On Earth Day, we launched our first Earth Day Challenge, a full week of “daily” challenges, that gets us thinking about what we eat, where it comes from and why we need to be mindful about many of the things we in the developed world often take for granted. Check in with ClimateMama each morning to see what the next day’s challenge will be. Remember to have a quick family meeting at breakfast or dinner to discuss the daily challenge and see what the kids in your life have to say about it.
When you stop by the grocery store today, make a point to pick up foods that are produced and supplied locally or within 500 miles of your home; if you aren’t sure ask the store clerk, grocer, butcher or baker. Maybe you know or have heard about a local restaurant that grows its own vegetables or prides itself in sourcing “locally.” If you don’t have time to grocery shop consider eating out at one of these special restaurants this weekend.
A concept we don’t think about often or talk about enough is “food miles.” How did the food that is on your table make it’s way to your home? Did your fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy ge to you via air, rail, truck or ship that traveled 40 or 4000 miles? And just to complicate matters more, even if your beef came from a farmer in your town or state, did the cow, pig or lamb that she is raising travel from across the country to get to her, or was it born and raised on that farm? What goes into creating or growing your food and how far IT traveled is as important in deriving the true carbon footprint of what you are eating as is where it was grown or put together. Discuss this with the kids in your life, help them understand that many things aren’t as simple as they seem.
Do try to eat foods that are “in season” and “local” to your area. Be aware that fertilizers used to grow our food and pesticides that facilitate the growing of many crops are often derived from petrochemicals and not only harm our climate, but our bodies, air and water as well. Check out the Environmental Working Groups “Dirty Dozen plus” list of fruits and vegetables with the worst pesticide residue in them. Try to buy organic if you can, especially when it comes to these Dirty Dozen pus.
Take the kids in your life to a farmers market this weekend. Talk to the farmer and learn more about locally grown food. More often then not, even when considering the inputs that go into getting it to the market, locally grown food, in season, is better for our air, water and climate then foods that have to travel a long distance to get to us. As well, you are supporting small local farms that are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
To produce, transport, and distribute food is a long and systematic process. We put things into our bodies, often without questioning what it will do for us, good or bad, in the long term. Today, engage the kids in your life and take the time to raise questions (even if you don’t have the answers) about where your food is coming from, how the food is produced and how long it may have taken to get to your table or how long it has been on the shelf before you bought it.
Tune in tomorrow for “Satisfied Saturday” where we look at the issue of waste in the foods we eat and the products we use everyday.
Eating with the Environment in Mind was developed by Michelle Aboodi.