vegetables by Masahiro Ihara via Flickr

photo by Masahiro Ihara

It’s fall of your freshman year as a college student, and it dawns on you — you no longer have your parents to fill the fridge and make sure that you are eating three healthy meals a day, and that the kitchen is stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. Or hey, maybe they stocked the kitchen with sugar filled snacks, either way, it’s now up to you to control what you eat.

This was a huge revelation for me as a college student, and at first it was wonderful because instead of having to wait for your parents to cook meals, or prepare something myself I could just go to the dining hall and  chow down on food that was readily available to me.  I hit up the cereal bar in the morning, pizza for lunch, taco bar at night.  There were desserts everywhere, and a deliciously varied ice cream bar stocked with any topping that your stomach could possibly crave. It was easy, convenient, and there for me at any hour that I pleased to fill up before a long study session or a movie night with friends.

However, as I progressed through my college years, my liberal arts education taught me to think critically about the world in ways I never ever thought twice about as a blissfully ignorant Freshman who made frequent trips to the dining hall with friends. I took an environmental studies class, and a health and wellness class, and I started to realize that what is easy, and convenient isn’t always right. I realized that I had a responsibility to myself, animals, and the environment to eat better.

I then came to Organic Valley as an intern, in hopes that I could work for an organization that I truly believe in.  I was fascinated that Organic Valley supports family farms, while also helping people and animals become healthier.  For the first part of my internship, I spent a lot of time reading through grant proposals and final reports from organizations that Farmers Advocating For Organics (FAFO) funds.  FAFO  is the only farmer grant giving fund in the country. After spending a lot of time reading through these reports and discovering the true benefits of organic I realized that I needed to incorporate more organic foods into my diet.

So how can we do it? How can we eat better as college students and resist the urge to just boil ramen noodles in our apartments every night? Many of you students out there are probably like me, working to get through school and living on a tight budget, but eating organic isn’t out of reach, and I have a few tips to help you take the step into the right direction. Click here to read my top five tips for eating organic on a college student budget.