Final Reflective Essay

At the beginning of the semester I has no idea what to expect from this class. I had read the syllabus and felt semi confident that I had it in the bag, until the first day of class and the talk of “service learning” came into play. I was excited and nervous at the same time, I wasn’t use to having that much freedom in a college course. We formed our groups quickly and I was on the ball to emailing Rosemary from the Peter Paul Development Center.

Not all of our group members could meet with Rosemary at the same time, but little did we know that was the least of our worries. We decided to meet in two groups rather than drag our feet waiting for everyone to somehow come up with the same availability. After the meeting I was amped to start making a difference in the community so my group members and I started brain storming ideas. We first thought of foods around the world, an activity where each member picks a country and brings a certain foreign food for the kids to taste. The idea sounded great until we started over thinking it and couldn’t get all of our group members on board. Then the distribution center came into the picture, a few group members volunteered there and we all collaborated in making recipes cards.

During this time, everything started to become more frustrating. We were pitching various ideas out to see what Rosemary would want us to do. We knew she didn’t want us taking pictures of the kids nor did she want us helping out on the social media side so when every other group was working on their great social media ideas, we were at a sense lost for words. I don’t really understand how an organization wouldn’t want to promote the good that they are doing for their community or even take pictures of how happy the kids are to be there. I believe that all of this would help lift that community and maybe bring them out of the rut they are suffering through. It would show other people outside of that community that Church Hill has students that are trying to advance and make a better life for themselves by going to this development center straight after 8 hours of regular schooling. Needless to say, our group was starting to loss hope and determination in trying to help this organization being that Rosemary acted as if we were a bother when we contacted her through emails. But being such strong individuals that we all are, all of my group members continued to pitch ideas especially around Halloween. We sent Rosemary an email asking her if we could do something for the kids for Halloween such as make pumpkin rice krispy treats or paint pumpkins with them. She completely looked pass the rice krispy treat idea and jumped on the pumpkin idea which was great, but then alerted us that we needed to get around 80 pumpkins.

Who would have even expected anyone much less college students to buy 80 pumpkins?! I know we have probably ran this in the ground, but it was something that upset each and every one of us. Why couldn’t we work with one grade level or even bring one big pumpkin in and let each kid paint on it then set it outside of Peter Paul to show everyone’s collaborated art work? These are just things that confused me and made me think twice about the ideas that I had to pitch. At this point, we already had Rosemary expecting us to do something for Halloween so Keondra and I went to Peter Paul on Halloween day and volunteered some time.

We had no idea what we were going to do, but we felt obligated at that point. Rosemary quickly assigned us to the coloring pages table and told us to wait until the kid arrived. We waited for about 30 minutes then the students started rolling in to have pizza that Peter Paul bought for them. So we waited a little longer, then the kids were assigned groups and rotated from table to table. It was a fun experience to say the least, but didn’t have much to do with Halloween which was a little disappointing.


The kids I came into contact with were extremely nice, but in the back of my head I remember Rosemary telling us not to get too attached with any of them, in which I found myself doing. I do not understand how anyone can work with any living being and not form some sort of attachment to them. That makes me think that Rosemary doesn’t communicate or interact much with the kids. All of the teachers who were there seemed to be attached to at least one other kid, so I kind of feel like Rosemary didn’t trust us from the start which is no way to conduct an organization that people can volunteer at. I never felt a decent connection with Rosemary like I had expected from the start which could have been why things did not pan out as we all had hoped. Towards the end of the semester as we were doing our makes, no one felt comfortable enough sending Rosemary any of our creations even though we had some interesting ones. Along with my food desert make that is a detailed description of how people in Church Hill can get to Farm Fresh if they do not have a vehicle.

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I even made a video of a healthy and simple recipe idea that the kids could make at home with bananas as long as they weren’t allergic to peanut butter.

