I have been making significant advancements in the readings related to my research project. For example, I recently finished “Diet for a Hot Planet,” by Anne Lappe, for which I have compiled a document of prominent sources and information vital to our research. The text provided an extensive amount of information, while also providing different examples for the reader to act or get involved. Lappe would identify a problem, then in a following paragraph, provide resources and options to battle the issue. Towards the end of the book, Lappe dedicated a whole chapter to “Action.” This is what I enjoyed most. The book also informed my theoretical modeling for this project; the book goes into depth discussing all the different ways Industrial Farming is the number one cause of climate change – production, distribution, waste, deforestation and biodiversity.
I have started reading through an online source publication entitled, FEW Resources (www.fewresources.org). This website provides a vast amount of information related to the range of issues dealing with the environment and our human habits. It explores the main areas that are affected by meat consumption, production and distribution – food, energy, water, global justice and global development. Some theorists argue that sustainable farming is incapable of producing enough yield to feed our growing population. However, according to the 2008 USDA Census of Agriculture, there is only 1.6 million acres of organic cropland in America, representing 0.52% of our total US cropland. Hence this argument holds no value; we must increase our organic cropland production, providing sustainable farming, in order to feed our growing population. This piece of information is vital to our research project because it has been proven that animals can be raised for food sustainably. Sustainable farming does not mean no meat, however it does mean that we must lower the amount of meat we consume overall. Increasing our organic farms by dedicating more land to it, while also removing factory farms, will allow for us to increase our sustainable foods. Therefore providing healthy, less environmentally impactful foods.
Furthermore, researchers have noted that by 2050 we will need an additional planet and a half to feed the expected 9 billion people. Industrial farming is degrading our soil fertility by the second; if we were to produce more organic farms on the available cropland we would provide enhanced soil fertility. These two sources will be useful when Professor Bauce and I sit down to write our final publication for the research project.
I am learning through our research the importance of focus. There are many different segments that can be incorporated into our project. But, it is key to establish what our objectives are, and how we can better understand the problems at hand with Dining Services/Pace Community. Remaining focused has been a challenge for me. Throughout our weekly conversations, Professor Bauce has been a strong mentor in my life, making it clear and constantly reminding me how important staying focused is. I have made some mistakes consolidating information, prioritizing my studies, personal life and other jobs. Also, Professor Bauce has helped me avoid vast generalities when speaking about my project to people in person or online.
Early last month, we met with Tyron Ellen who works for Dining Services at Pace University. Our conversation was rather interesting and informative. Tyron explained, Dining Services has increased the amount of available vegetarian options however these items aren’t selling. Also, from this discussion, Professor Bauce and I learned about the student group representing the concerns of the student body related to Dining Services – the student Dining Services committee. Professor Bauce and I hope to connect with Pace student representatives to understand why the vegetarian options aren’t selling and maybe what has been in the works with the student committee.
Finally, Professor Bauce and I have been making a gradual switch to a more applied topic, which will produce practical recommendations for how the university can meet its commitments to sustainable operations. Before, we were in sociological theory, now we are in operations research. I am excited about this transition and hope that we make some positive changes with the university. I am curious to see how our discussions with the university and dining services will unfold and how much of an impact our research project can make.