November 24, 2008

Eco Friendly Tips: Family Meals

Clagett Farm CSA 2008 Week 20
Creative Commons License photo credit:

Family meals are one of the most enjoyable times of our day. We have an opportunity for families to slow down, eat some delicious food, and talk to each other. For green families it also provides an opportunity for them to further their dedication to the environment by choosing foods that compliment their goals and ideals. This might seem rather simplistic but many green families believe that what you choose to eat is essentially a vote for the type of world you want.

Here are various ways eco friendly tips for family meals:

[ad#ad-2] Eating Local

Eating local means purchasing and eating foods that were grown in or near your local community. Choosing to eat local foods is better for the environment and it is better for the local economy as well. It is said that dollars spent locally go twice as far.

Local food usually travels 100 miles or less from farm to plate so needless pollution is avoided when our food does not need to be frozen, refrigerated, or trucked across country for thousands of miles. Local food is fresh because it doesn’t have to travel very far. The taste of a fresh picked tomato is infinitely better tasting and healthier for you than a tomato picked a week ago and ripened with chemicals. Local eating is also referred to as seasonal eating because you are only be to find what can be grown seasonally in your area. This makes local eating a more economical choice in most cases as well, since you won’t be buying expensive imported foods that are not in season. Local eating also reduces the chance that your food has been contaminated while being processed or shipped.

Organic Foods

Organic agriculture is sustainable agriculture. It is a method of producing food without harming the land in any way. Organic farmers seek to work the land without preventing future generations from being able to use it as well. Organic farmers conserve water, preserve the soil, and provide food products that are chemical free and fit for human consumption. Organic farmers may also sell locally many times, helping to conserve energy and fossil fuels that would otherwise be spent in transportation. They are a healthy choice for humans and the planet alike.

Organics are becoming widely available in mainstream grocery stores in addition to the health foods stores where you would normally find them. Local farmers and farmer’s markets are also a good place to purchase organics from. If your access to organic food is limited by availability or budget you can also grow your own in your backyard or through a community garden.

Eat Less Meat

It is estimated that we feed 70 percent of the grains and cereals grown in the USA to farmed animals and one-third of our fuel and other nonrenewable resources is consumed by the farmed animal industry. Our taste for meat and animal products is taking a toll on the environment and in response, more and more green families are reducing their meat consumption or eliminating it from their diet altogether. Even if you don’t want to become a vegan or a vegetarian you can reduce your environmental impact by electing to add two or three meatless meals to your family menu every week.

Reducing meat consumption, eating local sourced foods, and eating organic are just a few of the ways green families might lighten their environmental footprint on our planet.

For more help in menu planning, visit Menu Planning Central.

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Alexis Rodrigo