My name is Sofia Rodriguez and this semester I am working with Seacoast Eat Local as the media and marketing intern. I am in my last semester at UNH studying Environmental Conservation and Sustainability.
Some of you may be thinking, “why is an environmental sustainability student interested in local food?” I have recently discovered that food is one of the main intersections of the 3 pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. Getting your foods (and other items) locally sourced helps to reduce the customer’s carbon footprint by shortening the transportation route from the farmer/producer to your dining table. When shopping at the grocery store, it is likely that your produce came from another part of the world! Foods at farmers markets tend to have less packaging, resulting in fewer plastics ending up where they shouldn’t be.
In 2017, I studied abroad in New Zealand at a wonderful environmental program called Ecoquest Education Foundation. On our little campus, we ate produce that was grown in our backyard (so much kale!) and put the compost back into the soil. How much more local can you get than your own backyard?!
In the past few years, I have developed an interest in cooking and food waste. Not having a UNH meal plan anymore means that I needed to learn how to cook healthy meals for myself. I am constantly on Pinterest trying to find the easiest and healthiest recipes to make from foods I picked up from the farmers market. This week I am making maple roasted delicate squash and falafel filled pita pockets (yum!) using ingredients from the Portsmouth Market. I have done research on food waste and the effects it has on our environment. When food is wasted, so is the labor and resources that went into making that food product. I try to compost all my produce scraps and bring it to my local community garden every weekend! I am looking forward to working with SEL, making new recipes and making an impact on my local community.