All in all, I wasn’t too happy with the way everything panned out at Peter Paul. I would have hoped to be more interactive and actually make some sort of difference in that community or even in one child’s life. Even though my service learning didn’t go as planned, I am very fortunate to have worked with 5 amazing group members who were just about as determined as I am, if not more to make some sort of difference. They all offered so much to our group as a whole and contributed great ideas that I would have never thought of. It is crazy how close you become with people by working in groups and how much knowledge you obtain from each member. Walking away from this class, I can feel more confident working with people who are complete strangers one minute and close friends the next. I have a much better understanding of the real world work force and is prepared for whatever the future may bring!

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Arsenical Drug in Food Animal Production

Video Notes:

Arsenical Drugs- Roxarsone:

An additive in poultry and swine feed

Approved for growth promotion, improve pigmentation, and treatment of swine dysentery

88 percent of poultry production was raised using this drug

First approved in 1944

Tolerance levels were set for arsenic residues in meat products in 1951 to 2ppm in liver and 0.5 ppm in uncooked meat

NRC developed approach to chemical risk assessment in 1983

Fed to chickens to make the meat plumper and pinker and prevent infection by a digestive-tract parasite called coccidia.

Inside the chicken and in the manure the arsenic metabolizes into a highly toxic inorganic form that has been linked to cancer

Poultry manure is sometimes fed to cattle for supplement

FDA found low levels of inorganic arsenics in chicken liver

Some poultry waste is burned for energy and others that can’t be burned is released into the air

Runoff from farmland leaks arsenic into the Chesapeake Bay

Arsenic can remain for long periods of time in the soil.

Inorganic Arsenic Health Effects:

Arsenic is a human carcinogen to the lung, bladder, skin, and trans-placental carcinogen

Some noncancerous health effects are birth defects, renal effects, dermal effects, and immunologic effect, etc.

Acute toxicity would include irritation of lungs, throat, stomach, and skin

Regulatory Agencies:

Use of roxarsone creates environmental public health issues that extend beyond the jurisdiction of any single federal agency; drugs, food production, and food safety

This year is different because the state of knowledge has changed FDA study

State of public knowledge and intensity of advocacy coalition/organizing

Other states need to follow through more and have a more meaningful regulatory action


It still surprises me that even though arsenics are fatal to our health, we still fed it to animals to bulk them up and make their meat tasty. Why do I want to eat meat that has arsenic and other random chemicals? In 2012 they weren’t very positive of the percent of arsenic in animals that could be for the good. Maybe we have stopped using so many chemicals and found alternative methods of getting the quality of meat we all seem to love. Only one can hope! After watching all of these videos, it has brought me to open my eyes a little more and reconsider the food choices I make.

Antibiotic Use in Industrial Food Animal Production

Video Notes:

Antibiotics are used for the treatment in humans and animal agriculture along with crop and ethanol production.

There are a lot of feed additives used for animals.

In 2010 the FDA used 7.3 pounds of antibiotics for the treatment in humans and 28.8 pounds of non-therapeutic and therapeutic animal use.

The food and drug administration uses antimicrobial for the treatment of animals, prevention of any disease, and the production of growth promotion (speed growth) and feed conversion (increase food)

Antibiotic Resistance:

4 mechanisms

Selection for resistance (left with bacteria that resist the antibiotic), bacterial transformation, bacterial conjugation, ROS can be DNA-reactive and produce point mutations.

Accumulation of mutations in bacteria have been shown to induce the dev. Of mutant strains that demonstrate resistance to multiple drugs.

The “resistome”= bacteria non-pathogenic can harbor genes that can refer resistance when shared with others.

Bacteria that have mutations allowing drug resistance can share chemical signals with drug susceptible drug.

Most antibiotic in IFAP are administered through feed or water, influenced by feed quality control, animal herd dynamics, drug absorption.

Over administration of drug can led to drug residues in food animal products and clinical toxicity in animals.

