The way that we eat impacts the environment, highlighting the importance of sustainable eating. Not only can we reduce our individual contribution to waste, but collectively, we can make a profound difference on the overall food-related carbon footprint. Let’s break down some simple actionable steps that we can implement to do our part.
Eat Seasonal Produce
Seasonal produce is not only better quality as it is tastier, juicer and more nutritious, but it is also lighter on the hip-pocket. If that is not enough to motivate you, it also supports local farmers and small businesses which enables them to run sustainable businesses to ensure that our future generations also have access to nutritious foods.
In addition, fruit and vegetables that are in season are more easily accessible and in abundance, making long haul transportation costs obsolete. This makes a huge impact upon the food-related carbon footprint. The best way to shop, not just for fun, is at your local farmers market. If you can’t make it, a quick search will educate you on what is in season. Hint, hint: if it’s cheap, it’s probably in season.
Less Animal Products, More Plant-Based Foods
It takes a huge amount of natural resources to mass produce animal products. Going vegan dramatically decreases our carbon footprint. If going vegan does not feel right 100% of the time, we can still make a big difference by simply eating only plant-based foods a few days a week.
Regardless of our eating philosophy, there is one thing that we all seem to agree on and it is that our plates should be full of plant foods, for both health and environmental benefits. If you have the means, always choose organic. By doing so, you’re not paying into a system that mistreats the planet with harsh chemicals.
Buy Fair Trade
When buying fair trade foods, we’re supporting a cause that’s invested in improving the working conditions of farmers as well as holding farms accountable for the environmental standards that they must comply with. Whether it’s a small chocolate bar or a box of cereal, buying fair trade means you’re purchasing products that were made with no GMOs, and with sustainably sourced soil and water.
Compost & Grow Your Own
Instead of tossing a lot of your food waste, start a compost bin. Composting allows minerals and nutrients to be recycled, so instead of creating trash, food becomes soil, which you can then use to grow your own food. Growing your own produce reduces the food mileage imprint on the earth, as well as how many resources are used to get the food to your table. If you live in an oversaturated city, look for community garden spaces where you can participate.
Shop in Bulk & Plan Meals
This will waste less packaging and the food you get will have required less transportation to get to you. Planning meals before going shopping and only buying as much as you need can help reduce household food waste, helping the environment and saving you money. Focussing on fresh produce and consciously reducing processed and packaged foods will also have mutual benefits.
Use Recycled and Reusable Kitchenware
Thrift shops and garage sales are a great place to pick up cheap perfectly good crockery, utensils, cookware and much more. It’s much more sustainable to use what’s already been produced than to require new products every time you have a kitchen need. Eating sustainably doesn’t meaning we should just focus in the food that we eat, it also means the utensils that we eat with.
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