the meds in your meat: antibiotics

[From my blog post with the Cornell Daily Sun]

You learned it in freshman biology: Penicillin was originally created by accident, but has since been hailed as one of mankind’s greatest discoveries. Today, antibiotics are used to treat everything from bronchitis to tuberculosis. For decades, small doses of antibiotics have been fed to livestock; when used in feeds, they help maintain rapid growth and low levels of disease across herds, allowing for affordable food prices. However, controversy has recently erupted over concerns of antibiotic resistance and public health. Continue reading

#PinkSlime: debunking the media frenzy

[From my blog post with the Cornell Daily Sun]

Beef has been getting a lot of, well…beef lately. Between the recently published study at Harvard’s school of medicine linking red meat to cancer, and now the “Pink Slime” hysteria, many Americans have finally started questioning what they are purchasing in the grocery store. Continue reading


bias is a two-way street: my rude awakening

As a dairy science student here at Cornell, I am often concerned that my views are becoming encapsulated within the walls of Morrison Hall, and not my own brain. While much of what I have learned about the food industry is from the dairy perspective, it comes from people who have been born in, and never have lived in the world outside of, the dairy industry. Studying Development Sociology has been incredibly eye-opening in allowing me to see society with a different lens. While I am not sure that my opinions have changed on a lot of the current hot-topic issues, it has been valuable to hear the other sides of such arguments. I had not realized how much my eyes were being opened to the food industry — as both a social motivation and a business model — until the day we were evaluating the milk price and DHI reports, and Daniel raised his hand and inquisitively asked, in regards to the negative profit margins: “Why be a dairy farmer?”

While I am not from a dairy farm, this still really hit home. Continue reading

the “got milk” paradox

[From my blog post with the Cornell Daily Sun]

Over Spring Break, I was perusing the aisles of Wegmans in search of milk to stock my family’s refrigerator. Like many consumers, I usually just go for the cheaper brand, instead of paying attention to labels. In the midst of sending a text and referencing my shopping list, however, something caught my eye: A brightly colored decal on the glass, refrigerator door that read, “Our farmers have pledged to not treat any of their cows with any artificial growth hormones.”

I grabbed my milk — which also had this label — and hurried along with my shopping cart. Continue reading


my stance on contemporary food system issues

What do ancient Roman art, the Juicy-Juice commercials (“100% juice for 100% kids” that aired during “Arthur” and “Barney” on PBS), high school art class, “Snow White,” and Chipotle’s new “Back to the Start” Youtube sensation have in common? This certainly is not obvious. Old art portrays blemish-less, brilliantly hued fruits and vegetables; Juicy-Juice commercials deceive the health benefits of processed fruit, advertising directly towards youth and their poverty-stricken parents; in my ninth grade art class, I lost points because my apple in my stand-still oil painting was not a brilliant enough red, and was a bit lopsided; Disney is famous for their perfect fruit, like Snow White’s brilliant, red poison apple; Chipotle’s new ad plays on the idealistic, Old McDonald’s Farm that consumers are convinced still exists. Each of these media for portraying today’s food is (possibly unconsciously) contributing to the true naïveté of today’s society as to where their food comes from, how it is processed, why it is blemish-less, and what social structure such food provides. Continue reading

the dark(ish) side of chipotle

[From my blog post with the Cornell Daily Sun]

What do you get when you have two minutes on national television, buzzwords like “organic,” “local” and “sustainable,” an intricate set of hundreds of hand-painted model pigs and Willie Nelson singing a Coldplay cover? One Heluva-good Youtube video: Chipotle’s “Back to the Start.” Continue reading

Me and one of the lambs I raised in elementary school.

my connection to our food system: past, present & future


For my “Development Sociology: Agriculture, Food & Society” course this past semester, I was asked to write a short essay about my connection to our food system. I feel that giving a copy of this assignment may be the best way to truly introduce myself.

Choice in Food: A Basic Human Right 

When one of my peers or professors inquires about my family’s background in the agricultural industry, I am not an ounce ashamed to explain where the money that pays for me to attend Cornell comes from. Continue reading