Under administration can lead to genetic mutations that allow resistance to emerge

Intermittent drug in which variability can lead to over and or under administration that can then lead to antimicrobial selection pressure and or disease treatment failure

Exposure to resistant bacteria problems. Transport trucks can spread bacteria to the community and processing plant, workers and low hygiene can carry bacteria, animal manure can harbor chemical hazards.

Resistance infections respond poorly to one or more antibiotics and increase mortality risks. There was estimated to be 19,000 deaths from HAI in 2001.

Hospital stays are longer and more costly for resistant infections. They have increase by 14 days and the average cost is around $45,920

Multiple estimate of societal cost of resistant infections, as high as $30 billion per year

Denmark passed legislation to resist use of non-therapeutic antimicrobials in swine production. Decrease use in poultry.

Indicators of animal health have showed a beneficial effect, weight gain.

Total antibiotics consumption has declined more than 50 percent

Reduction in resistance in animal pathogens, indicator bacteria and zoonotic microorganisms.

Policies in US:

Animal Drug User Free Act- provides FDA with full time employees to watch over


While watching the video, I was very surprised at the amount of antibiotics that are used for animals. 28.8 pounds is a lot especially compared to the amount used for humans which was 7.3. Even though this was measured in 2010, I bet the amounts have increased since then. Antibiotics aren’t always a bad thing, but when you’re consuming the animal that has been given pounds and pounds of it that can’t be good for your health. I believe that even though the FDA thinks what they’re doing is right, may not be the safest choice for their consumers. They should probably start within the actual farm itself and try to get things cleaner with less bacterial risks. If the farms and workers are well taken care of then the risk of farm animals getting sick should decline. With this decline, maybe the FDA wouldn’t have to worry so much about getting the animals antibiotics for prevention purposes.

About Peter Paul Group!

Tiara: Tiara Darden is a senior business marketing major graduating in December 2014. Currently, she works at a local hotel as guest service representative. Upon graduation she wishes to advance within her company and either become the sales manager or a part of the marketing team. By taking this class, Ms. Darden hopes to learn more about the culture of food and other aspects of the food industry.

Aster: Aster is a senior majoring in Graphic Design in the VCUarts program. She has interned at Red Chalk Studios (based in Virginia Beach) for two consecutive summer semesters and later plans on working at a design studio after graduation. She plans to graduate in May 2015 to obtain her BFA. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and food photography. Aster hopes to gain more knowledge of the cultural aspects of food through this class.

 Keondra: Keondra is a senior Psychology major. She is from Nottoway County Virginia. Her main interest with her major is to work with children, their development and possibly research the effects certain situations have on their behavior. She currently lives in Chesterfield County, and works full time for In the future Keondra hopes to one day open her own Child Development Research Center. She loves shopping, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.

Taylor: Taylor Verne is a Junior studying psychology here at VCU. She was born and raised in Caroline county, by her mom and dad. Her ultimate goal is to go to grad school, and get a PhD in clinical psychology. Her dream job is to work with geriatrics who deal with anxiety, PTSD, and clinical depression. She is an active member of the National Coeducational Honor Fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, along with her social sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha. In her spare time she likes to de-stress, by hanging out with friends, working out in the gym, and watching Netflix.

Grettie: Grettie is a Jersey girl who is now a Junior majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She recently interned at a local non-profit, Feedmore, which works to feed children, families, and the elderly who live in food deserts. She loves trying new foods, and new experiences in general. Grettie is also a member of VCU ASPiRE, a service learning TA, Recruitment Advisor for Phi Sigma Pi, and an RA in West Grace South. She is excited to see what her junior year has to offer.

Laura: Laura is a senior majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a minor general business. She is graduating this December and hopes to work at Disney after she is done with school. She currently works at Nordstrom in short pump. Laura loves kids and is very excited to work with the PPDC and to help the Church Hill community.

