I’m not sure if there is something in the air on Salt Spring, but ever since we moved here we have been becoming more and more interested in the food we eat, how it is grown, and what it is doing to the environment, and wanting to learn more about how to eat sustainably.
As I was making dinner the other night, I tried to think back to the last dinner we had made with MEAT… now we are not vegetarians, not by a long shot, but for some reason we had been eating meat free for almost 3 weeks.
Weird, and super interesting, especially because no one in our family really noticed.
So, I don’t want to go all environmental on you, but perhaps by adding in one or two of these things you can start down the path of THINKING about sustainable food consumption. I mean, every little step counts, right!
- Meatless Mondays: Yes, eat less meat. Sorry carnivores, but it is true. Meat production not only takes a lot of space, and resources, it produces an amazing amount of waste! Now, don’t blame the gassy cows, they can’t help it, just eat LESS of them. Try the whole meatless monday thing, or go for meatless meals multiple times a week, just start basing your meals around the vegetables and grains, NOT the meat! If you need an easy transition, I swear by the veggie ground products. Pop one of those babies into a lasagna, and NO ONE will ever know!
- Grow SOMETHING. ANYTHING. It doesn’t matter WHAT you can grow, just grow something. See if there is one fruit or vegetable that you can grow in your space (even on a patio or deck) that will produce food with enough quantity to share. Feeding ourselves is one thing, and that is a very difficult thing to do, but creating one source of food and sharing it with our neighbours can be easy. It is also kind, and kindness is good.
- Eat in season: Try to focus at least one meal a week on a seasonal meal. What is growing NOW, and what great recipes are there? By eating in season, and purchasing our food locally, we cut down on transportation as well as unsustainable farming practices. Right now butternut squash is ripening, pumpkin pies and soups are begging to be made, and I bet there is still some local potatoes, garlic, kale and carrots around!
Adding to this, with egg laying farm hens, they do decrease their eggs in the winter months. Stop making the fritatta in the morning and try to stretch those eggs out a bit! In springtime you go can EGG-Crazy if you want, just give the hens a break this time of year.
- Compost: Yes, I know it is icky, but it is important. Compost whatever you can from your kitchen waste, and not only will it cut down on your garbage waste, it will also create the great soil that your garden (see number 2) needs to grow food. Even if you DON’T grow food, we need nutrients added back into the soil. We keep taking and taking, and it is important to give back something OTHER than gasoline runoff and chemical waste.
- COOK. Oh please, just get in the kitchen and COOK. Bake cookies, granola bars, homemade pasta. All of that is pretty easy, and by NOT buying the processed food, you will help cut down on the use of palm oils (everything has it) and save on tonnes of wasted packaging. Just try cooking, and not buying, for a month and see what happens. How does your family feel? What changes can you notice?
Being sustainable is not a crazy environmental thing, it is a necessary thing these days. We are eating WAY too much, throwing away MORE than we consume, and laying waste all around us. Start small, adapt to the changes, and you may start to notice some big differences in your life.