10 WAYS TO EAT SUSTAINABLY
I've had food on the brain lately, especially given the Sustainable Table GiveaFork! campaign is coming up in April and both Nicole and I have been discussing which #grexy challenge we should take on. This got us thinking about our own eating habits, the good vs bad and some of the best tips for ensuring we eat sustainably. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Buy in season - Buying in season means we're more likely to buy local produce that hasn't been imported, which means fewer food miles. Get familiar with what's in season when, download a printable pocket guide here.
- Shop at the local farmers market - I love shopping at the farmers market for many reasons. Firstly, the food is definitely fresher and lasts longer and most of the produce is harvested the day before or even the same day its sold. Secondly, I much prefer to support the small guy over the giant supermarkets and thirdly, I love the sense of community when you visit the markets.
- Buy organic where possible - Buying organic means less chemical fertilisers, less pesticides, less land and soil degradation and contamination of our waterways. If you're thinking of making the switch to organic, there are some fruit and vegetables that are typically grown using more pesticides than others so consider these first. These include berries, apples, grapes, nectarines, peaches, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, celery, capsicum and cucumber. I would also include buying organic dairy and meat, as the animals are raised on organic feed and certified organic farmers are held to higher welfare standards.
- Choose humane - Meat is so cheap these days and lets face it, the true cost of cheap meat it often at the expense of animal welfare. Get familiar with where your meat comes from and how it was raised by asking your local farmer or butcher and choose free-range and organic where your budget allows. Going to the farmers markets is a great opportunity to speak with the farmers face to face about their produce and from my experience they are only too happy to answer questions because they are truly passionate about what they do! You can even go a step further and organise a farm gate visit.
- Eat less meat - We're all familiar by now with the studies that link the impact of agriculture to climate change. Agricultural emissions account for 30% of global emissions, half of which are from livestock. Cattle represent about 65% of all livestock emissions, which mean that your delicious steak is higher in carbon emissions than fruit and vegetables. More vegetables, less meat.
- Cook at home - Cooking at home means you're more likely think about exactly what's going into your meals and gives you more control over the quality of your ingredients. That takeaway curry you order every week, while delicious and time saving, it's unlikely made with organic meat or vegetables. Also, cooking your own meals means less single-use plastic entering the home via takeaway containers.
- Minimise plastic packaging - When your grocery shopping it's important to be mindful of the how much packaging goes into the basket. One of my pet peeves is spotting a shopping basket full of fruit and vegetables in individual plastic bags - it's just really unnecessary! Also, try to limit the amount of processed foods going to the shopping basket, as this is typically the type of food that is overly packaged. Try shopping on the outer edges of the supermarket and avoid the middle aisles where most of the packaged food is found. Lastly, take your reusable shopping bags and produce bags and buy at the bulk food store if you can.
- Reduce waste and use leftovers. Reducing waste is all about proper planning. It's important to check what's in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping and only buy what you need. Plan a few meals for the week and take a shopping list, this will help you stay on course. If you can, make several meals out of the ingredients you purchase and use leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Grow some of your own - Growing some of our own fruit, vegetables and herbs is a great way to be more self-sufficient, reduces our food miles and overall impact when it comes to food. It's also good for reducing waste as we use only what we need instead of buying large bunches of vegetables or herbs at the supermarket that we find hard to use up.
- Compost, compost, compost! Composting is achievable no matter where you live and how much space you have. If you live in a house with plenty of room, outdoor composting or worm farm is a great option but if you're anything like us, we have very little space so we compost using a Bokashi bin. Composting is great for improving soil quality and reduces the amount of food scraps degrading in landfill.