Video by Margaret Brinson
By Cari Phillips, Staff Writer
Eating a farm-fresh diet in a fast-food world can be nearly impossible. However, students, faculty and staff are embracing the challenge to think beyond packages and cartons to seek food made of the purest ingredients.
“I choose to eat organic foods for a couple reasons,” said Evan Holder, Union alumnus. “One of them being that I don’t like the hormones, pesticides and artificial and synthetic ingredients added to a lot of food available and marketed in stores.”
Research has shown that antibiotics in beef and chicken can lead to drug resistance, issues with digestion and immune problems.
“The less garbage you put in (your body) the better,” said Paul Mayer, director of health services at Union University.
Natalie Wittman, senior Spanish major, makes decisions on how she eats based on allergies she has and the health benefits of the products.
“The benefit of organic food for someone like me is that the ingredients are pure and natural and the additives, which are commonly derived from allergens, are generally avoided, which opens up a lot of different kinds of food,” Wittman said. “I know exactly where my food is coming from, and more care is taken to prevent cross-contamination and other food production faux pas.”
Jackson streets are lined with fast-food restaurants of every variety and provide patrons little access to unprocessed foods. With major supermarket chains being the most prominent options for grocery shopping, students, faculty and staff have a limited amount of options to find organic products.
Shelly Ezell, sophomore elementary education major, enjoys eating healthy and has found benefits with eating organically. “I started eating organically at the same time that I started running more, and it’s made a big difference,” she said.
Jackson has a few outlets to purchase organic items, most of which are hidden on streets not frequently traveled. The first and most prominent place to shop is the West Tennessee Farmers Market. Vendors from around the county and state travel to sell their farm-fresh produce, milk, bread and other items. Another local grocery is Market Fresh Grocery located off of Hollywood Boulevard, which sells local fruits and vegetables. Also, Kroger has been expanding its organic selection, now dedicating a corner of the store to organic products and cleaning items.
“I believe in having standards and integrity in food, and I see how that spills over into a lifestyle of not just what you eat but how you treat your body and the environment,” Holder said. “Purchasing organic fruits and vegetables and other organic ingredients, and learning how to cook them well can begin habits of forming a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle free from commercially processed foods.”
Making the switch to organic living can be difficult and expensive at first, but with research and dedication, people may find health benefits in doing so.