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Group Formation Phase 1

Team building is referred to as a wide range of activities presented to a group of colleagues designed for improving team performance. It is the time you take to get to know each member of your team whether that be their weaknesses, strong suits, or even just them as individuals. These activities can entail mental or physical activities, group meetings, luncheons, or anything that brings your team closer together. As my team and I worked through our team building exercises I noticed that each of us had various things to bring to the table and that all of us are passionate about our work.

After playing “Fears in a Hat” we discovered that we all had relative fears. We are afraid of failing, drowning, and spiders. We are all scared of failing whether that be in under grad, getting into grad school, in our careers, or even just on a daily basis. The reason why people are afraid of failing is because they don’t want to disappoint the ones cheering them on. Drowning is a fear that a lot of people now a days have and seems to be a growing death rate around Richmond. I tried taking swim lessons as a child, but I got discouraged and never had a desire to try again. So when I get close to water I somewhat freak out especially when I’m not with someone I trust. Lastly, spiders are a big fear for females, they are extremely creepy. I would much rather be around a snake or a bear any day than to be anywhere near a spider.

My team building ideas were going to the village, walking around Carytown, and working out at Cary Street Gym. I chose going to the village because it’s close to campus and has good food. Carytown is like the center of downtown Richmond, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and scenery. Working out at the gym is a good way to relieve stress along with being good for your health. Everyone has a membership so it’s basically free. We explored campus, ate in the commons and went to Starbucks. Our most eventful activity was exploring campus, we got free samples, talked about our team goals, and had some pretty nice bonding time. At Starbucks, there was a long line and we got a little annoyed so that was probably the most uneventful time.

During our team building activities we got along very well and discovered a lot about each other. We met at various times in and out of the class. Our goals as a group is to succeed in this class and build better group unity. I really enjoyed working on this project with my group and am excited to continue to do the same throughout the semester.

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What are we Feeding Animals?

Notes from the video:

We feed our food animals by products of slaughtered animals and rendered animals, animal waste, and waste from industrial processes!

The amount of human waste that is generated per year is 6.9 million dry tons and the amount that we add to our land is just about half = 3.9 million dry tons. While animals produce 287 million and less than 270 million is released to land. Humans is treated and animals aren’t.

Bacteria, viruses, hormones, heavy metals, and nutrients are in animal waste.

There are 5 million farm workers who have contact to animals or waste that’s used at fertilizer. There’s no federal oversight and they have no personal federal equipment.

Airborne contamination from product on sites include; gases, organic compounds (poultry houses-60 unique ones and swine production- 330 unique ones), animal dander, and microorganisms.

Issue that shocked me:

As I was watching the video, they stated that we feed our farm animals by-products of slaughtered animals and animal waste. That is completely disturbing, I knew that we didn’t treat our farm animals well, but never in a million years did I imagine that we would feed them a dead animal. We have to eat the meat that was grown from another contaminated animal. Just thinking about it makes my stomach upset. I wonder why we’re feeding our animals this type of junk? Did they run out of edible food? Either way this video has be thinking about being a vegetarian.

Introduction to Industrialization of Food Systems

Notes from video:

Soy and corn take over half of our farm production

Industrialization includes: Mechanization, specialization, standardization, technology, inputs, economic of scale, consolidation, concentration

Poultry industry: chickens grew to almost half the weight drop from half the time with the same amount of food. In 2007 the weight has doubled in much less time than 1977.

Exposures to pesticides may led to cancer, nervous system impacts, and death

Resource depletion in topsoil, groundwater, fossil fuel, and mineral fertilizers

Red meat and dairy account for half of the greenhouse emission associated from the US food system

Issue that surprised me:

In the video they had a picture and stated how in 2007 the chicken has obtained more weight in less time than the other ones from 1977. They also stated that all the chickens were eating the same diet. That’s kind of hard to believe maybe they are giving the chickens now a days some kind of supplement that will help them grow faster. For example everything now a days is centered upon being non-gmo. No one in interested in buying anything that is genetically modified, but when we buy our meats a lot of them do not have that label on the packaging so that should wave a caution flag.


