It’s day five of no impact week, and despite the remorseful looks I shoot the lifesaver mints every time I exit the dining halls, I appear to be surviving. I actually think that I am (finally) slowly recovering from my mint withdrawal and entering a new state of independence from that bit of delicious processed food. For anyone who read my last post and was wondering about the development with Sodexo on the food used locally (or not) in the dining halls, I do have some updates. First of all, the general manager of Denison Dining Services, Niles Gebele, was so incredibly helpful. He looked into the origins of all of the foods that I asked him about and let me know where certain foods came from. I had asked him about the source of the bread in the dining halls, in order to determine, to what extent, they impacted the environment in their creation for me to eat. Luckily he brought relatively good news—the bread comes from Schwebels, and a representative from the company told him that because of Scwebels small size, they hired a co-op to do all the ordering of ingredients, and all are apparently from the state of Ohio. The bread itself is processed in a plant in Hebron, Ohio (about 20 minutes away from Denison). The bad news I received is that few of the fruits and vegetables are local due to the eminent winter, the raisins offered in the food bar are California Sun Dried Raisins from Fowler, CA, and the peanut butter is derived from peanuts grown and processed in El Paso, Texas. I don’t think that I can stop eating fruits, vegetables, and peanut butter as they compose the majority of my diet, but it was depressing to an extent to realize that I basically have to choose between eating local foods that are higher (and less efficient) on the food chain, or consume foods that are primary producers (and thus containing the most energy) yet must be transported from different locations. I’ve eating vegetarian (and now vegan) since coming to Denison, so I think I will continue to choose the latter, despite the higher resulting energy costs and carbon dioxide released due to transportation (which make them basically equivalent in environmental impact to the local meat and dairy products). On matters other than food, No Impact Week has been surprisingly simple, so long as I develop habits beneficial to the environment, such as unplugging electronics and shortening showers. Hopefully this week will end as well as it is currently going.
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