Food Production Systems

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    As a West Philadelphia native of more than 18 years, I can attest to the lack of healthy food options in our area. Elders and youth are forced to shop at corner stores for their daily meals which aren’t the best options. We live in a food desert surrounded by McDonalds and Chinese restaurants. The food options available to us come from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Currently GMO labeling isn’t required on food packages so you may not even know what you’re buying unless it says ‘Organic’. GMOs can be found in corn, rice, wheat, and many other foods. Why is this a problem? GMO’s were found to be linked to various health concerns including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The Food and Drug Administration says GMOs are safe are safe and little scientific concern exists, but critics say otherwise. People want GMO labeling so they know what’s in their food, and they want healthier options! It has been a social norm for people to eat unconsciously about the food they put into their bodies but I’m here to propose a change. The Urban Nutrition Initiative is a nonprofit organization located in West Philadelphia that focuses on providing healthy foods and recipes to the community. In the middle of Sayre high school, they have a garden open for the public where they grow 12 different crops. If you sign up, you get fresh fruits and vegetables for free. In a sustainability course that I’m taking at Penn State University we learned about the food agriculture system and alternatives to getting your own healthy foods. People are making gardens out of empty lots and even growing foods in recyclable tires. If we come together and grow our own food, we can change the health of our environment and communities. Are you in?

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