Do you realize how much the decisions you make can affect the people and the world around you? Even the food choices you make can make a difference. Where you shop, the packaging for the food and the food itself can all affect your sustainable eating habits.
Even though farming provides food for the world, there is much related to farming that is damaging to the environment. Think about the chemicals used on a farm. These chemicals soak into the soil and then down into the groundwater, which pollutes it. The machinery farmers use to harvest the food is run by fossil fuels and adds to the greenhouse gases. Here are some things you can do.
Eat seasonal food that is grown locally. When you consider that some of the food you eat is grown all across the country and even internationally, you know it has to be transported. Most transportation requires fossil fuels to get it from point A to point B. When you eat foods that are grown locally, you have removed the need for transportation. This is one of the most eco-friendly solutions related to sustainable eating.
There has been a good amount of talk about eating organic foods recently. Organic food is not produced with chemicals or fertilizers. Instead, the farmer uses natural additives in place of these chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They have not been genetically modified and have not been irradiated. Organic farmers are on the forefront of sustainable farming as well as improving the condition of the soil.
Ensure you are buying organic foods by looking for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic label. You will also want to remember that even though the organic foods are created in a much more environmentally friendly manner, not all farmers who use organic farming methods get the USDA certification. It is also important to remember that organic foods that come from another country are not environmentally friendly if they have had to be shipped from a long distance.
Cut down on the amount of meat you eat; this is another way to practice sustainable eating. Animals require land and water on which to live, and they produce waste that affects air and water quality. Some people also consider the reported inhumane treatment of animals and the fact they are pumped full of antibiotics as a reason to turn to a plant-based diet. If you are not ready to become a vegetarian, at least choose to go without meat two or three times a week.
Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). If you can find a CSA in your area, you would pay a set fee each month to a farmer who does the work. You receive an amount of food from the farm; you may also be asked to pitch in on the farm as part of the monthly cost. To find out if there is a CSA near you, check out the localharvest.org website. You can also try to find a food co-op if a CSA is not available.
Plant a garden of your own. If you want to know for sure you are going your best for the environment, plant a garden and grow your own food. You will be doing the work, you will know what chemicals or fertilizers have been used on the food and it will not need to be transported. You can learn about sustainable eating and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor in the process.