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Case Study> The Green Life of Sarah Colantonio



The Green Life of Sarah Colantonio

My Case Study was Sarah Colantonio. Sarah is a professor at Millersville University and enjoys her going green lifestyle. She has decided to start going green becasue she is aware of how much she is helping the environment around her. She practices this lifestyle by taking care of herself by doing yoga and also shopping at Central Market. This is a topic is something that Sarah feels very strongly about.

Lancaster's Central Market (Click for video)



The Green Life of Sarah Colantonio

Central Market

What the research says

picture of Sarah

The Green Life of Sarah Colantonio

This case study is focused on Sarah Colantonio, a professor at Millersville University who lives a green, friendly, lifestyle. After several interviews with Sarah and following her around Central Market, one will be able to have a better understanding of how one can live a green lifestyle. The way that Sarah can live her lifestyle is something that most individuals will be able to accomplish as they aren’t huge lifestyle changes! Its all about how much time and work you want to put into it. This topic is something that Sarah is very interested in.

Sarah Colantonio not only has an effective teaching style but her personal and lifestyle is that in which many wish they could be. Sarah understands the new norms in living a green lifestyle and excels at it quite well just like the rest of her life. As a professor of communications and theater at Millersville University, Sarah surrounds her life trying to go as green as possible. Sarah currently teaches at Millersville University, and the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.

Chestnut Hill Café,’ located in Lancaster City, is a regular spot for Sarah to be found. Her friends own the café and she used to work there. You will sometimes find her there grading papers, checking her email, or just talking with some of her friends. I had the great opportunity to meet with Sarah at the Chestnut hill café’ and it’s a great atmosphere! It isn’t on the main streets of the city which is nice and parking was very easy to find! I walked in and the staff was very nice and friendly. They have a public computer that anyone can use and they even have pitchers of water that sit out on the countertop that you can just help yourself too. There were many different types of individuals there. Some were students, business men dressed in suits, and younger adults just relaxing and taking it all in. Sarah spends about three hours a week in the café which can sometimes be longer or shorter all depending on what her schedule is like and who she sees. Sarah said they have great food, she highly recommends the chicken caesar wrap. And although she isn’t a big fan of fudge, she said that doesn’t hurt to have that as a dessert but she does approve of the coffee cake! The owner of the Café went to great lengths to make sure that the inside of the building had that café’ feeling and atmosphere. He purchased ceiling fans that make the café’ very homey but also to give it that downtown feel. In addition, the way he decorated the bathroom feels homey also.. Sarah explained that when she was working there one day, a gentleman came in and after talking for a few minutes he mentioned that he was from Seattle and that some of the coffee shops that they have there look just like Chestnut Hill.

Sarah has a very small house and there isn’t really a spot to put a microwave and realized that if she needed to heat something up, she could just be able to use a pan. She just pays attention to what type of garbage she has. One month, Sarah’s electric bill was only $14.00. Compared to the $90.00 electric bill she had when her brother was living with her when he constantly had his computer running and he was always watching TV.Whenever her TV isn’t in use, she unplugs it, as well as her DVD player. She does not have a dishwasher nor a washer or dryer. She said its just all about adjusting her life. She doesn’t use her home computer because she can just come to the café to use their computer or when she is in her office at Millersville, she can just use the computer that is there.

The first green step that Sarah took was too eat all organic foods. She also takes yoga and bodywork classes at Briala Body Works. Taking these classes make her think about what she is eating. She said that, "The greatest thing about yoga is that it makes you aware of your body and your awareness of life and what your body needs as well as the people around you." She said, "The more she read about organic, the more she became interested." She stated that we live in a great area for an organic eater like herself. Lancaster is surrounded by all these farms and why not take that into account and start to buy locally. Like many of us, she loves to eat but she wants to make sure she is eating the healthiest way possible!

There are certain guidelines that eating organic follows. For example, if you like chicken, and want to eat organic chicken, those chickens have freedom when they are being raised, getting the right type of food and freedom to run around. They should try to be as happy as possible. On the flip side, inorganic chicken would consist of chickens are kept in a fenced in area falling on top of each other, getting fed whatever is the cheapest type of food for them just to make sure that they are getting fat. With veggies, they shouldn’t get sprayed with any type of chemicals, they should be freshly grown. Also, if veggies are shipped from a different countries, think about all those fumes and gas that are used to ship those veggies.

