Sustainable Agriculture in Urban and Suburban Environments

There is a disconnect between the producer and the consumers in capitalized societies. This is especially true in the agricultural world. Once something that was central to the survival of humanity, agriculture has now been pushed out into rural communities, industrialized, or shipped overseas. However, there are many issues that can be related to this capitalization of the farming industry.

The most important issue that needs to be addressed is the desertification of inner city communities in regards to fresh produce. In fact, the Economic Research Service of the Department of Agriculture notes that 2.2% of Americans do not have a car and live a mile or more away from a supermarket. This lack of transportation and access to affordable healthy foods lead to childhood and adult obesity. The issue itself is being addressed at the governmental scale in Ohio.  The Cuyahoga Community Health Department chose one of their top initiatives as “Creating healthy food opportunities in areas of the county that are food insecure.”

While the actions being presented are amazing and should continue, this does not address the full problem in which I wish to understand. That problem is, how can one produce an environment, individually, that benefits their metal health, physical health, and reaps some sort of gain for the community.

To me, the answer has always been sustainable agriculture.

One of the root causes involving the lack of initiative in these food desert environments is lack of education on agriculture along with a lack of income. In many of these areas, the reason there are little to no shopping options is due entirely on the lack of income in the population. Furthermore, a lack of income stunts any willpower to go through with ideas such as urban farming to gardening in the backyard.

However, willpower and other mental health traits only increase when agriculture is introduced to a community. For example, the Community Food Centers noted an increase in social capital, improved use of leisure time, decrease in stress, increase in physical activity and consumption of fresh foods, and increased security in communities. Gardening has also become a largely therapeutic method in the mental health field and addiction recovery programs.

In regards to education, I hope to expand on the idea and promote growth in communities via the STEP program. During this time, I hope to bring agricultural education to inner city children and create a garden in which they are able to learn hands on.

Communal sustainable gardening follows the triple bottom line perfectly. Individuals in the community are brought together by a shared interest, the environment is made as healthy as possible to ensure plant growth, and finally the economic interests of individuals would be seen in the increase of fresh produce consumed in a once deserted community.

I have chosen this activity as I am deeply affected by food deserts and I am extremely passionate about food deserts.

Photos from UpCycle Farm- An Urban Farm I worked on


Works cited:

Food Deserts

Cuyahoga County Projects

Mental Health Benefits of Community Gardening 


Columbus To Do List Part 2

It has been crazy how fast the semester has flown by. One minute I thought it would never end, and now, well now it is almost over.

I cannot say I am too sad about the semester being done. My stress has been through the roof the past couple of weeks trying to balance all of my classes and my own well being. Of course, classes always won. I think that is why I am still battling this cold I have had for the long month of November. It was only when I went home to relax that I got some of it out of my system. But here it is back again.

Despite the aches and the runny noses, the Columbus To Do list was still an important project that needed to be done. Of course, I put it off. In case no one has shared their secret, procrastination is a college student’s unhealthy best friend.

Rewind to a few months back, when I had first stated that I had wanted to pull from the various lists, I was filled with an overwhelming excitement. The feeling floated with me when I explored new places. Maintaining such a feeling became difficult however when I came home to a workload bigger than my five foot frame.

However, the work has been done over the remaining months up to the turn in date and I would not swap these experiences with any other.

Rocket Fizz

Walking into Rocket Fizz was just like walking into the Sweetie’s back home and while my best friend does not read my blog posts, even she would agree I make terrible decisions at Sweetie’s.

Lucky for her (and me) I am a broke college student.

Tapping against the hardwood floor, I was worried there would be a moment in which it would fall beneath my suite mates and me. It seemed to bend at the slightest touch. But, there was candy and sodas so if I were to fall, I reasoned, I would be compensated adequately.

It was quiet in the room despite the music that played in the background.  I had no idea what to think of the area itself. The lady behind the counter seemed tired and I took in the energy, slowing down as I admired the international candy at the front of the store. My roommates admired the building as well.

It was smaller, a lot smaller than that of other stores I had been in. But on High Street, most of the buildings had a minimalist feel to them. This contrasted greatly to some of the super stores that surround the campus. The ones that carried hygiene and candy and movies seemingly all in the same row. Rather, as the city transformed to the Short North, there was a specificity in each store that could be associated with integrity and pride.

There is something innocent about candy shops that made us all smile. I tried hard to pronounce the Japanese names, and was later distracted by the finger puppets that made a cow. I am a child.

It took us awhile to take the entire area in, despite its small stature. I listened as my suite mates laughed and I could not help but enjoy their company. It made the entire time feel more meaningful.

