Tips for Eco Friendly Eating
Earth Day is upon us! A time to be thankful for this wonderful planet we live on, as well as raise awareness and support the efforts of protecting and providing for it, as it does for us.
Sometimes, with all the information out there it’s hard to know where to start. Fear not, loyal friend, I have compiled a simple list of helpful tips and great small steps to take in going more eco-friendly in the kitchen and involving buying food.
Ready? Let’s go!
Eating local and more sustainably:
When buying produce. fresh meat and dairy, try to buy from farmers locally, or at least a market that stocks locally grown produce. Not only does it help support jobs and community, but because the food has less far to travel, it uses less energy, creates less carbon emissions with less waste, and best of all, is fresher and better tasting food!
When at all possible, try and eat organic. It can be more expensive but if you are concerned about pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and other cides on your food, organic is your best defense. Not only is it better for you, but it has far less negative environmental impact. Ideally, we’d eat as much local and organic as we can.
Helpful tip/tool: Find local farms, CSA’s, markets, and events by typing in your zip code on this great LocalHarvest site.
Not all the food we want to eat is grown locally, right? Well, some non local foods could have a smaller carbon footprint than local foods, depending on scale, practices, production methods, etc. Digging in and asking questions can help explain things better. If you buy fair trade or direct trade, you are supporting positive economic growth and social welfare in developing regions of the world that have amazing foods to offer that your local area may not be able to grow, like coffee and chocolate. During a sustainability panel at Paleo f(x), our own Hilary Bromberg and Diana Rodgers of SustainableDish talked about the importance of knowing where you’re getting these kinds of foods, so you don’t end up indirectly or unwittingly supporting child slavery and economic injustice! So don’t fret because plantains or cacao beans don’t grow where you live — just make sure to ask questions and buy products that are grown in a socially and environmentally friendly way. Read more on this topic on these great resource sites: Why buy fair trade? and Fair Trade vs Buy Local:Ethical Dilemma and support companies like Lulu’s or Fearless (any of the Barefoot Provisions chocolates, actually!) who use direct or fair trade cacao and work closely with the farms where their cacao is grown to ensure the best practices.
Which leads us to and overarching tenet: buy from conscious companies. Eco-friendly and sustainable practices are sometimes more difficult and can be more costly, but there are a lot of great companies out there that take the extra time and effort to do things the right way and we think it’s worth it. We carry a lot of them in our store. Take Heavenly Organics for example- the most bee friendly honey you will find…because we love bees! Without them, many plants and crops would go unpollinated and Heavenly Organics uses a much less invasive approach to obtaining their honey- the foragers actually go in quietly at night while the bees are sleeping as not to disturb them- no smoke or any other process that could harm them or the vegetation. Just take a look around the Barefoot store andyou’ll see many similar stories of companies that don’t take shortcuts.
And finally, leftovers and cut, trimmed, or peeled parts from veggies and fruit?Compost them! Composting helps take food waste and turns it into humus which helps replenish depleted soil. This is a great practice, especially if you plan on doing some gardening! How to compost, and why. (just click which you want to read about!)
If you can’t do it all, do what you can. Taking one step forward is what counts. Any effort we put towards eating more sustainably is a step in the right direction. How do you practice sustainability in your eating and waste habits?