There is a huge controversy that Sarah mentions and that is the difference between eating organic or eating locally. Something may be organic but it has to travel by ship and truck to reach its destination therefore wasting all of that fuel and high emissions but then there is the local buy fresh where the food only has to travel five miles up the road. There is no set clear rule for how this process works. Many individuals and consumers just rely on their gut instinct to decide for themselves what they consider to be organic.

Going green has become very corporate, even in the sense that Walmart is just trying to get themselves into going organic and they now sell organic products. Sarah suggests that you truly don’t always know who you can trust with businesses placing organic labels on items. Which is why she has her own method. She only buys “organic” items that have been shipped within a 100 mile radius. A lot of research must be completed in order to figure out the background information and where the items are being shipped from, but if you care enough about making sure that you live a green lifestyle, this is a step that one will take in order to become familiar with the different options in order to keep you and your family healthy and on that green lifestyle track.

Sarah feels that the more local it is the better. Buying organic can be more expensive then regular food. By selling organic, it is very expensive as one needs to get more permits and documents also there are rules and regulations the growers have to follow in order to be considered a organic product. When asked about how she can afford to pay the prices, she said that she views buying organic like her healthcare. Although it is a lot of money, she feels like it will benefit her in the future in terms of having good health. She feels like she is a healthier person because of buying all the organically. She gives the example that she could run to McDonalds and buy herself a cheeseburger but she could also run to Central Market and buy the meat for $5.00 with that said “In the long run, I’m doing myself a favor.”

Central Market, which is located in Lancaster City, is one of Sarah’s favorite places. It is a huge warehouse where different vendors have a range of food, breads, treats, and merchandise. There are all types of different produce that they sell there. Some is regular produce, other is organic; its just a wide variety, also dairy, meat, cheeses and other endless items. Since Sarah only drinks milk in her cereal, she prefers to buy from Central Market as they sell all different sizes and they fit her lifestyle. The prices at central market are fairly cheaper compared to Giant or Stauffers Market.

One way that many people try to go green friendly is riding their scooters, walking or riding their bikes. Sarah fits right in as she loves to ride her bike around town. Living a little under two miles from the café, she rides her bike to the Pennsylvania school of Art and Design, Central Market and obviously The Chestnut Hill Café’. She explained that when she used to work at the café, she would ride her bike to work all the time.

At home, Sarah owns a dog named Frank who is a Yorkshire Terrier. Sarah quickly interjected while we talked about Frank, explaining that his name makes him sound bigger than he really is. She will take him out for daily walks, which is one way that she gets her exercise. She explains that for the most part, everyone in her community has a dog and everyone just gets along with everyone else. They are there for each other if someone needs something from the store, someone will offer to pick It up for someone else. Sarah stated that she does subscribe to Netflix so she does get some use out of her TV, even though, she doesn’t have cable. She is a big reader especially in the fiction genre. Sarah explained that she would also like to write a book which she hopes to continue into the future. She also visits her family as they live in the area. Besides having green goals, she has made a life goal of working towards getting her PHD which will help her further herself in her career as well as her education.

Although Sarah doesn’t know how to make her own clothes, she said she tries to buy well made clothing so that in the future she can just wear them year after year. Although it is a burden to put out all of that money on clothes, its nice not to worry about clothes shopping every fall and summer. One item that Sarah sometimes wishes she had was a garden so that she could grow her own products. She said that she ate lettuce from a friends garden this past summer, and now, she can’t even eat regular lettuce because it wasn’t the same as her friends. Although it would be nice to have the garden, Sarah mentioned that it isn’t as much down her alley than it is some of her friends or colleagues. Everyone has their own knack and certain thing that they like or have nterest in when it comes to going green but gardening might not be for everyone, and Sarah is just one of those individuals. It doesn’t mean that she will never have one, she just hasn’t had the spark to have her own yet. She suggests that if someone is interested in creating their own, it would be worth it especially since one can grown their own vegetables and fruit.

