Living Sustainably and Eating Locally with Alex Duprey

Name: Alex Duprey

Year: Sophomore

Age: 19

Hometown: Dunedin, FL

Major: Environmental Studies

Her Campus (HC): So, I know you are very involved around the campus. What exactly do you have on your plate right now?

Alex Duprey (AD): I’m currently the Assistant Director of the Office of Student Sustainability, the Sustainability Chairperson for the Environmental Service Program, and I help out with the Ethical Food Association.

HC: Oh wow! That's definitely a lot. Is there one organization that you are most invested in right now?

AD: Right now, I’d have to say the Office of Student Sustainability. It’s a bureau through SGA that promotes sustainability around campus. We have a little more power to get things done. We just had a movie screening, we have a garden awareness party at the end of the year, and we are also promoting the Green Fund. The group has definitely gotten me more involved in local environmental groups around town.

HC: That sounds pretty awesome. What have you guys accomplished around campus so far?

AD: Those water bottle refilling stations in Strozier and the gym? We made those happen. We also have a program called Recycle Bike which provides students with bikes so that they don’t have to drive to school anymore. We promote the FSU garden as well!

HC: Are there any initiatives that you have spearheaded?

AD: I’ve gotten really involved in the food side of Environmental Studies. I’m interested in sustainable agriculture. I want to produce food in a way that is environmentally neutral. My New Year’s Resolution is to eat more locally and what I really want to do is bring that to campus. I’d love to see more vegetarian and vegan options in our dining halls and food court. Some more locally grown food too. But that will definitely be quite the undertaking.

HC: It sounds like there is a link between eating vegetarian and being environmentally conscious. 

AD: Vegetarian and vegan food is SO important if you’re an environmentalist. The environmental implications of meat are worse than driving a car to school every day!

HC: Oh wow, how so?

AD: Think about how meat gets to your table. You have to raise the cattle, the pork, the chicken. That means you need land to grow food, then you grow the food, you transport it, you process it, you feed it to the animals. Factory farming creates so much land, air, and water pollution it’s crazy. This causes damaged drinking water and carbon emissions. 60 billion animals are killed around the world every year so that people can eat them. When you think about what it takes to get them to your plate, that number is insane.

HC: How do you think we could get more people to make the transition to no meat?

AD: It would really entail a cultural change, a change in the way we identify ourselves. In American culture, meat is seen as natural. We have canine teeth so we are meant to eat it! But in a world with so many other healthy protein options, it’s not necessary. It’s about changing this mentality. But it’s the direction we need to go in. Otherwise we will go down a downward slope of unhealthy eating.

HC: So you must be a vegetarian or a vegan. What was that process like?

AD: Well, about three years ago, I watched this horrifying documentary called Earthlings about factory farming. I figured if I was going to continue eating meat I wanted to feel good about it. So I watched it and I did NOT feel good about it. So I decided to stop eating pork, chicken, and beef. I didn’t feel the same ethical implications about fish. Plus fishing is such a big part of Florida culture, cutting that out was hard. But then I learned about all the implications of fishing, like bycatch, and overfishing, and decided to stop eating it too. I had issues with dairy so I cut that out recently and have never felt better!

HC: What would you recommend to all the Collegiettes who read this and want to go vegan?

AD: You could watch a gross documentary like I did that was pretty bad. You could also just look up facts about the implications of meat. Some people are drawn to the emotional side of it, others to the environmental side. And then just break up your week. Have meatless Mondays and then just slowly add more days. For about the first month you’ll miss the taste of meat. Then you’ll realize it’s not the meat you miss, it’s really the herbs and spices and that’s something that you can recreate without meat!

HC: Are there any good vegetarian/vegan restaurants around town?

AD: That’s such a good question, sometimes that’s really hard to find! But Sweet Pea is really great, their food is vegan and they compost. Bread and Roses is a co-op grocery store with a café next door. You get a lot of food for your money. All Saints Café’s cookies are out of this world. And they’re vegan. Oh! And Soul-Veg is the beacon of hope on the horizon for vegans. They serve vegan southern soul food. Their mac and cheese will change your life.

HC: We will definitely have to give that a taste! So where do you see yourself in the future? What’s the ideal goal?

AD: I like the idea of sustainable agriculture as well as sustainable living. In an ideal Alex-world I will be working with the United Nations in their environmental program, helping third world countries and developing nations build and grow their economies while limiting consumption to a point where they are still sustainable. What’s so great about sustainable living is it provides an opportunity for people to come together and really form a strong community and culture. The potential benefits that this change in lifestyle creates are truly endless!