10 Green Food Recommendations for Meaningfully Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22 and the impact of climate change and how to stop it are first and foremost in our minds. Slow Food asks us to consider the connection between how we eat and the impact it has on climate change and our health. Some estimates put food and agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gases at 31 percent.1

You and your family can have an impact by making some small changes in how you eat. Instead of putting together a list of the copious Earth Day events you could attend, I compiled a list of 10 fun and interesting green food recommendations for meaningfully celebrating Earth Day. Choose just one or all 10 and revel in knowing you’re doing something great for yourself and the planet. Please send me an email about your experience or post a comment on this blog. Hope to see you at Fairfield’s Earth Day Celebration on May 9 at Warde High School where I will be an exhibitor.

10 Green Food Recommendations for Meaningfully Celebrating Earth Day

1) Commit to buying fresh, locally grown and artisan crafted food from a farmers’ market at least once. Currently there are two in the county: Saturday mornings from 10-2 at the Fairfield Theater Company on Sanford Street in Fairfield and Tuesday mornings from 11-3 at Whole Foods Market, Westport.

2) Visit your local wine shop and ask for the Sustainable White from Parducci, the first U.S. carbon neutral winery, or Paul Dolan’s Pinot Noir made from organic grapes. Harry’s in Fairfield carries both and they are affordable and delicious.

3) Swear off plastic bottled water (the plastic is made from petroleum, they take hundreds of years to break down and can leach harmful chemicals into landfills) and carry a stainless steel thermos instead. I love this wide mouthed one from Thermos that lets you guzzle the water and keeps the water cold even in blistering heat.

4) Buy yourself a bar of Kallari single origin, USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate that is truly a chocolate lover’s dream. 100% of the proceeds go to the Kichwa farmers in Ecuadorean Amazon who both grow the cacao and manufacture the chocolate. Available online and at Whole Foods Markets.

5) Make an edible container garden. Find an old container, add organic potting soil, plant some peas, beans or lettuce seeds and watch them grow quickly. Keep the soil moist, make sure it gets enough sun and trellis pole beans. Invite your children to harvest.

6) Download the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides from Environmental Working Group, familiarize yourself with  the worst offenders (the Dirty Dozen), and commit to buying organic when possible.

7) Download the Sustainable Seafood Guide Northeast 2009 from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and commit to limiting your consumption to sustainable seafood choices under the Best Choices and Good Alternatives categories.

8) Stop using resealable plastic bags to send your children’s lunch to school and use Lunch Skins instead. I first heard about these eco-chic resealable, reusable, dishwasher safe lunch bags from SuzySaid and immediately bought them. They’re a hit with the kids and I smile every time I use them knowing I’m not throwing away a plastic bag. 3greenmoms, the manufacturer, are offering my readers a free bonus white customizable bag with every 2 bag order (green/orange or brown/blue) for the next 3 weeks and they are shipped in recycled padded mailers. Please enter “Fairfield Green Food Guide” in the comments field to receive this offer. Give the kids a colorful Sharpie and watch them customize their white bags. Trust me on this one, the kids think they’re cool. Please see full story below.

9) Buy locally when feasible, even drinks from the grocery store. The Farmer’s Cow milk is humanely-produced at Connecticut dairies and is free of artificial growth hormones (rBST). Connecticut-based Steaz produces delicious organic sparkling green tea beverages and organic iced tea made from USDA organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients. Steaz was named Best Tea of 2008 and tied for Best Organic Product of 2008 by BevNet, the leading online community website for the beverage industry. Visit their site to download a free store coupon.

10) Plan a trip to visit a farm or winery in the next few months to experience firsthand the wonder and beauty of growing what we eat and drink. The Connecticut Wine Trail can be completed in two days and takes you through beautiful and historic countryside. If you didn’t get away for the break, it’s a great weekend trip. If you can’t commit to a weekend, Jones Family Farm and Winery is a hop, skip and a jump away in Shelton. They are open for tastings Friday through Sunday from 11-5 and their Wine Down Fridays begin on May 8. Farms will begin to open for visitors soon and I will surely let you know when they do. But in the meantime the Westport Green Village Initiative invites you to a “Meet the Farmer” lunch at the Unitarian Church in Westport on Sunday, April 19th, 12:30-2 pm. Enjoy fresh home-made soup, good company and a question/answer session with Stacia and Fred, farmers from Stone Gardens Farm in Shelton. Here’s a chance to get introduced to the concept of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and sign up for a share of Stone Gardens Farm’s CSA with pickup available in Westport.

1 Source: Take a Bite Out of Climate Change. Determining the precise level of emissions from food and agriculture is tough, but by one count as much as 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to food and agriculture, including emissions from land-use changes such as deforestation to make way for pasture-raising livestock or growing feed for livestock or biofuels. Note that this estimate does not include emissions from food transportation, waste, or manufacturing. Source: Data from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment Report.

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