Water is something that many people take for granted! Whether it is drinking water or water to shower in, many of us don’t think about conserving but Sarah mentioned that she only uses as much water as needed. As long as you can get cleaned, that’s all that matters. Sarah also tries to keep as less garbage in her house as possible. After we go shopping, you know all of those plastic bags we have? Some of us just throw them out and others may keep them to use as a junk bag, but Sarah will use them as her physical trash bags. As a result, in the long run this effort will save her a lot of money. Sarah mentions that by living close to the things that she loves is beneficial because it helps to cut down on the use of her car. This will in turn can help stay healthy and fit

Sarah’s favorite organic food is dairy because she has seen videos of the maltreatment of cows. She also likes to eat a lot of pasta, soup, cereal and a lot of fruit, in fact, she eats more fruit than her veggies. Cheese and crackers are her favorite snack. Something that I had never heard of before but Sarah purchases organic juice. She offer me a tip about organic orange juice, she mentions that it can be very expensive but she actually waters it down which gives her double of the product. She buys the can of juice, puts half of it in another bottle, then adds water from a Brita filter to both of them, using one right away and storing the other one when the first bottle runs out. She said that the original juice is very sweet and she actually learned the trick from her friend who gave their children water downed juice. Sarah made sure to tell me that she hopes I don’t think she is a cheap skate but you have to learn how to cut corners but it is a great way to make sure that you can save some of your money.

Sarah drives a grey 2001 Volkswagon Golf Diesel which gets about 50 mpg and she also bought a conversion kit to be installed on the Gulf but its just sitting in her living room as she doesn’t know how to install it. With the kit, it can run the Gulf on vegetable oil, which was the reason that she purchased the diesel so that the kit could be put on. To have the kit put on by a professional, it costs about $1000 which in the long run will be worth it but right now, its not something that needs to be added right away.

Central Market

Sarah and I decided to meet up at Central Market in the center of Lancaster City so that I could take some photos of her weekly shopping trip. Of course it was raining that day and not being much of a city boy, it was somewhat nerve racking driving in the city and on top of that, trying to find a parking spot. Once I found a spot, I walked up to the old brick building where there was a banner hanging. A man was out at the entrance passing out a newsletter about what is going on around the city of Lancaster. There were several doors that one can enter from the outside but there is one on the corner that they consider to be the entrance. I walked around the outside of the building and the structure work was amazing. There was also a group of bikes all chained up. As I stepped back, the bike rack is actually in the shape of a huge bicycle. Sarah arrived and she took me on my first tour of Central Market. We walked in and it was crowded! Business people where passing me left and right making sure that they got their daily brew for the day before they went into work. Sarah tried to give me a quick run down of how the whole process works. It was actually really cool. Each vendor has their own stand with their own produce on it.

They usually have the name of their company above them and they always seemed to be running around taking care of each customer as best as possible. Sarah modeled her canvas bag that she brings whenever she goes shopping there. I was trying to take photos but also trying to take in all the sights and the way that business was done there. We first stopped at a fruit stand where Sarah bought a bag of grapes. It wasn’t exactly the cheapest bag of grapes I have seen but Sarah said they are the best she has ever had. Next stop was the cheese stand, I never knew there could be so many different types of cheeses under one roof. Just like in the grocery store, Sarah tries to shop for the best deals around there, and is always willing to try something knew that a vendor may have or that a vendor recommends. One of my favorite vendors was the dairy staff. They were very friendly and have all types of milk as well as different sizes, ultimately having a size for every type of person, whether you live by yourself, or have a huge family. They were very open to having their picture taken and thanked us for stopping by and for the purchase.

As we’re walking down one of the aisles, a woman’s voice starts shouting “Sarah, Sarah”. After being introduced, Sarah and her friend met here a few months ago and have a friendship built on just seeing each other all the time at the market. Her friend told me that the market is just a nice place to meet new people but its so nice to be able to keep in touch with old friends who you may see in passing, it’s a fun time because you just go to do your shopping but you also may see your friends which makes it even more better and a fun shopping experience.


The next vendor that we moved onto was the bread ladies. There were so many different types of breads especially for me since I’m a bread lover, needless to say, I was in heaven. They had every type of bread you could think of and they all smelled so good and felt so fresh. Sarah buys bread at this stand for her breakfast in the morning. This would be a great vendor to buy rolls for a spaghetti dinner one night.

