J500 Media and the Environment

Lawrence Grocery Prices by KaylaReg
April 22, 2010, 3:39 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: ,

Here’s a link to the story I did about grocery store prices for the UDK in March 2009.  I could only find the price lists in PDF, so sorry for any inconvenience, but you can find it on page 8A.


Costs were calculated “In three visits to each store between Feb. 14 and March 8, the lowest prices for seven common items… were averaged and compared to determine where students can find the best deals.” (page 1A)

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Kayla R.

When Good Things Go Bad by KaylaReg

Nope, nothing good in here.

One of my favorite lines in every reality dating show is “This year, I’m putting love first.” It’s so cliché, but it recently made me reflect on the things I’ve been putting first in my own life. Health is certainly towards the bottom, as seen by what I ate today:

One grilled Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and mustard sandwich (315 calories)

A half a cup of low fat Cheez-Its (70 calories)

One medium sized orange (85 calories)

10ish peanut M&Ms (about 103 calories)

One slice of Farm Fresh pizza from Pizza Shuttle (about 300 calories)

Three-fourths a cup of macaroni and cheese (300 calories)

Although approximately 900 calories less than the expected daily intake (for the record, I am not trying to starve myself, I’m just more of a snacker than a big meal eater), it’s 1,173 calories of mostly hydrogenated fat and sodium. This is about average for me and I’m not proud of it.

Yes, I have fresh fruits and vegetables, soy meat substitutes and a wild salmon filet in the freezer. Whenever I do my big grocery runs, I make sure to buy as many healthy all-natural foods as possible, and I usually succeed in making a few good meals a week. But what happens is the leftovers sit in the fridge, my milk gets spoiled and my eggs go bad long before I’ve eaten my guilty purchases like chips and macaroni.

Better, but still not great.

According to research by the National Academy of Sciences, the beauty of my processed food items and my genetically engineered tomato is that they last forever.

What won’t last forever though is my health. In the independent documentary Localize Me, fast-food junkie Daniel Fisher only eats food from Lawrence’s Local Burger for 30 days. He can eat whatever he wants from the all-natural and local menu and he eats a lot. It’s expected that Fisher will lose weight, as eliminating fast food from any diet can only improve one’s health, but the results are truly shocking. He went from 295 to 272 pounds over the month and his cholesterol dropped from 285 to 166.

Fisher’s story is inspiring, and not only because swimsuit season is approaching. Diabetes and heart problems run in both sides of my family, an unfortunately more and more common occurrence in the United States.

It’s so easy to blame my unhealthier choices on a stressful, busy lifestyle, but I don’t foresee it getting any easier in the near future. So, I think it’s time to change this cycle. I probably won’t stick to a 100 percent all-natural, local, and organic diet. In accordance with the ‘finite pool of worry,’ I don’t think I could do the amount of research on food items required to make sure my grocery list lived up to such standards. What I can do is strike the chips and macaroni from the list and find other, actually healthy items on which to “veg.”

Because 57 days into this year, I decided to put health first.

-Kayla R.

Checking Checkers by bpirotte

It was a weeknight and a couple friends and I had made dinner. It was a relatively healthy meal with some chicken, vegetables, and even got a little fancy with some cous-cous on the side. But a few minutes of conversation about ice cream got us craving some, and therefore spurred a late night trip to the store for some frozen desert.

I had recently attended a meeting for a Food Policy Council meeting here in Douglas County, Kansas where local food growers, business owners, and those interested in eating locally gathered to talk about how the county and surrounding areas could benefit from local food.


A place to eat local!


I noticed one of the members of the council was representing a local grocery store, Checkers. This interested me because I had never really gone to Checkers before, as I am from Wichita, Kansas and I was very used to shopping at Dillons grocery stores. However, after seeing the presence of this grocery store at the meeting, I wondered what sorts of options they had for local or organic foods.

So, when the craving for ice cream arose, the suggested place for purchasing said desert became Checkers. But while my friends were scouring the freezers for the most exciting flavors of their delicious mid-night snack, I ventured off to see what I could find that’s “organic.” I looked in the dairy products, and immediately found milk cartons boasting a “USDA Organic” label. But what does this really mean? I remained somewhat skeptical. After doing some further research, I also found some ads boasting Checkers’ commitment to being “local.” This seems to be a term thrown around often when referring to eating responsibly, but according to this ad, actual local suppliers sell their products at Checkers. Some of these include local milk producer Iwig’s, and beef from M&J Ranch. Who knew?!

Even though there is a lot on our minds today, and we are bombarded with an incessant amount of causes and reasons to care, it looks like eating locally just got a little bit easier.

–Ben P.

Generic Brands say BUBBYE to rBST in Milk by shemme

Dairy Cow

Photo by *~Laura~* on Flickr.com

Wal-Mart, the largest grocery retailer in the US, made a bold move last week when it announced that its Great Value brand milk will be sourced exclusively from hormone-free dairy cows. Other “budget” retailers like Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. have changed their house brands to using exclusively hormone-free milk, too.

Why are budget groceries making the switch? Because customers have demanded it.

Not everyone can afford to purchase organic milk, often costing more than $3 for half a gallon as compared to around $1.70 for conventional milk. Store brands, or “generic” brands, offer the same kinds of products that national brands do, but at rock bottom prices. For consumers concerned about what’s in their milk, hormone free options from some of the most affordable brands in the US, like Great Value and Kroger, make a nice economic middle ground between conventional and certified organic.

Growth hormones, often referred to as rBST or RBGH, is marketed under the name Posilac by Monsanto, a giant agricultural company that also makes herbicides, insecticides, and genetically modified seeds. Some of you may remember that just this month Monsanto was lobbying in Kansas to keep milk producers from putting “hormone free” on their labels. We’re not the only ones. Monsanto has been waging big battles in other states as well (see this NY Times article).

Monsanto, are you listening? Consumers don’t want milk from cows treated with your product.

Monsanto may create front groups, lobby our government, and even try to control the media…

But we can all take comfort in knowing that in the end, it’s us – the consumers – who can stop a Goliath like Monsanto by simply voicing our concerns and putting our money where our mouth is. Thank you Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and others out there who are listening!

Learn more about the issues surrounding Monsanto and rBGH at Sustainable Table.

~ Sarah H

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook