5 Easy Ways to Eat Greener for Earth Day
With Earth Day this Sunday, here are five easy ways you can eat a little greener:
1. Eat More Whole, Organic Foods
Cheap food costs more. Buying cheap, pre-packaged food costs much more in the long run. It might be cheaper at the checkout line, but by every other measurable standard, it costs a great deal more. The environmental impact is often enormous because the food is shipped in from other countries, “created” and packaged somewhere else, and then transported yet again to the store you buy it from. The processing typically drains nutrients from the food, and the preservation also adds unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals to the food you ingest. Buying organically grown and locally produced food keeps you healthy and decreases your carbon footprint. Read the ingredients on your next grocery excursion. If you don’t recognize an item listed, don’t buy it. Read more in our blog post ‘A Case for Organics’.
2. Start a Garden
Growing your own food is the surest way to keep the world greener; with the added benefit of knowing exactly where your food came from. And starting a garden is no longer the endeavor it once was – building raised beds takes just a few old boards, a few nails or screws, and some good old fashioned elbow grease. Maintaining a garden that grows some of your favorite produce takes only a few hours a week, and really helps reduce the impact on the environment. Imagine walking out in the morning and picking some of your own strawberries for breakfast!
3. Eat out local
Now that you’ve got your eco-friendly garden going, celebrate with a meal at your favorite restaurant. Want to help the environment at the same time? Make your new favorite restaurant one that uses only local ingredients. The benefit is three-fold: First, you reduce the carbon footprint of your meal when the restaurant you patronize uses only local ingredients. Second, and most important, you will experience some delicious new recipes. Locally grown organic food is, by definition, better and you will taste it in your favorite dishes. Finally, you can feel great about eating out because you know you are helping the environment while savoring another delicious meal.
4. Bring the Farm to Your Table
If a garden doesn’t suit your schedule, or if you want to bolster what you are currently growing, you can have locally grown, certified organic produce delivered to your doorstep. A CSA or farm-to-table box program allows local farms to get their fresh, delicious produce to people throughout the area. The produce is usually grown locally, given the season, and if the farm is certified organic, you know that no pesticides or GMO’s were used. You can sign up for a season (some programs offer year-round service) and experience what real farm-fresh produce is on a weekly basis. And did I mention some can be delivered right to your door?
5. Eat Grass Fed and Pasture
Raised Meat – (and why freezers are so cool!) A lot of store-bought meat is shipped in from other areas, laden with added hormones and antibiotics. Those hormones and antibiotics stay in the meat after it’s processed and end up in your body. By looking for grass fed and pasture-raised meat, you are guaranteed to get healthier food that tastes better. The environment will be happier because those hormones and antibiotics won’t end up back in the soil and water supply, and your palate will be happier with the increased quality of food. If you are feeling ambitious, you and some friends can go in together and purchase a whole or partial animal, to be slaughtered and butchered locally. Some farm-to-table services like Full Circle even have grass-fed and pasture-raised meat available to add to your weekly order. You can then store this meat in a freezer and have great food available to you year round. That’s why freezers are so cool!
What are you doing this year for Earth Day to start reducing your carbon footprint? Share your tips in the comments below. If you are interested in reducing your waste, check out our post Three Easy Steps to Waste Less.