Last night I spent a few hours looking at the time and credits needed to finish my degree.  At this time I’m working toward a degree in Horticulture with a focus on specialty food crop production and taking classes for an interdisciplinary study on organic agriculture.  I’ve tried to put into words why I’m studying horticulture, but I feel as though there is still a large part that I cannot yet put into words and when I try I find myself bumbling on.

I’m interested in the practicality of growing food for people.  I want to understand how food grows and participate in growing it for people who cant grow it for themselves.  But I’m also interested in what people should grow for health benefits.  It might be fun to grow lettuce, but if you have a limited space to grow food is that the best use of your space?  These are questions that I think about.  Is there food that people can grow that will be more healthy for them to grow than for them to buy at the store?  The third piece to this is the preparing food part.  I’m surprised at the stories I hear about people’s fears in the kitchen.  It seems that the people who cook food for their family (with an oven, not a microwave) are the minority.  I think that if people are going to grow food that is healthy they should be equipped to prepare it.

Studying horticulture is one piece of this puzzle.  The preparing food part is something that I don’t know that I can necessarily pursue as schooling option.  Culinary school, as I have seen, focus of training people in classical forms of cooking.  What I am interested in is basic cooking skills.  I want to help chip away at fears people might have with cooking.  Teaching people how to make foie grass is not practical when most of their meals on a weekly basis come from the microwave or a fast food kitchen.  The nutrition aspect of all of this is something that I recently found out I can do something about.  CSU offers a minor in Nutrition, and it’s open to any major of study.

I’m seriously considering dropping the organic agriculture study and picking up this nutrition minor.  It seems like this would be really beneficial in helping me look at the nutrition aspect of food at the same time I’ll be looking at the growing process.  I’ll take classes like: Human Nutrition, Nutrition Assessment, Community Nutrition, Nutrition in the Life Cycle, Integrative Nutrition and Metabolism, and a few others.  Sounds fun, huh?  The potential downside to going this route is that there is quite a bit of argument of what is really “nutritious.”  There are studies done to say that butter is bad for you– you must use margarine.  Other studies say that raw milk is better for you than pasteurized milk.  Much of the conversation sound similar to the organic vs. conventional farming argument.  But I think that in the end, having a minor in nutrition will give me some building blocks to work with.

Picking up a minor in nutrition seems to clear some of the fog that is my future career, but there is still a lot that is still unknown.  I feel like I’m heading into uncharted waters (although I don’t claim to be unique in my pursuits) know that there is a destination somewhere in the future even though I cannot see it from here.