Overall, I would go back to the store. Not because I am an addict for candy, and if I were I prefer to buy it in bulk, but because it is a happy place to lose yourself in. It is a moment of relaxation and a time to remain in thought. Having good friends and a people to share it with only makes it better. I would go back to Rocket Fizz again.


I had never gone to COSI. As a science nerd it was a dream to walk the vast building. It certainly lived up to the hype.

I went with my family on Buckeye Family Night. My mom, dad, and little brother all came down to visit me.  I was thrilled. After touring the football field, I was excited to leave campus to enjoy a day of learning with my  family. I especially enjoy learning about science with my little brother, Brendan. I hope to push him to enjoy learning just as I had with my other little brother Matt. Sadly he could not come out to visit as he had try outs for basketball. But, the thought of him remained in my heart as I sent ugly selfies of myself to him.

The building itself was huge, far bigger than I imagined. Walking into the doors, my family and I were greeted to a giant pendulum. While I pointed excitedly, my brother determined it to be boring and continued on his way.

As an avid coffee lover and chemistry nerd, my biggest joy was seeing a cafe called Atomic Cafe. I turned to my mom and she smiled and asked for my picture in front of it. To her, it was another sign I was making the right choice in my educational career.

My family and I decided to go into the interactive chemistry show COSI had offered. Of course, my brother offered me as a volunteer. I will admit that while it was fun, it was also terrible.

Having all the attention on me made my face as red as a tomato and yet my brother cheered and laughed for me like no other.  I would rather be embarrassed than miss that wonderful sound.

After the show, more exploration was done. We saw the engineering room, the room on human bodies, and a beautiful replication of old towns in America.

I loved it all.

After a long day, my mother and I went to get coffee. As we stood in line, I saw Brietta, Maggie, Kayla, and Catherine. It was another nice surprise.

Before we left, my brother saw Brutus and I was excited to get his picture. His smile made my night.

I would go back to COSI and I certainly plan to. It was an amazing experience and having my family by my side made it all the more enjoyable.

Kittie’s CakesPistacia Vera, and The Book Loft

For the remainder of my list, I was able to spend the day in German Village with my roommates Kayla, Brietta, and Maggie. The bus ride was crowded and the overwhelming smell of cigarette filled my lungs. Feeling the cool air as I stepped off the bus was a relief.

I had gone to German Village before with my best friend. However, it was boring in the sense that a lot of the stores had closed early. When we first arrived, I worried something similar would occur. But, we were there at a perfect time.

The streets were open, the traffic was nonexistent, and the lines were minimal. It was a change of pace from that of campus.

I kinda liked it.

For a moment I could breathe and relax as I walked alongside my favorite people. We entered Kittie’s Cakes, which was near the bus stop, and were greeted by a warm but tired cashier. The bakery was almost nonexistent, but that did not stop our excitement.

I bought a smores cupcake. The top was marshmallow fluff turned brown with the gentle addition of flames. The bottom contained a still soft crust. I enjoyed the sweet treat as we walked to Pistacia Vera.  While not initially planned, Maggie’s want for hot cocoa led us there.

When we entered, I was swept off my feet. The French influence was beautifully implemented and the people inside were friendly. I immediately smiled when I realized this was where my best friend bought the desserts that she sent to me via some app she uses. I sent her a picture.

I bought a croissant and black coffee and Maggie got her hot cocoa. I was excited to sit down. For an hour we talked and enjoyed each other’s company. Brietta caved and got a chocolate macron. Considering that she ate it all, I knew she liked it.

As I sipped at my coffee, we watched dogs pass by. It was a slow day outside but even the dogs seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and walked by their owner’s side. As the sun set I felt myself melt in my surroundings.

After we finished our drinks and snacks, we walked to the Book Loft, which boasted 32 rooms dedicated to various genres. Again I melted.

The old book smell permeated the room and I walked in wanderlust. Each room led to more and after awhile, I was alone surrounded by classics. After picking up a book I was searching for, I checked out and searched for the others. The task proved to be difficult given how vast and sectioned the store was. When I found Kayla, we decided to wait at the front for the other two.

The sky outside was dark when we were done.

It was an amazing time and I would love to go back with them. Out of all of my experiences, this was my favorite. It was a moment in which I learned that Columbus was not all hustle. Rather, it was a place in which friendships strengthened, relaxing was encouraged, and curiosity grew.


At Kittie’s
Pistacia Vera with the fam
Off to the bookstore!
Bookstore cont.

Some might have explored more during this experience. But for me, it was nice exploring what I had given the time constraints. Sadly, I was too busy to explore Columbus more regularly. But my experiences were lighthearted and meaningful to me. I would rather have this quality over the quantity of traveling more.

