Eating Away at the Environment
Food that is Tasty AND Good for the Environment
Food has the power to change the world. Everything that we eat has to come from somewhere right? We each eat about three meals a day, taking from the grocery stores, convenient shops, and mom’s fridge to support our consumption. To give you an idea, an average American adult eats around 1,996 pounds of food per year. Each human, on average, eats almost an entire TON of food in a year, meaning that with about 7 billion of us on the planet… let’s just say it becomes a lot of zeroes. That big of a number means a big impact. We never think that we as individuals can do a lot, but by being aware of where you get your food from, you have the potential to clean up the world, a ton at a time, a year at a time.
Another plus side, by sourcing our food from environmentally friendly sources, we are not sacrificing taste. Completely the opposite, as a matter of fact. Have you ever bitten into a fresh tomato, or tasted the juiciness of a peach, pear or apricot right from the tree? Anyone who has is never again completely satisfied with the food that has been picked out of season, sprayed with ethylene and shipped across the country. So, what are things that you can do to reduce the size of the food-print that you are leaving behind?
GIY: Grow It Yourself
The most obvious option is just to grow it yourself. Every pound of food that you can grow and substitute for foods that you would normally buy from a supermarket, as a pound that you have won back for the environment. That pound of food hasn’t been carted across the country, hasn’t been sprayed or fertilized with anything but what you choose, hopefully, things that are also healthy for the environment. By growing food yourself, you know where it came from and what might be in it. This not only keeps the environment cleaner; it keeps you and your family healthier! Teaching your kids what fresh food tastes like is a privilege that was never regarded as such for the thousands of years that we have been growing food. Now, we are well-acquainted with what a McDonald’s fry tastes like and yet have never had the real satisfaction of knowing what the sweet, tangy juice of a just-ripe peach tastes like. This can be done on many different scales, from tomatoes in pots on your back patio, to what many are calling micro-farms, where you can support an entire family’s food intake for the whole year on as little as a third of an acre!
Let’s face it though, many, if not most people, just don’t have the time or space to grow enough to feed their family for the year, even a quarter of what their intake might be. This doesn’t have to stop you though from eating well for you and the environment. Many small farms have taken this work off your hands and are supplying their area with great, healthy food choices. Being able to talk with the farmers that grew the food is always a big plus, and if the food is found in a local grocery store, even knowing it came from your area and being labeled with things like “Organic” or “Pesticide-Free” is always great!
Wrapping It Up
Whether you have a green thumb or not, there are always options and choices. Every bag of chips that can be switched with a bag of kale chips, carrots, or home-made pesto and baked crackers is a win for your digestive system, taste buds, and the systems in the world around you. A total change doesn’t need to happen immediately, however, maybe at your next meal, as you take your first bites, just think about what you are really eating and who it is going to impact beyond you as it hits your stomach.