One of this year’s hottest trends in food is changing our eating habits to a more sustainable food. The sustainable food movement is sweeping the country. Farmer’s market, organic produce, genetically modified foods, cage-free eggs — they’ve all become part of the cultural lingo.
What we eat – from where and how it’s grown to how it’s prepared can have a huge effect on the environment and some of the changes are so simple. If everyone were a little more conscious about their food choices the earth would be grateful.
So here’s a few ideas to get you started with eating a more sustainable diet.
If you’re able to, shop at your local market. You’re more likely to find local and season produce available to buy, packaging-free. If you don’t have access to a market, read the labels at your local supermarket and try to opt for locally grown produce. This will reduce the environmental impact that transporting your food has. Shopping at markets, where you can see colourful stalls packed with fresh produce, helps make you feel more connected to the food you eat, where it was grown and how it made its way to your plate.
Many of us have lost touch with the seasons and what they mean for the food that should normally be available at particular times of the year. We have become so used to being able to get whatever we want, whenever we want, that we forget that if we get tomatoes in the middle of winter, they will have been grown somewhere halfway around the world and then shipped or flown in to our local supermarket. Only eating what’s in season in your country means it’s more likely to be grown or produced locally and not have been kept in any kind of storage. This means it’s likely fresher, has more nutrients and is, yeah you guessed it, better for the environment.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
You don’t need a large property to grow some of your own food, this is a real misconception. I believe everyone is capable of growing a few things in their garden even with little to no maintenance. Growing it yourself is the ultimate way to cancel out food miles and actually have a positive impact on the environment by adding some leafy plants to the atmosphere. Fruit trees and well-established vegetable gardens can take years of input but things like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers are easy and reasonably quick to grow. Herbs are also a good place to start and most will happily grow inside on a windowsill.
EAT LESS MEAT
#MeatlessMonday has caught on around the world and many people looking to eat more sustainably are trying to reduce their meat consumption. Cattle farming is a huge contributor to carbon emissions and pollution so reducing your meat consumption can have a huge impact on the environment. You don’t need to become vegetarian (although it’s way easier than you might think) but just cutting the amount of meat you buy on a regular basis will help.
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Making foods yourself is a great way to eat more sustainably. Not only does it mean you know exactly what’s going into your food but it’s also fresher, tastier and eliminates a lot of emissions, packaging and waste involved in the mass production process.
Like so many things in life, eating sustainably starts with baby steps. You don’t have to change everything all at once. When you start to feel overwhelmed, focus on just one or two things.
Inputs from Vuha Kunapareddy