Given my experiences now, I would offer to someone who wished to do this to go with people they love. It makes the entire thing more enjoyable and meaningful. I would also recommend going sooner rather than later. But time can be hard to work with without an imposing deadline. So, if you are like me, live on the edge and do it all last minute.

Career Exploration

Nothing is more stressful to me than talking about my future. I mean, I barely know what I want to do for the day, let alone ten years from now. When I think of my future self, I see her as old and slow. Maybe she will be wiser, but I would rather live in the now than worry about the aging cellular processes my body goes through everyday. One might think it is a fear of mortality, but I disagree. Rather, it is a fear of not being able to accomplish what I want in the short time I have on this earth.

When I was young, I wanted to be a scientist. The word itself glittered and I pictured my young frame in a long lab coat, working diligently over test tubes of fun colored liquids. It is crazy to see how little has changed. For me, it was never about the title but rather what I could do and discover with the education and tools present. That is still very important now.

As I continue my education as a major in chemistry and with minors in sustainable agriculture and physics, I realize how set and determined I am to graduate and follow my goals. In fact, I would go as far to say that I am implementing my goals in my career planning model. My major and minors revolve around what I want to research once I am out of college. I have the goal to understand herbicide’s and pesticide’s chemical structures and figure out how to make them more environmentally friendly. I also know that I wish to go back to school to study biochemsitry so I can further research into GMO’s and and create sustainable seeds for third world countries. First, I must finish my education. But I am hoping to intern at a scientific company and learn hands on what school cannot teach me. I just have to remind myself to take it all one day at a time.

The website provided did recommend that for my personality, IRA, biochemistry was a good field to work in. It was a cool discovery, however I try hard not to put too much merit into these kinds of tests. After all, who will know what I love better than me.

That is not to say I came out of the experience learning nothing. I learned how fluid passion can be and I listened to the struggles of my friends who did not know exactly what they wanted to do. I am surprisingly fortunate to be given the opportunities and education that allowed me to decide how I wanted my life to go. However, I am amazed by my friends and everything that they want to discover and research. I believe that there is no reason for them to limit themselves and I know they will find something that makes them happy.

As for me, I discovered the stress that is accompanied by looking at the future. But I do not think it is a bad thing. Instead I see it as an obstacle that can be overcome through hard work and determination. I will achieve my goals, I will continue to work hard, and I will be happy. If a new passion comes my way, I will be happy to chase it. This is the only life I have after all.

Columbus To Do List Part One

Columbus is a large city, almost too large. I had never really thought about it until I looked at the Columbus To Do List. I had gotten so comfortable with the campus that Ohio State seemed to shrink in size.

The list reminded me just how expansive and opportunistic the city really was.

When we were told about the assignment originally, I wondered what list I would choose. I decided that I would simply pick places at random off the various lists that interested me. I did ponder the idea of doing only coffee shops for a bit, but realized my poor heart nor my wallet could handle that amount of caffeine. Anyways, mixing up the lists meant I had six reasons to leave campus rather than five.

Already I have gone out to a place on the list with my friends. During a hot “fall” day, my floor and I went to Graeter’s ice cream to explore off campus.

Getting to the store was an adventure in itself. We missed the first bus to take us there, we were uncertain where to stop, and we found ourselves walking for quite some time. My favorite moment of the trip was when we all passed a little girl’s kool-aid stand. All of us purchased a cup and I stepped aside to talk to the girl’s mother about how to style short hair. I wasn’t sure why she trusted me, I even said I don’t deal with hair. That’s why it’s all cut off.

The setting of Graeter’s itself was bland. A busy street overlooked the small building, and I felt slightly underwhelmed. Walking inside the building, I realized how hot I truly was as the air conditioning blew on my back. Inside was homely, albeit cramped, as we all stood side by side in the line. I was excited for ice cream.

I watched the room quietly and saw a young girl with her grandmother. It made me think of when my grandma took my brothers and me out for ice cream and I could not help but smile. It is the little things that make these experiences great.

When I reached the front of the line, I ordered a chocolate chocolate chip ice cream cone.

Maggie, Brietta and I went outside and sat in the shade of a tree. I absorbed the industrialized landscape and after awhile found myself lost in thought.

I suppose the experience overall was positive, the ice cream was good and my company was better. I certainly would recommend it to my friend’s when they come to visit. However, I am excited over the fact that I have so much exploration to do. That thought alone overshadows the experience of the ice cream shop.

Exploring is what I am most excited about and I am grateful to have the opportunity to call this project “homework.” I hope to find new areas to go to when I am feeling overwhelmed with classwork and with the bustle of campus. If there is one thing I have learned, Ohio State was not made with introverts in mind. I cannot wait to find an area off campus I could call my own and have a few moments to think to myself.