In the passing of other vendors, I saw flowers that would be perfect to buy for my next date, different types of merchandise that would be great to buy as a gift and a soft pretzel stand that looked like the best soft pretzels around town! Sarah stopped at a vegetable stand. I had no idea what some of these items were, I didn’t even know that they existed! Sarah knew exactly what she needed and introduced me to a new type of veggie, seedless cucumber. There is also other food stands there that you can eat right away such as a burrito stand. All their chicken is organic that they use which make some shoppers very friendly, they also sell juice there which not a lot of people have heard of before.

We continued our adventure in Central Market and stopped at a fudge vendor, although I didn’t try any, it looked very good and the aroma was amazing. Sarah knew the woman who was working the stand and they were talking for a little. Sarah reminded me that the more I shop here, the more I will get to know other shipper as well as the staff of vendors. We moved around to the opposite side of the warehouse and there was a woman who was selling another type of cheese, Sarah had mentioned that one of her friends used a type of goat cheese in omelets once and wanted to try to find if she could match the taste of it. The woman told her to try this one sample and sure enough, that was the one. Sarah bought a container of it and the woman instructed that the more of a product that you buy, the better you save in costs. The last stop was the Pink Lady Apples, for apples, I thought that these were relatively cheap and Sarah said that these are the best apples to purchase because they are organic but they are also delicious.

Sarah told me that a big tip to keep in mind the next time that I go to Central Market is to try to always bring cash. This way the transaction is much easier and there are actually a few vendors who do not have a credit/debit machine. It was definitely noticeable that there are some price differences on some of the products compared to what you can buy in the grocery store, but if you are someone who is very interested in buy fresh, buy local, than this is your best bet! I think the overall feeling while someone is shopping there is that you don’t mind paying those prices because it is a completely different atmosphere at Central Market compared to your usual grocery store, which is why people would prefer to shop at the market even though they may find themselves paying a little extra.

After shopping for about 45 minutes, Sarah completed her shopping and was all set for the food that she needed in order to cook her meals for the upcoming week. It was a great experience and something that the Lancaster community needs to become more familiar with.

What the Research Says

If one was to search on the internet about living a green lifestyle, hundreds of results with different information would show up. I performed the same search cross-referencing some information that Sarah discussed with me. There is a article that talks about 12 Ways to Green Up Your Kitchen from The Food Channel. Below are the tips that they give their readers and some are actually used by Sarah.

1. Plant a garden

2. Use appliances more efficiently

3. Use compact fluorescent lighting

4. Ditch the plastic water bottles

5. Buy from the produce bin

6. Buy locally grown

7. Use reusable, not disposables

8. Neither paper nor plastic

9. Conserve water

10. Clean green

11. Eat more veggies, less meat

12. Eat more home-cooked meals

These items are being implanted at several different homes in all different countries, people are realizing that it is In fact very easy to leave a healthy green lifestyle. In some cases, it isn’t even the parents that are trying to start this lifestyle, its actually their children who are learning about it in school, and they get the determination to add these new changes into their homes.

Water is always something that many individuals love to consume, but they don’t realize the other potential purpose that water can serve. The following tips were given in order to try to conserve water as best as possible from a site called

1. Instead of running your water while you are washing off fruit or veggies, just put water in a bowl and then wash the fruit or veggies in there. Once you are finished with washing off the items, then you can use that leftover water to water a few plants.

2. When you boil that hot water for food, use the leftover water to dump it onto weeds which can eventually kill them.

3. Instead of filling the sink up with soapy water all the way to the top of the sink, only fill it up a few inches which can save you a few gallons of water. Fill the other side of the sink with another few inches of water so that you can rinse all the plates off.

4. Then there is the obvious way to conserve water, such as turning off the sink water while you are brushing your teeth.

In an article called Nature Yoga: Getting Active and Going Green, the author suggests of how well yoga is for you and how it can really help you connect with yourself. The author talks about how she was showing her daughter how to complete the “tree pose”, the author follows up with because her and her daughter can do an activity together but they are also living a better life because of their practice of yoga.

Although Sarah Colantonio is a very busy individual, holding down two teaching jobs and thinking about applying for a PHD program, she still makes it a point in her life to try to life the greenest lifestyle possible. Although some things she does to live green aren’t as big as others, she still makes it a point to work it into her schedule and by doing that, she feels better about herself.














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