FOOD

Making choices about the food you buy, prepare, and eat can make a difference in our world. In a 2019 report by the United Nations, scientists stated that eating less meat, reducing food waste, and reforming agriculture could slash global emissions, benefiting both our health and the environment.

In the U.S., over 40 percent of the food produced is never eaten. It represents an enormous amount of energy and resources that are required to grow, process, ship and dispose of it all. Each stage involves greenhouse gas emissions, plus water, fertilizer, packaging, and labor. Ultimately, when the food ends up in a landfill, it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas. In the first two decades after its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

With knowledge, there is power, and understanding the consequences of our actions is the beginning of change. Fortunately, there are more and more options to make healthy choices. Organic farming is on the rise in the U.S. And more companies are bringing to market meatless alternatives to hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and tuna.

These entries hopefully address a variety of issues with some positive solutions. More will be added as time goes on.

Going Zero Waste

IMAGE COURTESY OF: GOING ZERO WASTE

We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.

In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste free at the airport. “It’s not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about making better choices.”

The book includes a chapter on kitchen and cooking, with lots of great suggestions on how to shop and store foods without using plastic.

From the web site:

“What is zero waste: The simple answer: We aim to send nothing to a landfill. We reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send little to be recycled, and compost what we cannot.

The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write trash out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no trash in nature.

Instead of discarding resources, we create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.”

On Katheryn’s web site, goingzerowaste.com, she has a poignant video called “Love a Lonely Banana.” It will change the way you shop…

 

DID YOU KNOW

The United States is the global leader in food waste, with Americans discarding nearly 40 million tons of food every year. That’s 80 billion pounds of food and equates to more than $161 billion, approximately 219 pounds of waste per person and 30-40 percent of the US food supply. Most of this food is sent to landfills; food is the single largest component taking up space inside US landfills. In fact, it makes up 22 percent of municipal solid waste.

 

FARMERS MARKETS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Chantal Garnier

If you are fortunate enough to live near a farm, or have a farmers’ market in your town, you will enjoy the benefits to buying food from local providers. Food that is locally grown or produced is often picked fresh and is tastier than foods picked weeks earlier and shipped to grocery stores. It also has more nutrients, given the shorter time between harvest and your table.

You probably have access to more organic produce as well. Most markets have rules that vendors must follow, including GMO issues and humanely raised livestock.

Meals can be planned for when produce is in season, and you can save money shopping directly from the farmer. And buying locally can help support farmers and the local economy and help protect farmland and the green/open space it offers to the community.

In addition, imported foods and produce may travel thousands of miles to reach your supermarket, which contributes to its carbon footprint. And foods at farmers’ markets probably not wrapped in plastic with excess packaging.

The USDA has a National Farmers Market Directory so that you can find information on what’s available in your area.

To read more about food and agriculture in relation to climate change, visit our FOOD & AGRICULTURE page in the LEARN MORE section.

DID YOU KNOW

Farmers earn only 7.8 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food?

MISFITS MARKET

IMAGE COURTESY OF: MISFITS MARKET

From the Misfit Market website: “In America, many of us still don’t have access to high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables. We waste as much food as we eat. Almost half of what our nation’s farms grow is never eaten. Much of this is due to modern-day beauty standards for food. Misfit fruits, misshapen vegetables, and delicious but odd-sized produce are squandered at every level.

It’s not healthy, it’s expensive, it’s a problem at a huge scale, and it doesn’t fit with our view of the world. It’s why we started a company to do something about it.

OUR MISSION

Bring delicious, fresh, and affordable misfit produce to people everywhere and reduce food waste at a scale that creates positive and lasting impact.

Unlike other brands, we aren’t focused just on dense urban areas. We are made to go to every zip code in the states we serve, and be within reach of every household.

We are putting fresh produce that might not check all the boxes for perfection into boxes, and sending it straight to you. Sooner than you’d be able to buy it at a store. For half the price. And most importantly, our location is your location. Whether you’re next door to a fancy grocery store, in the middle of a food desert, or somewhere in between.

Every box of Misfits produce you order benefits farmers, helps prevent food waste, and ultimately helps save our environment. Our rapidly expanding Philadelphia- and New Jersey-based operation rescues produce from regional farms and distributes it throughout the Northeast, South, and Midwest in three business days or less.”

DID YOU KNOW

All-natural produce is apt to look funkier than the picture-perfect kind that is engineered in a lab. Unfortunately, misfit fruits and vegetables are often rejected by grocery stores and supermarkets due to natural imperfections or variations in size. A watermelon that has its weight distributed oddly may develop harmless scarring. Carrots grow into each other and look twisted. Peppers get blemishes from the ground. Apples fall and get bruised. All are perfectly normal, nutritious and tasty, and they shouldn’t be discarded.

ECOFFEE CUPS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: ECOFFEE® CUP

Each year over 300 billion single-use cups are manufactured. The average lifespan of a single-use cup is less than 10 minutes , and due to their plastic content, 99% will never be recycled.

Ecoffee Cup is offering us an alternative. Each time you “choose to re-use,” even just once a week, you will be helping in the fight against single-use waste.

Their colorful cups are made with natural fibre, corn starch and resin (M-F) it’s BPA, BPS and phthalate free. The lid and sleeve are made with matte, food-grade silicone which is latex-free and designed especially for hot liquids. It has a re-sealable ‘no-drip’ lid, making it perfect to take with you everywhere you go. The whole product (cup, lid and sleeve) is dishwasher safe and should last for years if treated nicely.

Available in over 100 different designs across four sizes, with Ecoffee Cup there is No Excuse For Single-Use. Choose to Re-use.

DID YOU KNOW

Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet.

EAT FOR THE PLANET COOKBOOK

IMAGE COURTESY OF: AMAZON

“WE NEED A RADICAL CHANGE IN THE WAY WE PRODUCE, DISTRIBUTE, AND CONSUME FOOD IF WE WANT TO AVERT AN ECOLOGICAL CRISIS AND HAVE A THRIVING HUMAN POPULATION ON EARTH BY THE YEAR 2050.”

Eat For The Planet was created by Nil Zacharias to be a catalyst for this shift.

Eat for the Planet Cookbook is a delicious, informative guide to eating vegan. From Nil Zacharias, the cofounder of multiple online platforms focused on the plant-based food space, and Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone, the book includes 75 recipes from some of the world’s greatest plant-based chefs, businesses, and influencers. These contributors range from vegan chefs and influencers such as Fran Costigan and Derek Sarno, brands like Beyond Meat and Ripple Foods, and innovative plant-based restaurants such as Veggie Grill, Next Level Burger, and The Stanford Inn. With this exceptional collection of go-to recipes and insight from some of the most influential voices in the vegan world, Eat for the Planet Cookbook is an essential guide to eating responsibly and eating well.

There are other wonderful books that explore our food choices in relation to the climate crisis. Food for Thought: Changing the  World One Bite at a Time by Vanessa Kimbell who, inspired by ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients available from your local suppliers, explains how what you cook can make a real difference to those who produce it and to the environment.

DID YOU KNOW

Switching to a plant-based diet can help fight climate change.