However, I think I am most excited to be touched by the little experiences people share when they are out in public.  I am excited to hold the door open and smile to strangers, to have a casual conversation while looking out the window of a coffee shop, or even enjoying the presence of people who also enjoy the beauty of nature.

It is not so much the location I am excited about but rather the experience and I cannot wait to truly get started.

My favorite buddies posing with some yummy ice cream


Mentor Meeting

It was a gloomy day when Animesh and I met. It still is a gloomy day, we did meet today after all. Looking out my window, I was surprised at how wet the Earth had become. Living in Morrill is like living in a vacuum. There is no sign of the outside world other than the prison like window in the bedroom. When I saw the rain pouring gently, I immediately felt more tired. But I continued to button up my flannel and headed down to meet with him.

He sat by the study rooms and I was excited but nervous to start. Talking is not always my forte. But, I did have a nice list to read off of.

Sitting down beside him, I decided to jump right in. Reading off the list, I said quietly, “How did you decide on the major you have chosen.”

He went into a story about his first year, his interest in engineering, and the classes he took. It was all amazing. Throughout the discussion I learned more about him, and I was happy to do so.

I had learned a lot by the end of the interaction, where we finished off with a photo and parted ways. He loved participating in ENR by being a mentor and I learned his dream job was to be a rock star or a game warden in Africa.

To me, the most important thing I had learned was that education at the Ohio State University was what you made of it. Academics could outweigh your social life at times, but it is still important to have fun and enjoy clubs. Campus was full of areas to study, such as Thompson and the outdoors, but it was also full of clubs to join, such as the wildlife and fishery club that I never knew existed.

I had learned that some classes were going to be hard. For us, calculus was a class we both bonded over struggling with. I learned that it is okay to fail and to realize that I cannot be good at everything. No one can be good at everything. But through extra effort, we can learn to become better.

Animesh spoke passionately about how college changed how he viewed himself and worked. That introspection hit me hard and I hope to use that same type of analysis to understand who I am, what I want, and how I can remain motivated throughout my academic career. I also hope to implement his enthusiasm for his future and his major into my life. Work always seems so much easier when it is something you are passionate about.

While he did not have many classes directed towards his FABE major,  I could tell that he was passionate and informed about the topics he wanted to study. It was an amazing time learning about such an unknown major, for me, and I was so excited that he too was excited to share his experience.

Overall, it was an amazingly informative and fun experience. Had it not been for ENR, I may have never met such an intelligent individual.


My Strengths

After taking the test to determine my top personality traits, I was amazed at how accurate such a test could be. It seemed unlikely that a handful of questions could determine the five most endearing characteristics that make me, well, me. Out of the twenty-four traits, my top five were shown on the bright colored page:

  • Humor
    • Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
  • Humility
    • Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.
  • Social Awareness
    • Being aware of the motives/feelings of others and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.
  • Love of Learning
    • Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.
  • Bravery
    • Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what’s right even if there’s opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it.

Is copy and pasting the quotes from the website academic misconduct? Just to be safe, I will note the URL at the bottom of the screen. All of this information has come from the VIA Institute on Character. (Better safe than sorry, calculus is taking up too much time to be fighting a legal battle.)

After looking at the entire list and understanding the different traits I was rated on, I realized that these five best described me. Not only that, but I enjoyed the placement of each trait. In fact, I was so excited to have humor in first place I shared it with all of my roommates (who said I would in fact get humor as my number one.) I also enjoy all of the other traits. I do not like to be boastful, I try to minimize my presence and make everyone feel comfortable around me, and I can be awfully brave if my morals are being threatened. However, that does not mean I am very confrontational. I am not. That just isn’t in me.

I think out of all of the traits, I enjoy using humor the most in my life. Humor is one of my favorite things in the world. Seeing my friends smile and hearing them laugh always brightens up my day.  While I also love to learn, I feel that it is not as applicable when understanding others. Humor is what makes the world go round and it keeps me from stressing over the little things. I think that is one of the biggest strengths I have learned throughout my years. Sometimes, it is better to laugh at a situation and move on.

I have never given much thought into organizing my personality traits. I would not know how. But now that I have such a list, I am content with the answers. To be honest, I feel as if moving a trait is dishonest to myself. No, this test does not describe me entirely as a person. Saying such a thing would be crazy. In fact, it has barely scratched the surface of who I am. However, to move around the order of the list generated after answering the questions honestly feels futile and I feel that this test is fairly accurate. Despite its limitations, the test did fairly well at understanding a few key traits about me.

Me laughing at my little angel. She was fed up because I dressed her in an, “I Love My Mommy” shirt.


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: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]