By Analiese Paik
I resolve to waste less food in 2014 and grow more of my own in my backyard raised beds. I also resolve to eat more heirloom and Ark of Taste foods to help keep them alive and foster biodiversity. I will slow down even more than I already have, and practice tasting food mindfully and critically to really enjoy it in all its complex glory. What are your green food resolutions for 2014?
Assuming you always use reusable bags when shopping, have ditched bottled water for good, and compost your food waste rather than throwing it in the garbage, you’re ready for bigger and tastier challenges. Here are a few to consider:
- Go grass-fed (read our feature article, 5 Reasons to Go Grass Fed). Factory farmed livestock is routinely administered hormones, antibiotics and fed GMOs. Consult our Guide to Grass-Fed Beef for area resources.
- Reduce food waste by not overbuying, practicing “use it or freeze it”, and by committing to having “Clean out the Refrigerator Night” once a week. Almost 40 percent of the food produced in the US is wasted, and much of that is by consumers. Read our feature article about food waste for more ideas.
- Embrace whole vegetable eating, a concept we support with our Cast-Off Cooking Series. Radish greens, Swiss chard stems, Brussels sprout leaves and many more vegetable parts we commonly throw away are edible and surprisingly easy to prepare deliciously.
- Try one new locally-grown vegetable each month of the year – turnips or celeriac in January, rutabagas in February, mushrooms in March, dried beans in April, ramps in May, garlic scapes and kohlrabi in June, etc. When you stop to think about it, most of us eat the same 10 vegetables over and over. Why not add some flavor diversity to your diet? Even better, look for heirloom varieties. The farmer will tell you!
- Make more sustainable choices away from home. It’s not easy to find a sustainable cup of coffee on the run or grab a quick bite to eat that’s not packed with industrial ingredients, so plan to pack your own drinks and snacks while running errands or traveling. When that’s not possible, consult our Guide to a Sustainable Cup ‘o Joe and Guide to Organic Restaurants for sustainable eateries near you.
- To economize on organic produce, join a CSA. If a CSA is not a fit, purchase regularly from a farm-to-door delivery service, farm stand, or farmers’ market. Eating locally in season means trying new foods, so expect your farmer or delivery service to provide you with delicious recipes to support your commitment.
- Go Fair Trade. When it comes to chocolate, coffee and tea, Fair Trade or Direct Trade products are the way to go because they insure that workers are treated fairly (no slave or child labor), are paid a market wage, and farms employ sustainable growing practices.
- Choose only sustainable seafood. Do not eat Atlantic (US or Canadian) cod, haddock or yellowtail flounder regardless of how it’s caught. Cod has long been depleted and Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine fisheries are considered important conservation stocks according to Seafood Watch. Eat less fish overall by replacing those meals with sustainably grown lentils, beans, tofu, and other plant-based proteins. Buy only sustainable seafood, both at retail and in restaurants, by consulting the Seafood Watch mobile app. Locally farmed shellfish and small fish like anchovies, sardines, and mackerel are among the best choices.
- Make your wines organic or biodynamic. Quality varies dramatically so please consult our Eco-Friendly Wine Guide before purchasing.
- Learn to put up food for the winter months. Many books on canning are excellent resources for techniques and recipes, and demonstration classes are given at local farms during the second half of the year. Subscribe to our newsletter from the link on our home page to make sure you receive invitations to these events before they sell out.
- Make some artisan foods to appreciate the skill and time necessary to make them and experience the satisfaction of making them yourself. Fresh butter and mozzarella cheese are a revelation! Either buy a kit (Williams Sonoma sells many including this DIY butter kit) or read how to make your own butter at home without any special ingredients or tools in our feature article.
- Attend a dinner at a farm as a reward for all your hard work and dedication. Bring along some friends who will value the experience and be influenced to source more of their food locally. Subscribe to our newsletter from the link on our home page to make sure you receive invitations to these events throughout the state.