While Iâ€™m on vacation until Aug. 9, Iâ€™m featuring several guest bloggers. Today’s guest post is from Tiffany who writes at the Natural Family Living Guide.
The World You Want is at the End of Your Fork
Most people spend a lot of time thinking about food. They think about meals they need to plan for their families, food they need to add to their grocery list, new restaurants they need to try, and the carb and calories counts of the foods they love. They have a lot of opinions about their food and what they like and dislike. But many are still not thinking about food in a meaningful way. They are not thinking about where their food comes from, how it gets to them, under what circumstances, and at what cost. There are social, environmental, and ethical considerations that often go unnoticed. The food you eat is important and it does have an impact on the world around you.
One particular quote that seems to sum it all up is taken from John Kinsman, a Wisconsin organic dairy farmer, who said “Every time you spend money on food you are voting for the world you want.”
So what can you do to make your dining experiences more ethical and sustainable? I have a few ideas about that.
Eat Organic – It is a sustainable method of food production and helps to ensure that our farmlands will be rich and productive for future generations. Most times when you hear any mention of organic food it is in relation to healthful eating and chemical exposure. It is usually a health related issue. This issue is actually much deeper than that. Organic agriculture is a strict form of sustainable agriculture; a way of producing food products without harming the land. Its main goal is to work the land without preventing future generations from being able to use it as well. Organic farmers try to conserve water and preserve the soil. They also sell locally many times helping to conserve energy and fossil fuels. Organics are a health issue AND an environmental one.
Eat Local – Eating local is better for air quality and pollution. Let’s face itâ€¦if your food has to travel thousands of miles to you then the planet is being needlessly polluted. Estimates on how long the average food travels from pasture to plate range from 1200 to 2500 miles. A lot of energy is expended freezing, refrigerating, and trucking that food around. Eating locally grown food means less fossil fuel burned in preparation and transport. Also, Supporting local farmers, especially organic farmers, means supporting sustainable agriculture.
Eat Less Meat – You don’t have to go vegetarian if you don’t want to, but it does help the environment to reduce meat consumption. We feed more than 70 percent of the grains and cereals we grow to farmed animals. Our taste for meat is also taking a toll on our supply of fuel and other nonrenewable resources: about one-third of the raw materials used in America each year is consumed by the farmed animal industry. In my opinion the problem is not that we eat meat or animal products but the volume to which we consume them and the way we go about producing those foods. A good book that discusses this is Full Moon Feast which talks about eating according to the phases of the moon and eating the way we did hundreds of years ago.
Eat Whole Foods – Eating foods that have not been processed and packaged helps the environment by reducing the amount of garbage going into landfills. Shop the outer section of the grocery store to avoid the processed foods.
Garden – Eliminate the middle man all together and grow your own foodâ€¦organically of course. It is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
Try It Out! Tips for Sustainable Eating:
- Try your hand at organic gardening. If you have no space for an actual in-ground garden then try to do container gardening. There is nothing like homegrown food!
- When planning your weekly menus try to see if you can incorporate at least 2-3 meatless meals a week. Reducing your meat consumption is a great leap towards greener living.
- Don’t just change what you eat: change how you package and store your food to. Reusablebags has a great selection of reusable food storage containers such as bento lunchboxes, wrap-n-mats, grocery totes and stainless steel water bottles.
So pick up your fork and join the revolution of people who want to change food and farming, creating better health and a better world.
You can read more from Tiffany at her blog, the Natural Family Living Guide, where she writes about green family living, parenting, natural health, safe children’s products, and homeschooling. Subscribe to her blog here.