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Issue 123 |💲Dollar General isn’t helping.

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Wednesday. Everyone loves a good bargain–special discounts, free shipping,a good BOGO! Who doesn’t love getting a good deal?! To varying extents, we allshop with price and convenience in mind. One particular store that is ridingthis “low prices and convenience” wave and opening locations all over the U.S?Dollar General. One store that is doing us no favors when it comes to oursociety’s health? Dollar General. Let’s dive in.

Chef Boyardee and Ramen Noodles

Unless you are a college freshman, a diet consisting of canned ravioli, ramennoodles, and Coke Zero is completely unacceptable. Scratch that. Even for acollege freshman that is unacceptable. Unfortunately, that is the reality fora lot of Americans that simply don’t have access to shop for fresh, wholefoods. It can be easy to take for granted the fact we have access to a grocerystore that has a produce section full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Imaginethat the only food store you could realistically get to was just made up ofthe middle aisles of your typical grocery store, meaning you only had accessto the non-perishables. That is what a food desert is–living in an areawithout access to nutritious, whole foods. For many people in the U.S, that isthe situation they live in, and the trend is getting worse. So what doesAmerica’s darling convenience dollar store company, Dollar General, have to dowith the growing food dessert problem our country faces? Dollar General wasfounded on the idea of low prices of convenience. This business model hasallowed them to thrive during times of economic recession. So while the retailspace was hurting over the past year, Dollar General thrived–opening over1,000 new stores in 2020 alone. 75% of Americans now live within 5 miles of aDollar General. The problem? Dollar General locations squeeze out local grocerystores. Given their scale and extensive supply chain, these stores come intocommunities and offer low income households low prices and convenience. As aresult, shoppers gravitate away from local grocery stores, causing them toeventually close. Then, once all the grocery stores close and all you haveleft are Dollar General’s–poof! Fresh produce and whole foods are no more andthe community now lives in a food desert. Now, we don’t have to go into greatdetail, but you can most likely put two and two together here to realize thetype of impact a Dollar General diet would have on your health. HamburgerHelper, Campbell’s soup, and no fresh fruits or vegetables isn’t exactly anoptimal diet… The solution? These problems are very difficult to solve andfor many of us that have our choice of grocery store to shop at, it may noteven seem like our problem to worry about. But it is our problem and in thiscase, solutions can begin with awareness. So shop local whenever you can anddon’t take your access to fresh foods for granted.

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If There Is No Soil, Is It Farming?

Serious question–is hydroponic farming actually farming? As this soil freefood production continues to gain popularity, I think we need a new name forit. Apparently the technical term for hydroponic farming is “controlledenvironmental agriculture.” I think I like that better. It sounds more likewhat it actually is–which isn’t farming. The benefits of controlledenvironmental agriculture is supposed to be that it uses less water and makesfresh fruits and vegetables more readily available in urbanareas. Allgood things. But it ignores the fact that farming, when done properly, has thepotential to positively impact the environment in a meaningful way. Are wereally coming up with a useful solution here for the long term or is this justanother example of technology and innovation pointed in an unnecessarydirection for the sake of pursuing the route with the most potential monetaryprofit? I don’t know. I’m just a writer for a newsletter…

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Issue 125 | Meat and politics on a Friday

Issue 127 | Jell-O, newest health food.