Here are a few things you can do at home this year to work towards a more sustainable food system for us all…
Sustainability is in the news a lot these days, with politicians quibbling over the best ways to combat climate change, and address food security and sustainable food access issues. However, when it comes down to it, the real solutions for these problems are going to lie largely in the laps of you and I. Our daily habits and choices are what will cumulatively shift things in a more sustainable direction – or not…
While what you, personally, do every day may not seem to have a huge impact, collectively we can make a big difference by simply making more healthy and sustainable choices on a daily basis.
Growing your own food is a great example. While your individual garden may not change the world, if enough of us start taking some responsibility for our own food production, it can and will have an impact.
Here are a few ideas for making some sustainable changes for our food system this year. Implement one, a few, or all of these in the year ahead, and encourage others to do the same!
- Eat more fresh produce daily. I know- easier said than done. How about adding one more serving to each of your meals or swapping out a snack for a fruits/veggies instead?
- Start a mini-garden. Just a pot or a single raised bed will grow an incredible amount of fresh produce.
- Halt food waste in your own home. Save your meat bones and vegetable scraps in the freezer and then every so often make a pot of stock/broth. Freeze the stock for future soups, stews, and other recipes.
- Support those farmers markets & farm stands. Try to visit a local farmers market at least once a month. If you already do that, can you visit one more time a month?
- Buy Fair Trade. Look for certified fair trade symbol on any imported or tropical foods you enjoy- coffee, chocolate, coconut oil, bananas, avocados, etc.
- Buy in Bulk. Consider going in on a whole animal with a few other families. It doesn’t have to be a huge purchase nor does it have to take up an entire extra freezer. I buy just 40 lbs of grass fed ground beef once a year on a cow that some friends go in on.
- Change the school food environment. If your local school has a garden, volunteer to help with it. Or if your local school has a salad bar or scratch kitchen, do they need kitchen volunteers to help prep all the ingredients,
- Cultivate hearts and minds. If you are a farmer/rancher, invite out your local elementary school or middle school science class for a farm tour. People will better support local agriculture if they have a personal connection to it.
- From field waste to food pantry. Participate in a gleaning project to help divert waste produce into our food banks where it is exceptionally needed.
- Farmland protection. Advocate for your city, county, or state to do a better job protecting farmland so that it will be available for future generations to grow food.
- Policy and politics (oh my). Finally, support political candidates who talk about food and our agricultural policy and who are willing to listen to diverse stakeholders.
As Andrew Carnegie said- “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”