Food plays a pretty big role in our lives. After all, you need food to fuel your body. You also cook and share meals to celebrate your successes, to grow closer with friends and family, to show your affection.
But could your food shopping and eating habits be more sustainable? Embracing sustainability at home and lessening our impact on the environment is an incredibly important endeavor that everyone can help with.
Not sure how to incorporate some eco-friendly habits into your kitchen? Here are a few ways everyone can shop, cook and eat a little more sustainably.
Sustainable Eating and Shopping Tips
Find your food at a local CSA or farmers’ market.
If you’re on a mission to incorporate sustainability into your diet, getting your food locally can be a great place to start. See if you can find a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm to join. In most cases, participants pay upfront for the season’s harvest and receive fresh vegetables and fruits on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
If you can’t find a CSA in your area or don’t want to commit to frequent deliveries, see if you can locate a local farmer’s market. These often pop up on weekend mornings or weekday evenings in parks and parking lots and offer local farmers an opportunity to set up shop and sell their products. You’ll often find far more than fresh fruits and veggies – think locally harvested honey, jams, preserves, and bread.
Eat food that’s in season!
Have you ever stopped to consider how you can find fresh oranges on the shelves of your local grocer in the middle of winter? Chances are, lots of the fruits and vegetables you see are shipped from far away. Instead of spending money on food that’s left a pretty big carbon footprint on the planet, opt for as many in-season options as possible. Joining a farm share or CSA can make this easy, but if you’re on your own a little research will show you what’s in season in your area.
Grow a garden.
It doesn’t get any more local than this! Learning to grow your own food can be a great way to live more sustainably and serve your family fresh, healthy foods while you’re at it. Do a little research, prepare a plot in your backyard, and plant your favorite fruits and veggies for the season ahead.
Don’t have a yard? Live in an urban area? You can still grow something fresh and green to eat! Sit a few potted herbs on your windowsill to grow, try these vertical garden ideas, or find a community garden to help out in. Incorporate homegrown products wherever you can and you’ll eat well and rest easy!
Make sure you eat what you buy.
An easy way to ensure you’re practicing sustainability in the kitchen is to actually eat the food you purchase. The statistics on food waste are alarming. Uneaten food accounts for a tremendous amount of the resources spent growing, transporting and preparing food – and if you aren’t adding it to a compost pile, it’s probably going straight to a landfill. Be conscious of the food you buy each week and make a plan to incorporate it all into your family’s menu.
Learn to preserve food.
On the theme of food waste, learning to pickle and preserve food can be a great way to eliminate waste and create delicious treats to devour later. Find yourself with too many cucumbers? Make a quick brine and pickle ‘em! Left with lots of fruits at the end of the season? Consider making a jelly, jam or preserve to spread on bread. Look up an easy recipe to follow online or read up on the basic concepts of preserving and have fun experimenting!
What sustainable habits have you developed around your diet? How do the choices you make in the kitchen benefit our environment? Leave a comment and let us know!
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