by: Lisa Pounds, Green Plate Kids
1. Buy Local! Buying seasonal, local food is great for the environment for a lot of reasons. Since most food travels many miles to reach your table (1,500 miles, on average), locally sourced food cuts back on the climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more varieties. Please visit the local Urban Harvest and Rice University Farmers Markets in Houston to support our local farmers and vendors.
2. Buy Organic – Organic vegetables, fruits, grains, juice, eggs, dairy and meat, are grown and processed in ways that support healthy people and a healthy planet. (While you may not be able to find or afford organic options for everything you should pay close attention to the Dirty Dozen.)
3. Feast on Fair Trade fare Fair trade certified food ensures a proper wage and working conditions for those who harvest and handle it. But fair trade is green for the environment as well. TransFair, the only fair trade certifier in the U.S., has strong environmental standards built into its certification process that protect watersheds and virgin forests, help prevent erosion, promote natural soil fertility and water conservation, and prohibit GMOs.
4. Watch out for packaging Instead of buying foods that come in extensive packaging (most of which is petroleum-based plastics) look for unpackaged/minimally packaged foods, experiment with bringing your own containers (and grocery bags) and buying in bulk, or pick brands that use bio-based plastic packing. And recycle/reuse any packaging you end up with.
5. Grow your own veggies In the garden, in the greenhouse, in the window box, or something fancier. Even urbanites can get quite a bit of good eats from not much space.
6. Eat less meat! Meat is the most resource-intensive food on the table and eating less of it can be the single greenest move a person makes. Producing meat requires huge amounts of water, grain, land, and other inputs including hormones and antibiotics. A pound of beef requires 12,000 gallons of water to produce. If you’re a meat eater, for starters, try cutting out a serving of meat each week.
7. Eat it raw! Eat more veggies and you will not only cut back on the energy it takes to cook food, but you will get a bigger nutritional punch in your meal! Good for you and the environment! Join a local Co-op and ensure your getting local and organic veggies for your whole family to enjoy new fruits and veggies every week. Great lessons for the kiddos on learning about how to prepare a variety of nature’s bounty. My two favorite local co-ops: Central City Coop and Rawfully Organic.
8. Green your space! You spend up to 1/3 of your life sleeping on your mattress and breathing off putting gases in your our home from paint, furniture, cabinets and materials in your home. Our Friends at New Living have you covered, they have amazing resources to help you with your family’s health and Eco-conscious projects in your house or business. Plus absolutely gorgeous materials! Learn more about the most toxic health risks on your own home: Top Six Health “Intruders” in Your Home!