Eating sustainably is choosing nutritious foods for our own bodies while also making choices to support the health of our earth. Practicing sustainability reduces the use of fossil fuels and other limited natural resources, protects our animals and plants from chemicals, preserves the nutrients in soil and retains the optimal nutrient level in our produce.
A great way to practice sustainability is to shop locally. Shop at your local farmers markets. The money you spend at the market stays within the local economy and the majority of the money is used towards the quality of the food. On the other hand shopping at a supermarket, the money will move out of state. A small percentage of the money is used towards quality due to the array of other costs, such as transportation of food.
Do something fun with the family and grow your own herbs or produce at home. Planting a tomato plant, green bean seeds or potting a couple herb plants during the warm weather will be fun for the family and provide a sense of appreciation for food. Planting and growing will allow the family to appreciate the work that goes into the care of the plants. After weeks or months of caring for your plants, when you finally sit down at dinner to eat what you have grown, it will be satisfying and self-fulfilling. Taking the time to grow your own produce will make you aware of food waste in the future because you appreciate the time and patience it takes to grow.
Eating in season
is an important part of making sustainable food choices. One of my favorite things is a fresh juicy tomato in the summer, slicing it on my sandwich or with fresh mozzarella. Tomatoes are the most fresh and juiciest in the summer because that is when they naturally grow.
When you see tomatoes in the supermarkets in January, you can assume that those are not fresh and juicy and traveled a long way to get to the supermarket. Attached is a seasonal food guide that will help you figure out which foods are in season in your area and where to get them.http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/
. Seacoast Eat Local also publishes a local foods chart in Seacoast Harvest.
To support our environment and make a change towards promoting sustainability, the two most important factors are where you spend your money and spreading the word. Spend your money on local produce and encourage others to shop locally along with growing at home. You can make a difference and talk to your local food vendors to encourage them to buy locally for their stores.