Earth Day is April 22, which is only a few days away. Around town, there are many events to get you thinking about the environment (i.e. Keep Carrboro Beautiful Day this weekend and Earth Evening in Hillsborough on April 24) and while it’s great to take part in the events those days, it’s important to think about sustainability on a daily basis. We only have one Earth after all!
Here are 5 food-related tips to incorporate impactful lifestyle changes.
- Buy local and in-season products. When you purchase local food items, not only does that produce use less fuel to get to you (think less of a carbon footprint), but you reap the nutrition rewards. Why’s that? In-season produce is at its nutrient and flavor peak. Luckily for us, we have many local options to reap the bounty such as the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market and local CSA providers (Coon Rock Farm, Timberwood Organics, etc.).
- Think outside of the box. Make note of the items that you use frequently (i.e. oatmeal, nuts) and see if you can buy them in bulk at places like Weaver Street Market or Whole Foods. This will save packaging material each time you buy.
- Bring your bags. When you shop, use reusable grocery bags rather than plastic ones.
- Go organic when possible. Organic produce means fewer pesticides, which is much better for the environment. I understand this swap can be costly, so prioritize first with “The Dirty Dozen”. These items tend to test high for pesticides so are a good place to start going organic. The DD includes apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries and sweet bell peppers. Can’t make organic happen? Choose items in the Clean 15. These choices typically have the least amount of pesticides.
- Veg out. If plant-based meals aren’t part of your weekly rotation, start with Meatless Monday. Vegetarian protein sources, such as beans and tofu, are much easier on the environment than meat. DYK that cutting out 1 burger a week is like driving your car for 320 less miles? Remember that balanced eating is important, even when eating vegetarian-based dishes.
I’d love to hear what you do to make a difference with your fork (or spoon). Please leave a comment below!