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Meet Julia Ranney,
Edible Baja Arizona Intern

Julia attends Oberlin College and is studying Politics, Environmental Studies, and Hispanic Studies.

July 15, 2016

Julia Ranney is a Tucson native currently studying at Oberlin College.

Julia Ranney is a Tucson native currently studying at Oberlin College.

Dearest Prickly Pears, I am here!

Who is this, you ask? I’ll tell you! My name is Julia Ranney. I was born and raised in Tucson, and I currently attend Oberlin College where I study Politics, Environmental Studies, and Hispanic Studies. I am also an extremely passionate foodie, eager to spread my knowledge far and wide.

I grew up in a family that always made healthy food a priority, but my food passions were really sparked in eighth grade when I first viewed the documentary Food Inc. I was astounded by the concept of agribusiness and its links to food access and animal mistreatment. This made me curious about the other aspects of food I didn’t know, so I went looking. From Genetically Modified Organisms to strange chemicals hiding in our food to worker’s rights and food deserts, I wanted to know it all. Even today you can find me at the farmer’s market inquiring about sourcing and fair trade certification or on my computer researching recipes or milk products with a high animal welfare standard. From all of this information I was able to become a truly conscious consumer, but I soon discovered that knowledge about the food I personally consumed was only the first step.

Salsa: a primary food group? Possibly.

Salsa and a veggie burger: sounds like the makings of a great meal.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” –Michael Pollan

I believe and follow wholeheartedly the preceding quotes, but I also recognize their limitations. From what I’ve learned these last five years, there is a lot more to food than just the act of consuming it. Food security, food sovereignty, food waste, and food production are all huge factors that go into the creation of something as simple as a carrot. Furthermore, there are huge environmental considerations and trade agreements to consider. Rather than simplifying, our food system has become further lodged in a complicated transnational system, which has serious ramifications for local farmers, workers, and environments. I believe that the more people learn and understand this information, the better our chances are of achieving transparency, equality, and integrity in our every last bite.

As these passions evolved and I started my freshman year of college, I wanted to make improving the food system a part of my future career goals, but I wasn’t sure what the correct path was for me. There were so many different ways to engage in shaping food policy and culture. I could pursue law, policy, education, cooking, gardening, journalism, social entrepreneurship, etc. The possibilities were endless! Being industrious, I decided I would try out as many paths as possible in order to see what fit best for my overarching mission. I cook regularly, I love gardening, I’m studying environmental policy, and I’ve given food education a try, but I still haven’t found the right niche. So here I am, excited to explore food journalism, local restaurants, and local food initiatives in Tucson with Edible Baja Arizona, incorporating the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years! Please join me and embrace the power of knowing more about the world we live in!

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