workshop was how Esther said that you can still have a passion but not necessarily want to pursue a career in that. I can still love and care for the environment but not have a job that directly involved trying to advocate for the environment. I’m excited to see where my college journey takes me!

Columbus To-Do List: Part 1

As far as exploring Columbus, I have decided to pick and choose from different lists and do a variety of activities in the city. Being from Hilliard, OH and living so close to the city, I’ve never really taken advantage of what Columbus has to offer, so I’m most looking forward to getting off campus and exploring the city. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to feel like I belong in the city and that Columbus is truly my home throughout this experience.

Today, my suite mate Bryce and I journeyed out to Fox in the Snow Cafe. We wanted to have a little time to chat away from the busyness of campus and it was such a nice morning to go out and get to just talk about life.

We took the CABS bus from the towers to the Ohio Union to hop on the 1 towards High St. and Starr St. It was actually pretty easy to just get on the COTA bus and get to the coffee shop. I’ll admit, I was really nervous about that because in my experience thus far with that COTA system, it can sometimes be unpredictable. It was a little bit of a walk form the bus stop to the actual coffee shop once we were down in the general area, but neither of us minded it. It was cloudy and a little bit gloomy, but it felt like fall finally! Upon walking into the coffee shop, it was super crowded and there weren’t many places to sit.

I was definitely not expecting the building to be how it was. I expected it to be tucked away in one of the corners of the Short North maybe, but it was a stand alone garage type of building on the corner of 3rd and 4th. It was a really modernized on the inside, and had a lively feel to it. When we went up to order, we saw that there were lots of yummy pastries to choose from. I ended up getting the sticky bun (and I would highly recommend) and Bryce got the blueberry danish.

Choosing what kind of coffee to get wasn’t hard for me because I knew I wanted to get a cappuccino. I’ve had lot of friends go to this coffee shop before since I live around the area, and so I’ve seen pictures of the cute little art in the cappuccino’s and had to get one for myself.

 

We got to just sit and chat and enjoy our coffee together, and so that was a really fun experience for me. I LOVE to try new coffee shops and I LOVE to spend quality on e on one time with my friends, so this made for a pretty great morning.

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who loves a good atmosphere to sit and have coffee and talk. The cappuccino wasn’t my favorite, but the pastry, as I said, was amazing. I would definitely go back, and I hope some of my fellow ENR scholars will give it a try too:)

ENR Mentor Meet-Up!!

I had the chance to meet up with Leah yesterday and talk about her academics, involvement on campus, her experience with ENR scholars and just hear some general advice about settling into college.

Leah shared with me that she is currently pursuing a major in theatre. Although undecided when first coming to OSU last fall, Leah has been pursuing studies in theatre, someday hoping to pursue stage management as a “side hustle.” She also mentioned the possibility of wanting to drop theatre down to a minor and take on FFW or EPDM as a major. She told me about how taking calculus was the most challenging thing for her class wise coming to college. She loves to study in the big room with all the windows in Thompson because of all the natural lighting, but room would have to be her favorite study spot.

As far as involvement around campus goes, she’s not currently involved in any clubs. She does like to go to the yoga classes and other fitness classes offered at the RPAC and North Recreation Center. She had tried out the Art of Living Meditation Club for a little while, but quickly realized that wasn’t her thing. She does, however, participate in volunteer work form time to time. It’s mostly events through ENR Scholars and with the orginazation, FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed). She also worked last summer for one of her professors, helping him write a book. The topic focused on religion and environmental values in America, and so she really enjoyed the time she spent working on that.

For Leah, being involved on ENR Scholars gave her the foundation she needed coming into college. It has provided her with a network of people that give her connections to the School of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as just allowing her to have a group of people from which her closest friends are found. She wanted to specifically be a mentor for the program because she wanted to be involved in the lives of the incoming freshmen. She also mentioned wanting to be a better mentor and be more involved than her mentor was her first year. This is also a really great way for her to stay involved in the scholars group, being a second year. Leah has been exposed to many types of outdoor recreation that she had never before experienced, like slacklining. She also enjoys camping, and going on the upcoming backpacking trip to Dolly Sods, West Virginia.

The advice that Leah gave to me was that you really get out of ENR scholars what you put into it. She told me that my involvement depends on how heavily involved I want to be. Since there are so many events, she advised me to go to the ones that really interest me. This group is also a really valuable community to be able to build that framework in to be able to be successful in pursuing my degree and my endeavors after college.

After college, Leah plans to “roll up her diploma and throw it at a wall. Just kidding- well kind of.”  She really wants to work somewhere in the wildlife sector, either with endangered species conservation or preservation. She also really loves sharks, so maybe something involving marine wildlife. She hopes to be able to stage manage as a side job as well. Her dream job would be to work in the wildlife biology field and be up close and personal with wildlife, preferably sharks because they are just so cute!

From having this conversation with Leah, I learned that being a part of this program has already equipped me with tools that I can use for my success in college. There are so many programs at my fingertips to expose me to new things, and it’s up to me to take hold of this opportunities.  I learned that time management is hard to figure out, and that I may never fully figure it out, but that it will get better with time. She taught me that it’s okay not to know exactly what I want to do at this very moment in time. She said that she wished someone had told her that “you’re not behind!” I realized that it’s okay not to have an internship, or be involved in research, or to strictly follow my 2 year plan right now. Coming to college and learning how to adjust to all the changes, emotionally, mentally, and physically is something that will get easier the more experienced I have.

Leah left me with a final piece of advice, and I wrote it down because I could really connect with it. She said, “Life is weird. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, life throws you a curveball and you’re forced out of your comfort zone and you’ve just got to pick yourself up and deal with in. In these times of hardship, you will learn new things: things about yourself, things about what you are passionate about. Your idea of that life is is going to be shattered like a million times and you have to constantly be shifting your thinking to be able to adapt and go on with life.” I really appreciate the time I was able to spend with my mentor and I can’t wait to see what amazing adventures we embark on together!

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]