Meeting Schedule with Client.

Three out of seven of our group members met with Rosemary on Friday August 29th. The remaining are scheduling a meeting with her as soon as possible.


During our meeting we discussed what she was looking for in her volunteers. She said that the organization had plenty of different projects we could do, ranging from working in the children’s garden, working in the classrooms, food drives/donations, 5ks, even kitchen assistants. The meeting lasted for about an hour, during that time we took a tour of the building and filled out our volunteer application. We asked questions like hours of operation, where and when the events are held, is the organization doing well, how to get in contact with her if a problem arises, and who does the program mostly serve. She informed us the that organization s doing very well and she has returning students wanting to volunteer more. She showed us where her office was and told us that if we were to take pictures that we have to approve it with her beforehand. The program mostly serves children, elderly people, and of course the people in that community.

I Will Eat All of That!

As I was reading this article, this one sentence stuck out to me.

“Learning plays a crucial role in their model because a child learns not how much food to eat, but also which foods to eat. Associative learning processes are important because certain foods can be associated with positive consequences or negative consequences.”

At a young age I was never taught how much food I should or should not be eating nor was I ever forced to eat something I didn’t like. My mom always let me eat what I wanted. I remember being four years old and going to McDonald’s with my mom and brother. He always ordered a big mac while I got stuck with the happy meals. One day I got fed up with the little meal I was getting and asked my mom for a big mac. She didn’t argue one bit, she ordered me the big mac and I ate every bit of it. I didn’t know back then that McDonald’s was such a horrible food industry or that maybe a four year old shouldn’t have been eating that much. I was hungry and wanted more food, the thought process didn’t go any further. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate my vegetables, fruits, and rarely turned down any kind of food that was presented my way. It wasn’t until I reached my teenage years when I started observing what are considered healthy foods. I honestly do not believe in forcing your child to eat something simply because it may be good for them. Why not save you the headache, your child the tears, and find either an alternative way to prepare the awful food group they may not like or find a different source of the same nutrients? Having your child witness a negative consequence all because they didn’t eat something you wanted them to, in my opinion will only led them to be closed minded to different food groups and cultures.


Happy Meals

As I was reading this article I began to think about my own family experiences around the dinner table. All of them are pleasant, but a majority of them are centered around the television. My dad always talked about how as a child his mother would invite his entire family over for dinner every night and how he missed that feeling. Oddly enough, he is usually the one who will turn the television on first thing and won’t say a word throughout the meal unless it pertains to the show. My mom and I use to turn the television off on my dad so that dinner could be the time to tell everyone about your day, but that didn’t go over so well. So now my mom and I just talk over the television about whatever comes to mind. Not a perfect family meal at all, but we still give each other the opportunity outside of dinner to come to one another and talk about whatever need be. From this example, the article was right when it hinted that throughout the years some things that were the norm and maybe even a necessity way back when no longer have the same desired feeling. The article argued a lot about happy family meals linking to a decrease in alcohol and drug abuse. I find myself disagreeing with this statement and agreeing more so that the decrease starts within a family that has well communication skills and trust. Families shouldn’t only have dinner time to open up with their love ones, but any time they please no matter what the activity at hand may be. I have witnessed plenty of friends who’s families have forced them to eat dinner together and right after their meal the child or even parent for that sake  feels so overwhelmed that they lean towards alcohol or drugs for an escape. The article stated an incident where the father would complain about the daughters weight, forcing her to eat less around him and then binge eat behind closed doors. Maybe the father thought he was doing what was right, but bottom line he was only making his daughter less healthy and more overweight. Family dinners shouldn’t be the time where negative feelings flood the table, those feelings should be left at the door. Families should stop worrying about the ideal happy family meal and concentrate more on getting to understand their family members. I’m not saying that happy family meals do not exist, I applaud the ones that do. On the other hand, the ones that struggle with this need to be given deeper thought.