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Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Inspirational author changes perspectives

Dellanira Alcauter and Adrianna Owens
Dellanira Alcauter (left) and Adrianna Owens (right) pose with Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation” (middle) after a book signing. Before this, theyenjoyed a dinner and lecture by Schlosser.

Going organic is a small but easy step toward improvement

At one point, I was annoyed with AP English, thinking it was too much work. And when we were assigned to read Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation,” it only furthered my pessimism. However, once I sunk in my chair and started reading, I was intrigued. From the very first paragraph, if not sentence, I was hooked. The words that stood out so boldly on the page entered my thoughts, wedged into the crevices of my mind.

I began to realize that maybe I was living wrong, that maybe I was giving my money to the wrong companies and buying the wrong foods.

A few months after reading the book, I, along with other students, was offered the opportunity to meet Schlosser, and have dinner with him before he gave a lecture at the University of the Pacific. As I waited in line for food the night of the dinner, I made several glances to a table near a sleek podium in the front of the room that had reserved signs on just a few of the place settings. I sat at that same table and we chatted while eating our dinner — all vegan, all organic.

The conversation all felt so strange, but in a good way. Because while we were talking about nuclear weapons and motorcycles (which surprisingly can be connected to this fast food world), I couldn’t believe that not only is Schlosser an amazing writer but also an amazing speaker. He knows just how to construct his sentences  without even seeming to think about it. Every sentence that emerged from his lips was as eloquent as the paragraphs in his book.

I realized that the impact of reading the book and meeting Schlosser goes far beyond the classroom and the night of the dinner.

Every two weeks or so, a box of organic fruits and vegetables is delivered to my front porch. Before reading “Fast Food Nation” and meeting the man behind the work, I thought this was a waste of time and money. I would ask my dad why he didn’t just stop at the grocery store and buy the fruits himself.

The box that is delivered comes from local farms, and is free of synthetic-pesticides and other such chemicals that are buried into the ground or injected into each plant. Not only are there better fruits and veggies to eat, but there are animals that are raised organically aren’t fed animal byproducts or steroids to enhance growth, and in addition, they get more room to roam around, instead of being packed in tight stables.

Studies have shown that runoff from farms or cattle-holding facilities that leak into rivers have either killed fish, or made them grow an extra eye or appendage. And it is this carelessness that disgusts me, that made me realize how beneficial eating organic can be to not only myself, but to the environment.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, organic farming has many benefits on the environment. It uses less energy, is helping pollution, bettering soil, and doesn’t create deformed fish.

Now, I’m not saying that one can never indulge in the pleasures of non-organic or even processed foods.

What I am saying is that we can all do our part. Not by stocking up on organic foods and throwing out everything else, but by simply knowing what is out there and what we are putting our bodies through when eating junk foods or denying organic foods.

If there’s one thing I learned from the dinner with Schlosser, it’s that knowledge truly is power. To get ahead in this fast food nation, we must know what we are facing every day. And with this knowledge, we can succeed.  

I now look at my English class differently. Sure, the workload can be troublesome, but great things can come from embracing that workload. Instead of taking the reading as just another assignment, I critically devoured the book. I was thinking and scratching commentary into the margins. I took what I learned and applied it to how I live.

I came to the conclusion that if we pick up organic apples and strawberries — these fruits typically have the most pesticides — we can start a path to a better life, one in which we can truly, as Schlosser would say, “have it our way.”

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Inspirational author changes perspectives