(From L to R): Cate Petersen, Angelica Gonzalez, Jillian Kurlfink, Jinous Jooyan, Katie Flores and Hannah Cole. Photo: Courtesy of Amy Cox-Petersen
(From L to R): Cate Petersen, Angelica Gonzalez, Jillian Kurlfink, Jinous Jooyan, Katie Flores and Hannah Cole. Photo: Courtesy of Amy Cox-Petersen

By Angelica Gonzalez, Cate Petersen, Hannah Cole, Jillian Kurlfink, Jinous Jooyan and Katie Flores

The girls in Troop 528 are interested in planting new seeds of awareness and setting eco-friendly practices in motion within the community. For the most part, food is at the center of this. Food connects many things—the land where it is grown, the water that irrigates and the air that supplies oxygen.

Here are six food-centric steps individuals can take in 2016 to be healthier and sow a brighter future for our planet.

Buy Local:

There are many benefits to buying from local farmers markets. These benefits include greater variety, fresher fruits and vegetables and usually better taste. Also, you know where the food is coming from. Buying locally benefits you and everyone around you. Try visiting the San Juan Capistrano Farmers Market each Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. or the Dana Point Farmers Market each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

—Angelica Gonzalez, 9th grade, San Juan Hills High School 

Leave No Fruit Behind:

Take fruits from trees at your home and donate them to food banks or share them with your neighbors. It is wasteful to leave fruit on the ground that others can eat. Did you know that about 21 percent of children and 15 percent of seniors are at risk of hunger in Orange County? There are people going hungry and it is wasteful not to harvest and share. Please do your part to harvest your fruits and vegetables and donate those not used to local food banks.

—Cate Petersen, 9th grade, San Juan Hills High School

Protect Our Animals:

People aren’t always protecting animals to the best of their ability. Instead of passing by trash on the street that can fall into a storm drain that goes to the ocean, try picking it up and throwing it into a trash can. By doing so, you will have just prevented an animal from choking. Sea animals can mistake trash, especially plastic, for food. Plastic water bottles should be used minimally and recycled when used. 

—Hannah Cole, 9th grade, Laguna Hills High School

Eat Your Vegetables:

Buying fresh foods and vegetables has many benefits. First, there is less packaging that gets thrown into the trash. Second, less water is used to produce them. Did you know that it takes 518 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef? It takes less than 50 gallons of water to produce one pound of most vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and strawberries. Try having one meal each week that includes little or no meat and enjoy the veggies.

—Jillian Kurlfink, 9th grade, JSerra High School

Lose the Packaging:

It is wasteful for companies to package items they sell in large amounts of packing material. The reason for this is because it limits our resources and it takes up space in landfills when tossed out. Companies should be mindful of this. As a customer, you can buy products that use less packing material and always bring your own bags to help out. 

—Jinous Jooyan, 9th grade, San Juan Hills High School

Reusable Stocking Stuffers:

A good New Year’s resolution is reduce, reuse and recycle. Our planet is full of unnecessary trash. In 2016, help out your community by buying reusable water bottles and lunch containers and use them each day. Even a little thing like this can make a huge impact on our planet. Consider reusable containers as stocking stuffers this year. 

Katie Flores, 9th grade, Santa Margarita High School

The girls from Troop 528 hope you will consider some of these tips in 2016. Have a happy, healthy and eco-friendly new year!

This is the final installment in a series of four columns written by girls from Girl Scout Senior Troop 528 of San Juan Capistrano. 

About The Author Capo Dispatch

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