We buy organic groceries, we sip fair-trade coffee, but is it enough? Are we truly eating sustainably? I've embarked on a year-long project to try to truly eat more sustainably, and I've got eight easy ways that you can too.
1. Use the whole vegetable
Buying veggies is great, but using up the whole thing is even better. Look for veggies that give you double bang for your buck—like beets that let you eat the roots and the greens. Look for other creative ways to turn veggie scraps into another meal.
2. Wash your own lettuce
Bagged salad greens and other pre-washed, pre-cut veggies are super convenient, but they're also pretty wasteful. Not only are you getting more packaging than you need, you're also paying for the time an energy used to wash and cut them on an industrial scale. Buy your veggies as close to their original form as possible.
3. Use your farmer's markets
It's fun and kind of chic to shop at the farmer's market, but do you do the bulk of your shopping there, or do you just pick up a few specialty goodies? Try buying your staples like potatoes and onions at the market as well; you'll be supporting your local foodshed even more than when you just pick up a couple of heirloom tomatoes.
4. Buy local
You've heard it before, but local trumps organic when you have to choose. Do some research and find out what you can afford to purchase locally. Do you have a local organic milk co-op? A great bakery? Local cheese or wine producers? All deserve your support.
5. Preserve the harvest
Whether you embark on a full-on canning escapade or just throw some berries in your freezer, buying produce at the peak of its harvest season and is a sustainable—and very economical—practice to pick up.
6. Eat less processed corn
You probably also know that you should avoid processed foods, but an even bigger challenge might be avoiding processed corn. It's in just about every processed food we eat, masquerading as any one of more than 3,500 products made out of corn. Learn to recognize it in some of its more insidious forms and avoid it when you can.
7. Use your basement the old fashioned way
It's actually pretty easy to make a DIY root cellar, no matter where you live, to store some produce for the winter, like apples, winter squash, potatoes and onions. Buy these now, while they're plentiful at the late season markets, and store them properly to last you several months.
8. Pick your own
Get your hands dirty at a u-pick-em farm in your area. Whether it's apples and pumpkins in the fall, or berries and herbs in the spring, picking your own can save you money and save on packaging and shipping costs. Plus, you get to enjoy the produce at the very peak of its freshness. It's a win-win-win!
You can follow Lacy's year-long journey to sustainable eating at LaughingLemonPie.com.
image by salabat