Food: Six Steps to Eating More Sustainably

I must admit as I begin this post that I’ve debated on exactly how to approach the subject of eating sustainably without loosing most readers within the first line. This seems to be an issue which evokes a full spectrum of responses: red hot passion on one end, and a complete laissez-faire response on the other. If you fall in the latter, thank you for making it through an entire paragraph.

And wherever you fall in the spectrum, I’m simply hoping this post will make you think. If it  provokes you to learn more, educate someone else, or change something small about the way you live, then that’s even better.

One short definition to get us on the same page, and then six simple changes you can make. Choose all six. Or choose one. Or just choose to become more aware…

Sustainable agriculture involves food production methods that are healthy, do not harm the environment, respect workers, are humane to animals, provide fair wages to farmers, and support farming communities.” This quote is taken directly from SustainableTable.org, an incredible resource for education on eating and living more sustainably.

1. Plant a garden. It can be huge or it can be tiny. I live in a 600sqft condo and my patio is full of pots just waiting for the last frost to pass. Find a Community garden or a neighbor with a garden and offer to help. This is as fresh and local as it can get.

2. Support your local CSA. Fresh food for you while supporting local farmers and building community: to learn more about Community Supported Agriculture read this. To find a CSA near you check out this Department of Agriculture page.

3. Visit and buy products from local Farmers Markets. Many markets offer not only local fruits and vegetables, but also surprisingly affordable partial animal purchases, fresh eggs, and dairy products that are produced sustainably. Find a farmers market near you with this easy search tool.

4. Dine and shop sustainably. It’s easier than ever to find stores that sell and restaurants that serve food that has been grown or raised with sustainable methods. Click here and simply enter your zip code. By choosing to support these vendors, you are in essence casting your vote to maintain sustainable food for all of us.

5. Read labels and ask questions. Begin to discover what you’re eating, where it comes from, and how it is produced. Unfortunately, an organic label or picture of a happy farm on a food package does not necessarily equate to wholesomeness. Learn what to ask here and how to shop here.

6. Watch a movie or read a book about the actual state of food in our nation. After watching Food, Inc last week in class, I cried on the drive home. And have several times since. But that’s exactly why I’m compelled to sneak this post in between the fresh pastas and close-up cookie shots. This truly matters. Food, Inc is available on Netflix and is about ninety minutes. The Meatrix is a bit hokey, but has a good message and can be seen in less than four minutes by clicking here. Any book by Michael Pollan, such as The Omnivore’s Delimma or In Defense of Food, will make you think.

And thinking is the first step. Think. Act. Enable change.

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42 thoughts on “Food: Six Steps to Eating More Sustainably

  1. Thank you so much for posting this!!! Please remind me to write a quote on the lecture board if you can remember 😉 I’ve been meaning to for weeks. I don’t know if everyone in class gets to read your blogs.
    “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” -Masanobu Fukuoka

    • Oh Jami, I love this quote! Please do write it up tomorrow. Maybe everyone will read it as we’ll have test review too up on the board 🙂 Thank you for being the first comment and for supporting this- you just never know how people react. You rock, ya know?!

  2. Excellent post Deb! I too cried watching Food, Inc. and then I watched Food Matters. There are several new films out that I’d like to see. Supporting our local farmers, CSA’s is so vital to the health of our communities. Thanks so much for discussing this sometimes heated subject.

    • Thank you Karista for falling on the side of caring about sustainability. I’m sure you are able to incorporate this into your work daily and that is HUGE! Thank you for that. There are many more books I want to read now and films to see…

  3. It’s wonderful to read on issues that are really close to people’s hearts and I believe it informs people of not only who you are but who you will be as a chef too 🙂 I feel so lucky that we have a little balcony garden, we get very excited when the new season Tom Thumbs ripen in summer, I get alpine strawberries in the spring and last season we threw in a mango seed for nutrition and now that’s sprouting too! I love that little patch of dirt that helps us to feel closer to nature…

  4. Really good stuff! And thank you for listing a variety of informational resources. I’ve never watched Food, Inc., but now I am curious.

    • Thanks Laura. It’s not an ‘enjoy it’ kind of movie, but it’s definitely worth watching. It is motivating and ends on a positive slant that change really can happen 🙂

  5. I can’t tell you how excited your post made me for gardening this year! : ) My peas and lettuce are planted…..aspargus coming up out of the ground faster than I can keep up with it! I am so ready to get some sun on these Colorado legs and reap the benifit of fresh fruit/veggies! Thanks for a great post! Enjoy your weekend : )

    • Yay Taya!! And you have one of the best gardens ever!! I’m glad you liked the post. Just counted this morning and I have 33 pots on my patio to grow fruits, veg, herbs, and a few flowers 🙂 You have a wonderful weekend too… get some sun on those legs before your race 😉

  6. I agree with all six of your great points. My family and I just watched Forks over Knives and it was really impactful for my boys to see. They are definitely thinking a lot more about what they put in their mouths.

    • Thank you, TBA 🙂 Not sure if it’s entirely free… you do have to wade through my daily ramblings 😉
      This is an issue that somehow is hitting me hard; in a good way. Maybe I will be able to educate more in time~

    • For some reason your comment ended up in my spam, and i just found it! I’m sorry to have not replied sooner. I am so glad you liked this information and I love that you are making changes!! You have no idea how happy that makes me 🙂 We can make such a difference in small ways, and I’m just beginning to learn some of them. Always room to grow. And it would be fun if there’s a community garden near you 🙂 Thank you, Sandra!

  7. What a fantastic post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I write a food blog that has a sustainability focus. This post is brilliant and is exactly the sort of thing that I am posting about. Would you be interested in doing a guest blog spot on my blog? http://mizrhi.wordpress.com/ We would love to have you!

    • Wow, Mizrhi! Absolutley! I’d love to do a trade, as I think it would be wonderful for my readers to hear from you as an expert from the environmental side as well! 🙂 I love your site and your approach. I haven’t done a guest post before (or had a guest post on my site) so you might have to tell me how it works 🙂

    • Congrats on all six! That’s wonderful, especially for a family of five! I’m glad you found me, and I just checked out your blog and love it 🙂 This will be fun~

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