Celebrate Earth Day 2014 with Good Food Close to You
You’ve probably heard a million times that you should buy locally grown. And, you’ve also probably seen local farmers markets popping up all across the city. But why should you buy local? What’s the benefit to you, your community and the environment? Most of the food we consume is not only being transported long distances to our plates but what goes into our food and who actually produces it is often hidden from us. Eating locally can be beneficial to both the environment and your health, and in putting your dollars into supporting the local community and farmers directly.
A great way to start making more sustainable food choices is by making changes to our diet and eating habits. Here’s some ways you can adopt seasonal, sustainable food choices to celebrate Earth Day this year or any other day of the year.
Prepare a meal using at least one in-season or local ingredient. Join the local food movement – help your community build a self-reliant, sustainable food economy. Some of the top benefits of buying local ingredients include enhanced taste, nutrients, community and environment. Travelling shorter distances means food is fresher and more nutritious. It also reduces fuel use and carbon emissions required to transport and preserve foods. When you know where your food comes from and the people who produced it, you feel a greater sense of awareness and community.
Visit a restaurant that specializes in locally sourced or organic ingredients. If you are going to eat out, pick a restaurant that sources local or organic ingredients for their dishes. The benefits of eating at locally sourced restaurants are similar to cooking with in-season or local ingredients at home. The added benefit of organic ingredients is that their production methods limit synthetic pesticides and chemical additives, which have negative health implications. Organic food production also uses agricultural practices that prioritize protecting the environment by minimizing soil degradation, maintaining diversity and recycling resources when possible.
Incorporate leftover food into the next day’s meal to avoid unnecessary waste. Canadians are among the world’s most well-fed people, lucky to have access to an abundance and wide variety of food. However, we throw away more than half of our food as “unwanted leftovers” – food that is still edible. To reduce waste, make enough food so that there are sufficient leftovers for another full meal, or be creative and find other dishes that you can make with what you have left. For example, blackened bananas are perfect for banana bread, and stale bread makes good bread crumbs or bread pudding. Look up other fun recipes – leftovers can taste just as good, if not better than the original meal!
Purchase sustainable seafood. Fish and seafood is not only a source of food and nutrition for billions of people – it is also a source of income for many. Overfishing has many serious social, environmental and economic implications. Eating less meat also uses fewer resources, such as water and feed for livestock.
Adapted from http://makeitcount.earthday.ca/eat.php