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.