Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Food

Today is blog action day, a day when bloggers write about environmental issues in a way that relates to their blog (or not).

We have to eat. Our choices can become a routine we don't think twice about. But every day we are given the opportunity to make choices that lessen our negative impact on the earth. There are many ways to do this, but here are a couple that anyone can do:

1. Eat locally. Now really, I don't eat everything locally and I don't even strive to. I think the 100 mile diet is a great idea in theory but not practical for me, though we can all learn from the principles. Food trucked in from hundreds or thousands of miles away uses fuel and other resources and encourages alterations to plants so they can make the long journey and still look good. Unfortunately, this food might look good but is often flavorless.

There are a lot of reasons to eat locally and a lot of ways you can make that change. Check out Local Harvest and Slow Food USA. Join a CSA, frequent your local farmers market, or just start paying attention to where your food is grown and produced. I'm still buying coffee and brown rice from all over the world but looking at the picture above showing just one weeks share from our CSA you can see eating locally isn't a sacrifice.

2. Go vegetarian. Yes, being vegetarian is about compassion for animals and that was the initial draw for me. But other reasons for committing to vegetarianism for life are the environmental benefits. Raising animals for meat is a very inefficient use of grain and water and other resources, and there are concerns about pollution associated with large animal farms (like run off from chicken farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed). Read more about environmental vegetarianism here and consider becoming vegetarian or at least committing to more vegetarian meals every week.

3. Carry reusable bags. Whether shopping at a farmers market or a supermarket we need something to haul our groceries home. If you haven't already, make the switch to reusable bags. You will be surprised at their strength and will probably regret not doing it earlier. My favorite canvas bags are these, but I also carry a couple of these for other purchases that come up.

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